Installing an Interior Door
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Interior doors can update and accent your décor. You can change an existing door if you invest some time and muscle. Installing a pre-hung door is easier and faster than starting from scratch, most of the more labor intensive work is already done. Just take the trim off the existing opening and remove the jambs. Once the jambs are out, fit the new door in with shims and a few finishing nails to complete the job.
This project guide features instructions on how to remove the old door, position and install the new door and complete the installation with the door trim.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shim the jamb plumb to make it level and straight.
- The door frame is 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.
- 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.
- 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.