How To Replace Exterior Doors: A Basic Guide

Exterior Decor

The first thing that anyone sees when approaching your house is the front door. With time, doors are bound to require repair to some extent. As repairs cannot revive a door to its former glory, you can consider replacing the exterior door at this point.

Since the front door to your house protects the people inside from the dangers of the outside world, keeping a damaged door should be out of the question. This article will guide you if you are unsure of how to replace your door.

Step 1: Get the Accurate Measurements

The first thing that needs to be done in order to get your door replaced is to measure your exterior doors so that you can order a door that matches the size of the current one.

This step is very important as ordering a door that does not fit your frame will require you to go through the extra steps of reframing the opening and changing several other details as well. This is also the case for adding sidelights. Let’s learn how to actually measure the door.

How to Measure the Door?

To get accurate measurements of the exterior door, follow the tips below.

●     Measuring the height and width

First, we need to measure the width and height of the existing door. Make sure to round the measured numbers to full inches as this will avert the problem of the new door being a bit smaller.


●     Measuring the jamb width

Next, we need to measure the jamb width. The jamb width is the measurement that tells us how thick the wall is where the door will fit. This will help you avoid adding jamb extensions as the door is going to fit right into the wall with the proper measurements.

●     Measuring the opening

Additionally, it’s also important to get the measurements of the rough opening. To get accurate numbers, removing the interior trim will help you to get accurate numbers.

●     Calculating the masonry opening

Lastly, the masonry opening, also known as the exterior opening needs to be calculated. Measure from one end to the other of the exterior casing and then calculate the height from bottom to top as well.

If the opening is too big compared to the usual prehung doors (about two inches wide trim with brick molding) or if you wish to change the trim style then you have to either cover it up with molding or strips of wood. You can also make your own fit.

Step 2: Getting Rid of the Old Door.

When taking part in renovations, one key concern is learning how to dismantle the old things. Removing your old door also falls into this category as you won’t need an extra door. For this, you will require some tools such as a chisel to get started.

How to Remove Exterior Doors?

Use a chisel to get the door loose from the hinges and then use a hammer to raise the pins from the hinges. Then, swing the door open and lift it to remove it.

As doors are quite heavy, it is best to get some help rather than doing it by yourself. Furthermore, make sure to have something that protects the floor from getting damaged by the door.

You can then use a knife to remove the caulking in the door trims and then use a pry bar to take the trims off entirely. Now, you can use a saw to remove the door frame and you are pretty much done.

All you have to do now is to check out the sill area and adjust it accordingly to the new door. You can use tape to protect the sill area from any type of damage. Once you have removed the door, you can either sell it or repurpose it creatively.

Step 3: Setting Up the New Door


This is the last step of the process of replacing exterior doors and requires the utmost caution as we don’t want to damage the new door. Installing the new door means redoing all the things you tore apart while taking the old door off.

How to Install an Exterior Door

As mentioned earlier, you have to redo all the things you did to remove or dismantle the old door.

First, apply caulk along with the entire opening of the door. Next, we have to nail the frame into its place. Push the frame into the caulk and make sure that it is level with the hinge sides. Then hammer nails into the top and bottom of the frame.

After that, we need to screw the hinges in place and install shims to both sides of the frame. Install the exterior door frames and a metal threshold with nails. Apply insulation on the jambs and install the interior trim as you did with the exterior.

Lastly, apply caulk around the trims and you have successfully finished installing a new door.

Further Watching:


Although the process of getting rid of an old door and replacing it with a new one sounds very tedious and time-consuming, it can be easily done within a day if you have pre-planned it well.

If you are completely new to this process, then seeking help from a professional or an experienced relative or friend will help you minimize the risks of messing things up.

We hope that this article has helped you understand the process of installing a new door by replacing the older one. Good luck!