Replacing an Interior Door

There are two ways to replace a door, you can replace both the door and the frame, or you can just replace the door in the original frame. The method you choose will often depend on how the door frame was finished. If it has casing that can be easily removed then replacing both the door and frame will be the easiest method. If the frame is plastered in then just replacing the door is likely the way to proceed.

To purchase a replacement door you will need to measure the width of the original door, this new door will not be finished, routed for hinges or have the latch holes drilled, don't dispair, this is not as difficult as it may seem if you have the right tools to do the job. Fit the door and prepare it for the hardware before applying paint or finish.

You will need a router, hand drill, circular saw, hand plane and a chisel in addition to two amazing jigs that are available, one to cut the hinge inserts and the other to drill the latch holes.

Before removing the original door take a look at how it fits in the frame, is the gap even across the top and down the outside edge. Check the gap at the bottom of the door as well, is it high enough to pass above a mat. Mark any adjustments that need to be made on the door before removing it.

Remove the door by driving the pins out of the hinges, if you are going to replace the hinges remove the old hinges from the frame and install the new ones.

Cutting Door To Size

Lay the new door on a workbench or a pair of sawhorses, place the original door on top of it, line up the tops and the hinge sides of the two doors. Make any necessary adjustments to the top of the door and mark it for cutting, if no adjustments are needed at the top mark the bottom and just make the one cut. Use a straight edge to guide your circular saw, a good quality sharp blade will make a cleaner cut.

Line up the hinge edge and mark the latch edge with a pencil line, making any adjustments necessary. Stand the new door on edge and plane the edge down to the pencil line to match the original door. Taper toward the leading edge of the door to allow clearance for it to enter the frame. A workmate is very handy to have to hold the door at this point.

Installing The Hinges

The Irwin Lock Installation Kit comes with a hinge insert template, it will do the job, however if you have several doors to do or want a professional looking result the Porter Cable Door Hinge Template works much better.

With the tops of the doors lined up mark the position of the hinges on the new door.
Fasten the jig to the door and route the hinge inserts following the instructions included in the kit.
Install the hinges with only one screw until the door is in the frame, then drive in the other two screws in each hinge.

You may want to check how the door fits into the frame at this point before proceeding to drill the holes for the latch. Once the hinge pins are inserted drive in the remaining two screws in each hinge before making any adjustments to the door.

Drilling the Latch Holes

Place the new door on your bench or sawhorses with the hinges on the bottom of the door. Put the original door on top of it and line the top of the doors up. Mark the position of the 1" hole in the edge of the door.
Place the hole jig in position and drill holes according to instructions.
Use the latch template and the special bit for your drill and route the outline for the latch plate, remove excess material with chisel.
Install the latch and knob, put the door into the frame and check if the latch lines up with the striker plate. Remove the door from the frame and take off all the hardware to paint or finish the door.

Tools Required


Hand Drill

Circular Saw

Hand Plane

Special Tools