If you have a damaged or broken door in need of replacement; don’t call in the handyman. You can easily replace a door with a blank slab easily in just a few hours and with a few basic tools. A hole saw set, shims and screwdriver is all you will need to fix your door right the first time.
Remove the Door
A door slab is easily replaced whether it’s an interior door or exterior door. Before you take anything apart though, you’ll need to order the new on first. Always replace a door slab with the same exact door slab that is already installed. A new metal door isn’t going to properly fit into a fiberglass door opening. Choose a new door slab that is made of the same material and the same size as the original. Even changing styles can affect door operations. When in doubt, buy a new door and frame; then let a professional hang it.
When you have the correct replacement door slab, you can remove the door from its hinges. Close the door and from the hinge side, strike a nail set into the bottom of each hinge pin. Remove the bottom hinge first, turning the hammer on its die to get a proper swing. Next the middle hinge pin, followed by the top. Now open the door and carefully remove it from the frame.
Setting the New Slab
The new slab can rest into the frame while you get ready with the shims. Shimming the door into the original position that the old slab was in is crucial to success. Wood shims need to be placed in each corner of the door and underneath of the door threshold.
Reveal is the term used for the exposure on each side of the door against the frame. The reveal must be maintained in equal proportions around the door for correct door operations.
Fold the hinges into the frame as if the door was closed. Now insert the door and shim the blank slab against the hinges. Maintain a ¼” minimum gap against the frame at all times in all directions. The threshold of an interior door doesn’t really matter, so long as the ¼” reveal is maintained at the top. An exterior door threshold must be snug against the bottom of the door and a ¼” reveal at the top is needed for correct operations. Adjust the threshold as needed.
Make your Mark
Now that the door is in position, use a pencil to mark the placement of each hinge. Measure the hinges exposure on the outside of the slab or simply make a pencil mark on the hinges.
Router the Hinges
Pull the blank slab out and lean it against a sturdy set of sawhorses, hinge side up. Remove the hinges from the door frame. Set them against the previous marks and trace the hinge outline onto the door slab.
Now you can router the hinge grooves the depth of the hinge plates. You can also use a chisel in combination with the router for more precise work.
Attach the Hinges and Slab
Reattach the hinges to the frame and to the new door slab. Reset the door onto the hinges and insert the hinge pins. Check for reveal and adjust as needed using shims or router/chisel out what is needed to maintain the ¼” reveal.
Now that the door is swinging correctly, you can cut out the knob holes with a hole saw set. The striker plate hole should be marked against the door. Find the center of the marks and measure over the exact distance as the old door slab.
Use the hole saw to cut through one side; but don’t penetrate all the way through the door. Instead allow the tip of the drill bit to come through, then reverse sides and continue through. This will prevent splintering the door. Finish the project by drilling the striker hole, chiseling the striker plate in the slab and installing the hardware.