Install Exterior Door

This chapter is on how to install exterior doors.

STEP 1: Remove any fasteners or catches that keep the door from opening.

STEP 2: Put the door in place to be sure it fits.

STEP 3: Pull the door forward enough to tip the top out. Lean the door forward enough to apply a generous bead of acrylic latex caulk. Run the caulk continuously across the floor and up each side stud a few inches.

STEP 4: Lean the door back into place.

STEP 5: Check the plumb by placing a 4 or 6 foot level on the hinge side.

STEP 6: When the door edge is plumb, place one nail thru the brick mold on the top hinge side corner, but don't drive it in all the way. I wrap the entry door brick molding with coil to match the exterior trim work, so I install entry doors with 16d framing nails thru the brick molding and 3” finish nails in the jambs.

STEP 7: Check the plumb.

STEP 8: If the plumb still looks good, place another nail in the other top corner, but don't drive it all the way.

STEP 9: Check the plumb.

STEP 10: Drive a third nail near the doorknob, but don't drive it all the way in.

STEP 11: Open the door. Close the door.

STEP 12: Check the reveal or gap between the door and the jamb on all three sides. It should be even.

STEP 13: The door should not drag on the threshold.

STEP 14: If you are satisfied with the door, nail a total of four or five nails thru the brick mold on each side, but don't drive them all the way in.

STEP 15: If the door needs adjustment, set a nail near the bottom on the hinge side, but don't drive it all the way in.

STEP 16: Pull the other nails at the top corners, and the knob.

STEP 17: Tilt the door a little in whichever direction it needs and tack a nail again.

STEP 18: Tack a nail near the door knob.

STEP 19: Open & close the door.

STEP 20: If you are satisfied with the door, nail a total of four or five nails thru the brick mold on each side, but don't drive them all the way in. If you are not satisfied with the door, repeat the process until you are.

STEP 21: Once you have the nails in place thru the brick mold, place shims between the door jamb and the stud at each hinge and a few inches above and below the door bolt.

STEP 22: Drive long finish nails thru the jamb, thru the shims and into the studs.

STEP 23: All important when you install exterior doors is the final check of the swing and hang of the door.

STEP 24: If all looks good, set the nails with a nail set.

STEP 25: Remove one screw from the top and middle hinge plates against the jamb. Replace the two screws with 3” long drywall screws. Be careful not to pull the jamb out of plumb with the screws. The goal is to set the screws into the framing to prevent the door from ever sagging or drooping.

Now you know how to install exterior doors properly.

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