Disclaimer: Please remember that I am a DIY enthusiast, not a professional. This article is for general information use and is not a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions, consult a professional! Additionally, this may contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using my link. All opinions and recommendations are my own. I truly appreciate you taking my suggestions and using my links. Thank you for being so supportive!
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!
- Remove the old door
- Clean up the rough opening
- Protect the opening
- Test the new door
- Install the door
- Insulate around the door
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
- utility knife
- brad nailer
- long anchor screws
- silicone caulk
- spray foam
- flashing tape
I’d love to see how you used these ideas in your home; tag me in a photo on Instagram @tantrumsandtools, and I’ll share your results in my stories!
PS. Want more ideas and inspiration?
Yes, I love this idea. Here are a few ways I can help you with that…
>> Complete Your First Furniture Makeover
Turn that curiosity into confidence with The Makeover Mentor Program. Learn everything from finding quality furniture, proper prep, when to strip vs. when to sand, and how to paint like a pro. You will end with a refinished piece of furniture, the knowledge of refinishing furniture basics, and the confidence to do it again! Join The Makeover Mentor Program here (spots are limited for this one)!
>> Get Your Refinishing Questions Answered
Stop searching and get to the solution with a Makeover Strategy Session. Learn the essential beginner basics to furniture makeovers and get answers to your specific problems. You will leave with a custom game plan, including the specific steps, tools, and supplies needed for your project. Snag a strategy session here.
>> Finding Furniture
Do you have champagne taste on a juice box budget? Learn my tricks to finding the most outstanding yet inexpensive [and often free] furniture. Grab your free guide here.
>> Declutter Your Home
Get in on the most popular and the most motivating way to a tidier home. This is perfect for those who need a little nudge to get started and a little motivation to keep going. Grab the free 30 day declutter challenge kit.