Ultimate DIY Front Door Replacement Tips and Guide

DIY Front Door Replacement // Farmhouse Front Door Ideas // www.tantrumsandtools.com

If you’re looking for a relatively easy project that dramatically affects your home’s curb appeal, your next project should be a diy front door replacement. 

Has your old existing door seen better days? Are you looking for an affordable way to give your home an updated look? Because if your current front door is in good shape, it may not be the best for your utility bill. Installing a new door will help your energy efficiency and, at the same time, boost the total look of your home.

You know all this, though, right? You’re here because you know why replacing a front door is a good idea. You just need the steps to get this diy project done. So, let’s get to the good stuff!

Just a friendly reminder: I’m a DIY enthusiast, not a pro. I’m sharing my experiences with you here, but this information is no substitute for consulting a professional.

And about those affiliate links, all opinions and recommendations are genuinely mine, but I have to tell you that I earn a small commission when you purchase using my link.

Thank you, because this helps financially support this blog!

Steps to Replacing an Entry Door

These steps assume you have already purchased your new door – so let’s imagine you’ve done that or will do that before getting started. You don’t want to remove your door without having another to put in its place, duh!

  1. Remove the old door
  2. Clean up the rough opening
  3. Protect the opening
  4. Test the new door
  5. Install the door
  6. Insulate around the door
  7. Final touches

Ordering Your New Front Door

The standard size of an exterior door is 36 x 80 inches.

Measuring for a replacement door

The key to ordering the right size door is measuring correctly. The right way to measure is by only measuring the existing door, not the door and door frame. You’ll need to measure the height and width of the existing door and order one that matches this size.

Door swing

Pay careful attention to which way the door swings. The difference between the two inswing doors is this:

  • A left inswing door = the handle is on the right side of the door and when you open the door it swings to the left
  • A right inswing door = the handle is on the left side of the door and when you open the door it swings to the right

What is a pre-hung door?

A pre-hung door is one that comes already attached to the frame. The frame is what holds the door in place. It is what is attached to the structural walls and stays in place when you open and close the door. A prehung door is much easier to install and saves you a lot of time and frustration.

How to Replace an Exterior Door

DIY Front Door Replacement // Black Exterior Doors // www.tantrumsandtools.com

Before installing your new front door, you first need to gather all your tools and supplies (I’ll give you that list at the end). For whatever reason, this project seems intimidating to those diy’ers who’ve never replaced a door. But the good news is, it’s manageable, and you won’t need anything too special, making this a great weekend diy. 

Step 1: Removing the Old Door

Before removing the current door, make sure you have the new one on-site.  

The first step is to remove the existing frame using a prybar and hammer. Next, use the same approach to remove the brickmould trim on the outside of the door. Finding a gap between the door jam and the existing frame is okay; this is standard. 

With the frame and brickmould trim removed, you’ll be able to eliminate any nails and screws that attach the entire door to the house’s frame. You’ll need to use a reciprocating saw to remove the nails.

Once these are all cut free, you can remove the door and frame by tilting the entire unit towards the house’s exterior.

What is Brickmold?

This is essentially trim. Specifically, the trim piece that serves as a barrier between the doorframe and the exterior wall of the home.

Step 2: Clean the Rough Opening

The rough opening is the opening of your home where the door and frame once were. Now that the old door and frame are out, you’ll want to prepare the space by vacuuming any dust, debris, old nails, or screws.

Step 3: Protecting the Rough Opening

Installing a door sill protects the lumber at the rough opening. Another option is to use flashing tape. Whichever you decide to install, do so based on the instructions with the primary goal of protecting your house’s lumber from water or other potentially damaging weather elements.

If using a sill plate, you’ll need to check that it is level and does not impact the door from properly opening or closing.

After the sill is complete, you’ll want to apply flashing tape to the entire frame to prevent moisture from getting in. Make sure your seams overlap for total waterproofing.

Step 4: Test Your New Door

Now you’re ready to test out if that new door fits! Start by carefully setting the new door into the opening. You should check a few things to make sure the fit is correct.

First, on the inside, the door jam is flush with the drywall. Next, look that the brickmould is flush with the outside wall. Also, check that the door is level with the sill.

Once all of this checks out, you’ll lay the door face down so the back of the brickmold is face up.

