Fitting new doors can be trickier than you expect, especially as older houses tend to twist and settle, bringing the door frames well out of true. Still, with a little care and the right tools, anyone can hang a door like an expert.
Hold the new door up to the frame, and see how close a fit it is. Mark where the door will have to be cut down, and where the frame itself will have to be built out.
If you are using a new position for the hinges, you’ll have to either apply a few layers of filler or glue in a wood block and then sand it flush to the frame. Do the same with the door, if you are using one that already has inconvenient hinge recesses.
Make sure the frame is square by building it out where necessary. This will make cutting and fitting your door much easier. This is also the time to build it out to accept the maximum size of the door, where necessary.
Make the cuts you’ve marked in step one, but make sure you do so carefully. You could ruin the entire door at this stage. Using a professional-grade circular saw can help quite a bit. Make your cut outside of the line, and you are much less likely to cut the door too small. Remember, it is much easier to plane it down than to build it back up.
Use a carpenter’s square and a mortice gauge to mark the position of the hinge. Use a chisel to cut hinge recesses in the door, then drill pilot holes for the screws.
Make sure that the hinge lays in the recess flush with the door surface. If you don’t have a decent cordless drill, they can be hired for a lot less than you might think. Typical placement is 18cm above and below the top and bottom of the door.
Stand the door in the opening and make sure you can slip a penny into the gap all around the frame (this may require more than 2 hands)
Some sites suggest using a hobby knife for this purpose, but we find that that is both more dangerous and less effective than using a pencil.
Get out the mortice and square again, and to the exact same thing, again cutting a recess for the hinge into the door frame if there isn’t already a suitable one there.
This may be the most difficult part to do with just one person. Wedge the door into position at the proper height, but in the open position (otherwise you won’t be able to access the hinge). It may be easier to pin the door in place by nailing the top hinge into place whilst screwing in the rest of the hinges. This will prevent the door from moving too much during the process. If you do, use a nail that is small enough not to ruin your pilot hole.
If there is not already a suitable door stop in place, you’ll need to fit one now. Pin it to the frame whit the door in the closed position, then attach it with glue and finishing nails.
The process of fitting the door furniture – lock, bolt, knobs and faceplates – is fairly complicated, and may be covered in a future article. If the door is properly hung, though, it makes that a much simpler job.
Image credits: house-extension.co.uk