How to Install a New Exterior Door Unit
To install a new exterior door unit in the wall opening:
- Check the rough opening to make sure the studs are plumb and square.
- If you removed the door from the frame to paint it, put the door back in the frame, and tap the hinge pins in place.
- Test fit the door unit in the opening from the outside to make sure it fits and aligns properly.
- Remove the door unit from the opening.
- If the doorway is not protected from rain, make sure a metal drip cap is in place above the door that extends behind the siding and over the brick casing.
- Put a bead of caulk on the outer edge of the sill, followed by a second bead of caulk 1/2″ inside the first.
- Put a bead of caulk around the exterior opening between the sheathing and exterior door casing.
- Drill undersized holes in the brick mold on each exterior door casing.
- Place the threshold of the door unit on the sill from outside, then stand the unit up in the opening.
- Align the frame square and plumb in the opening, using a level and the top of the door for reference.
- Hammer 10d (3”) galvanized or stainless steel casing nails in the predrilled holes in the exterior door casing, leaving the heads protruding in case the door needs adjustment.
- Open and close the door, checking it for fit against the door frame and threshold. Make sure there is approximately a uniform 1/8” gap between the door and jambs.
- Place wood or plywood shims behind each of the hinge locations to fill any gap between the door jamb and stud.
- Replace two of the top and bottom short hinge screws in the door jamb with 2” or longer hinge screws that penetrate through the shims and at least 1” into the stud.
- Place shims between the latch side of the door frame and stud to fill any gap, then hammer 8d (2½”) finishing nails through the jamb into the stud.
- Place shims between the latch side of the door frame and deadbolt latch and locket locations.
- Install the interior door casing using 8d (2½”) finishing nails, allowing for a uniform 1/8” to 3/16” wide reveal between the casing and jamb on all three sides.
- Use a nail set to set all nails below the surface, and fill the holes with painter’s putty or wood filler.
- Caulk around the exterior door casing and siding or brick, and touch up nail holes with paint.
- Install the lockset and deadbolt, making sure the latch screws penetrate through the casing and into the stud at least 1”.
- Upgrading and Replacing Doors on Your Home (article)
- Painting Both Sides of a Door on Sawhorses (video)
- How to Remove and Replace Exterior Door Casing (video)
- How to Replace Worn Weatherstripping Around Doors (video)