How to Install an Entry Door

Give your home an easy makeover by installing a new entry door


A new steel entry door with energy-efficient insulation, weather stripping and easy-to-maintain baked enamel primer coat can greatly enhance the comfort, security and appearance of your home. Because replacement steel entry doors are pre-hung with jambs, brick moulding and hardware (except locksets), installing them isn’t a difficult project. This guide will teach you how to install a new entry door.

Tip: Insulated steel entry doors can be heavy, so if you choose to install one you will need a helper.


Prepare the door opening
Prepare door opening - How Install Entry Door

• Prepare the rough opening of the door, if necessary, and remove the new door and frame from their packaging.
• Leave the retaining brackets in place that hold the door closed while you’re working on it.
• Measure both the door and rough opening to make sure the door is the right size.

Center and test-fit the door and frame
Center test-fit door frame - Install Entry Door

• Center the door and frame in the rough opening as a test-fit.
• Use a level to make sure the door is plumb.
• If necessary, shim under the lower side jamb until the door is plumb.
• Adjust as necessary to keep the door jambs square with each other.
• Double-check to make sure the door is centered.

Trace the moulding
Trace moulding - How Install Entry Door

• Trace the outline of the moulding onto the siding.
• If you have vinyl or metal siding, be sure to enlarge the outline to make room for the extra trim required.
• Remove the door and frame after finishing the outline.

Cut along the outline
Cut along outline - How Install Entry Door

• Cut along the outline down to the sheathing.
• With your safety glasses on, start the cut with the blade clear of the siding, and then lower the moving blade into it.
• Stop just short of the corners to prevent damaging the siding that will remain.
• Finish the corners with a sharp wood chisel.

Cut the drip edge
Cut drip edge - How Install Entry Door

• Cut a piece of the drip edge to fit the width of the rough opening.
• To provide a moisture barrier, apply building paper to the exposed areas of the walls and door frame.
• Cut the drip edge to fit the width of the rough opening and slide it underneath the siding at the top of the opening.
• Do not nail the drip edge.

Check the fit
Check fit -  Install Entry Door

• After checking the fit, enlarge the opening as necessary. 
• Once you are satisfied with the fit of the door, remove it and apply several thick beads of silicone caulk to the bottom of the doorsill.
• Caulk underneath the spots where the bottom of the jamb and brick molding will be.

Center the door
Center the door - How Install Entry Door

Center the door in the rough opening and push the moulding tight against the sheathing.

Check the door jamb
Check door jamb - How Install Entry Door

• Check that the door jamb on the hinge side is plumb and shim as necessary.
• Temporarily screw the hinge jamb in place by driving two #8 3-inch drywall screws through it: One about 2 inches above the top hinge and the other about 2 inches from the center hinge.
• Loosen the screws if necessary to bring the jamb back into plumb.

Cut shims
Cut shims   - How Install Entry Door

• Cut pairs of wedge-shaped cedar shims together to form flat shims.
• Using another entrance, go inside and insert them into the gaps behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing to stabilize the jamb.
• Cedar shims are preferable to pine because they are more weather-resistant.

Remove the retaining brackets
Remove retaining brackets - How Install Entry Door

Remove the retaining brackets installed by the manufacturer, then open and close the door to make sure it works properly.

Remove top hinge screws
Remove top hinge screws - How Install Entry Door

• Remove two of the screws on the top hinge and replace with long anchor screws. These anchor screws will penetrate the framing members to strengthen the installation.
• Do not use longer screws than the manufacturer calls for on doors with sidelights — the screws might break the glass.

Anchor the moulding
Anchor the moulding - How Install Entry Door

• Anchor the moulding to the door frame with 10d galvanized nails every 12 inches.
• Use a nail set to drive the nail heads below the surface of the wood.

Adjust the threshold
Adjust the threshold - How Install Entry Door

Adjust the threshold for a tight seal (as long as it is adjustable) as directed by the manufacturer.

Tip: If you set the threshold too high, it will make the door difficult to open and eventually could damage either the door or the weather stripping.

Cut the shims
Cut the shims - How Install Entry Door

Cut the shims flush with the framing using a utility knife.

Apply paintable caulk
Apply paintable caulk - How Install Entry Door

• Apply paintable caulk and insulate around the entire door frame.
• Fill all nail holes with caulk and insulate with weather stripping where applicable.
• Finish the door as directed by the manufacturer.

(Optional) Replace the casing
(Optional) Replace the casing - How Install Entry Door

If the trim was damaged during removal of the old door, cut and install new casing.

Install a new lock
Install new lock - How Install Entry Door

• Install a new lock by inserting the latch through the hole for the new door lock.
• Insert the lockset tailpieces through the latch bolt, and screw the handles together by tightening the retaining screws.
• Avoid damage to the screws by using a hand screwdriver.
• Complete the installation by attaching the strike plate to the door jamb to fit the latch bolt.