DIY Front Door Replacement // Wood Front Entry Doors // www.tantrumsandtools.com

Step 5: Installing an Exterior Door

The first step in installing your new front door is to apply a bead of caulk or sealant around the three exposed sides of the brickmould. You’ll also want to run a bead along the sill plate. 

Lift the Door into Place

Now you’re ready to lift the door and place it back in the opening. Start by setting the bottom of the door on the sill and tilt the door back into place. You’ll know it is in once the brickmould is up against the exterior of the house. Go ahead and gently push against the brickmould to ensure a tight seal.

Install Temporary Screws

Next, you’ll screw in the temporary screws through the hinges. Only screw them in far enough to hold the door in place. At this point, you want to make any necessary adjustments to the door’s positioning, so the temporary screws allow you to do that.

Starting at the Door Hinges Side

Starting on the door’s hinge side, check that it is plumb using your level. Use shims above and below the hinges to make any necessary adjustments. Then, double-check the brickmould and door jam line up to the respective walls. Now you can go ahead and tighten the screws on the hinges.

Repeat on the Lock Side

Repeat this process on the lock side of the door, using shims and checking everything is in line. Once you’re happy with how everything looks, you’ll want to predrill holes behind the weather stripping and then screw the screws into place. Again, double-check that everything remains in the correct position after tightening the screws.

Test the Door

You should check that the door opens and closes smoothly without rubbing on any particular spot. You’ll also want to check your weather stripping to ensure the door is up against it in all areas. 

Trim the Shims

Using your multitool, utility knife, or another preferred device, cut back the shims, so they are flush with the wall.

Step 6: Insulating a New Door

There are two places you’ll want to put your spray foam insulation. The first is between the side of the door jam, and the other is between the frame. To maximize energy savings, you’ll want to seal off every possible space where air may escape.

It’s a balance of putting enough foam in and not putting too much that you disrupt the placement of the door. Once the spray foam is dry, use your utility knife to cut off any excess.

Using caulk, you’ll also want to run a bead around the exterior side around the brickmould. The bead of caulk prevents damage to your home by stopping water from getting in.

Step 7: Add Final Touches

At this point, you’ve installed a new front door. Yay! The only steps left are some finishing touches.

First, replace or install new trim around the interior side of your door. Attach the trim with your nailer and finishing nails and caulk around the sides of the edges for a professional look. Finally, fill the nail holes and paint the trim your desired paint color.

Lastly, install the knob and lock by following the manufacturer’s instructions included with the kit.

Best Type of Front Door Material

The best type of door material is fiberglass because it is lightweight, dent and ding resistant, scratches, and rust. They are also very energy efficient. Steel doors are another commonly used material for front doors.

Regardless of the material, many glass options are commonly added to front doors. Adding a storm door, screen door, or glass door to any of these is another way to improve energy efficiency. 

DIY Front Door Replacement Step-By-Step Video

DIY Front Door Replacement // Andrew Thron Improvements

Tools and Materials Needed to Replace a Door

In addition to the new door and hardware, the key to success is the right tools and supplies. Luckily, only a few power tools are necessary tools to install your new exterior door.

  • safety gear
  • measuring tape
  • pry bar
  • hammer
  • multi-tool
  • utility knife
  • brad nailer
  • drill
  • level
  • shims
  • long anchor screws
  • silicone caulk
  • spray foam
  • flashing tape

Hey Friend!

I know your dreaming about diving into the world of DIY, so let me provide you with a nudge of inspiration. It’s time to bring your vision to life, one project at a time. Trust me, within you lies the strength and vision to create a house that feels like home.

Take that first step, unleash your creativity, and fearlessly embark on this transformative journey. Let your soul shine with every brushstroke, hammer swing, and design decision. Don’t worry about perfection; we’re all about progress here.

Believe in your abilities, trust your intuition, and remember that the most beautiful homes are built by those who take imperfect action. You’re now part of the sisterhood. We work together, inspiring and uplifting one another. We’ll overcome challenges and celebrate successes. Together truly is better, and I’m so grateful to have you by my side.



>> P.S. Remodeling a house? Start right here, right now!
>> P.S.S. Do you love diy, decor and home projects? This one is for you!

furniture flipping // diy projects // home renovations // modern farmhouse decorating ideas