Project Guide

How to Install an Interior Door

Remove Existing Door
man wearing safety glasses working to pry a door loose
  • Start by loosening the trim with a stiff putty knife, and then use a pry bar and block of wood to remove the trim without damaging the wall. Take your time so as not to cause any damage.
  • The head and inside jambs are usually nailed together, so it’s easier to remove them from the opening at the same time. 
  • Pry the side jambs away from the studs and then pry down the head jamb.
  • If you would like to paint, repair or alter the door frame in any way, now is the perfect time to do so. Any changes to the door frame should be made before installing the new door. Once again, take care not to damage the frame or the wall during this step in the process.
Position the Pre-Hung Door
two white doors that open in different directions
  • Slide the pre-hung door into the rough opening. 
  • Put the door in the opening and slide it until the jamb is flush with the wall. 
  • Double check to be sure the door opens in the desired location and direction.
Add Shims
man in overalls using a level to make sure a doorframe is even
  • Shim the jamb plumb to make it level and straight. 
  • The door frame should be slightly smaller than the opening it fits to allow for adjustments. Slip shims under the side jamb until the head jamb is level. 
  • Shim between the side jambs and the studs to fill in the spaces between them. 
  • On the hinge side, start with the bottom and top of the jamb. Shim between the hinges and studs, positioning the shims so that about half the shim is above the hinge, which will help you later when nailing. 
  • On the latch side, shim at roughly the same places and at latch level.
Nail the Door Frame to Studs
man using a hammer to put nails in a doorframe
  • Drive #8 finishing nails through the frame, through the shims and into the studs. 
  • Drive two nails through the frame, through the shims and into the studs. 
  • Drive two nails through each shim about an inch from each edge of the jamb, with one about a ½-inch above the other. 
  • Before driving the nails home, open and close the door and make any necessary adjustments. When you’re satisfied with the way it performs, drive and set the nails.
Install Door Trim
man checking to make sure a door opens in the right direction
  • Nail the trim to the jamb and studs. 
  • Drive #6 finishing nails through the trim and into the studs behind the wall, spacing the nails about 16-inches apart.
  • Trim any exposed shims by scoring them with a knife and then breaking along the line. 
  • Cut and install the trim on the second side of the door.
Attach the Hardware
man attaching hardware to door using a drill
  • Once the door is hung, screw the hinge leaf to the door edge. Repeat with the other two hinges.
  • Screw the remaining halves of the hinges to the door jamb.
  • Attack the backplates and doorknobs. Make sure not to screw the knobs on too tightly.
  • Add the lockset and strike plate.