What Should I Know About Installing Interior Doors?

Adam Hill

Few home improvement jobs require more precision than installing interior doors. A door has to hang exactly right in order to close correctly and not appear crooked. The process can take several hours and requires at least a moderate degree of ability to get it right the first time. Hanging a door correctly is considered one of the true measures of carpentry skill. Installing interior doors can be made slightly easier through the use of pre-hung doors, although there is extra monetary cost associated with their use.

Installing interior doors requires moderate carpentry skills.
Installing interior doors requires moderate carpentry skills.

Before installing a door, it is essential to check the opening to make sure that all corners are square and that the floor is level. If the framing around the door is not square to within very narrow tolerances, the installation can be protracted and highly frustrating. Wherever they are needed, corrections can be made by sliding shims into place until the edge is level or plumb. This one step takes a large amount of the hassle out of installing interior doors.

Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.
Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.

If a pre-hung door is being used, it can be set into place and then shimmed to ensure accurate angles. To set the door in place, the bottom should be set down in place, and the top then moved into the frame. It may be wise to have help on the other side of the door to receive it and help shift the door, if needed. Once the frame around the door has been shimmed, finishing nails should be nailed through both the door jamb and the shims, into the surrounding frame.

All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.
All basic hinges are made of three parts: Two arms and one pin.

Although a pre-hung door comes with the door already attached to the hinges and jambs, it can be advantageous to remove the door and hinges while installing the jambs to the door frame. This will allow for more exact adjustments without the awkwardness of having to also hold the weight of the door all the while. Whether this is done or not is up to the person installing the door. But, as a general guideline, if the person performing the installation does not have a comfortable level of experience in doing so, he may want to leave the door and hinges attached. This eliminates the step of reattaching the hinges and therefore rules out the possibility of making a mistake in that step.

Mounting the hardware is the last step to installing interior doors. This is a simple procedure, requiring no more expertise than that needed to use a screwdriver. The only complication that may arise is if the strike plate is too large for the indentation that has been made in the jamb. In this case, the indentation, called a mortise, will need to be chiseled out to accommodate the strike plate.

Before installing a door, one should check the opening to make sure that all corners are square and that the floor is level.
Before installing a door, one should check the opening to make sure that all corners are square and that the floor is level.

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Discussion Comments

Heavanet

@rundocuri- Having a helper will make the job on stalling your own interior doors much easier! In fact, some larger doors require more than one person to install them correctly. It's also much safer if you have more than two hands to do this detailed job.

Spotiche5

@rundocuri- Here is a very simple tip for doing any type of construction project, yet one that many people easily overlook.

Before you begin the task of installing interior doors, make sure that you have all of the materials and tools that you will need close by. Having to stop what you are doing to retrieve these items could end up having negative consequences on your project, such as a crooked door or improper installation.

Talentryto

This article is very informative, but it is hard to tell how difficult it really is to install an interior door unless you have actually done this job. If you have had some experience installing doors, you probably will be able to do a good do-it-yourself job with your interior door. However, if you have no experience in this area of carpentry, it is probably best to hire a professional to do the job.

Rundocuri

Based on this article, I think that I may tackle the job of installing my own interior doors. Does anyone have some more tips for making the job as easy as possible?

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