How to Install an Interior Door: 6 Simple Steps


Installing an interior door might seem easy, but it needs careful planning and accurate work to make sure it looks good and works well. A blank door, which does not include handle holes or hinge mortises, is suitable for when the existing door frame is in good shape. The first step is to take off the old door and get the door frame ready. These early steps are important to make sure the new door fits well and is stable. Making sure the frame is secure and straight is key before moving on.

This preparation not only helps the door look better but also last longer. As we go on to the next steps, think about how paying close attention to the details can improve the final outcome.

Key Takeaways

  • Take off the old door by removing the hinge pins and unscrewing the hinges.
  • Clean the door frame, check for any damage, and make sure it is straight.
  • Put the new door frame in place and use small pieces of wood (shims) and nails to keep it straight.
  • Put trim around the frame with a nail gun to hide any spaces.
  • Fill in any gaps or holes with wood filler or caulk, and then sand it to make it smooth.

Removing the Existing Door

First, take off the old door by taking out the hinge pins and unscrewing the hinges from the door frame. Start by locating and marking the top and bottom of the hinge locations, then use a flathead screwdriver to gently lift the hinge pins out. Once you remove these pins, you can take the door off its frame.

Then, while holding the door, use a screwdriver or a drill to remove the screws from the hinges that connect the door to the frame. Be careful to hold the door well because it might swing open suddenly once the hinges are loose.

After that, put the door somewhere safe where it won’t be in the way or get damaged as you work on putting in the new door.

Preparing the Door Frame

Now that the old door is out, it’s time to get the door frame ready for the new door. First, look closely at the frame and the door jamb for any damage like cracks, splinters, or parts that are not tight. Fix these problems to make sure the frame and door jamb are strong and stable.

Then, clean the frame well to remove any dust, dirt, or old paint that could get in the way when you put in the new door. You can use a vacuum or a brush to do this.

Next, check if the frame is straight and even by using a simple level. If it’s not, you can use small pieces called shims to adjust it when you install the new door.

Getting the frame ready properly is important for a good installation of the new door.

Securing the Door Frame

After preparing the door frame, the next step is to attach it securely to make sure it stays stable and straight. First, place the door frame in the rough opening. Use a simple tool called a level to check if it is straight and even. It is crucial to secure the head jamb to the hinge-side jamb with wood screws and ensure the gaps between the door and the head jamb are equal.

If needed, use small pieces called shims at the hinge areas to get the perfect fit. Once everything looks good, fasten the frame by nailing through the shims into the wood around the frame. You usually need two nails at each shim spot.

After each pair of nails, use the level again to make sure nothing shifted. This step is very important because it makes sure the door works well and lasts a long time. Securing the frame well helps the rest of the installation go smoothly.

Attaching the Door Trim

After making sure the door frame is in place, the next step is to put on the door trim to make it look neat.

First, measure how long each piece of trim needs to be and cut them using a miter saw. This helps the corners fit together well and look nice.

Use finishing nails and a nail gun to attach the trim to the wall and door frame. Make sure the trim lines up right to cover any spaces between the frame and the wall.

Nail the trim on, putting the nails in evenly to keep it looking consistent. Check that each piece of trim is straight and sits flat against the wall for a professional look.

Filling Gaps and Holes

To make sure the finish looks smooth, use caulk or wood filler to fill in any gaps and holes. It’s important to fill in the screw holes with drywall spackle to ensure a smooth finish. After putting in the door and trim, you might see some small flaws. These gaps and holes can make the door look bad and let cold air in.

Important steps to remember when filling gaps and holes:

  • Pick the Right Filler: Use wood filler for wood areas, and caulk for gaps.
  • Put Plenty On: Cover all small spaces well.
  • Smooth It Out: Use a tool called a putty knife to spread it evenly.
  • Let It Dry: Wait for it to dry as long as the instructions say.
  • Sand for Smoothness: After it dries, sand it until it looks even with the rest of the surface.

Installing the Lockset

After making sure the door and trim are set up right, move on to putting in the lockset. Begin by placing the door latch into the hole on the side of the door, and fix it with screws.

Then, line up the outside and inside pieces of the lockset on each side of the door, fitting them into the latch. Screw both sides together next.

After that, fix the latch plate on the door frame across from the latch. This metal piece catches the latch to keep the door shut.

Check the handle and lock to make sure they work smoothly. If needed, adjust things so the lock works well and the handle moves easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Standard Dimensions for Interior Doors?

Standard sizes for inside doors usually are 24, 28, 30, 32, and 36 inches wide. The most normal height is 80 inches, but you can also find doors that are 78 and 96 inches tall.

The thickness of these doors is usually about 1 3/8 inches. These sizes work well for most homes, making sure people can get through easily and keeping spaces private. They fit the usual door spaces in houses and suit various house designs and what different people like.

How Do I Dispose of an Old Interior Door?

To get rid of an old inside door, there are several eco-friendly options you can consider. You can give it to a nearby reuse center or sell it if it still looks good. Some recycling places take doors, breaking down the wood to recycle or use for energy.

If you can’t do these, check with your city’s trash service to find out when you can put out big items like doors for pickup.

Can Interior Doors Be Recycled or Repurposed?

Yes, you can recycle or use old interior doors in new ways. Wooden doors can be made into things like tables or shelves.

Doors made of metal or other materials can be brought to recycling centers. Using old doors again is good for the environment because it means less waste.

It also lets you be creative and add special decorations to your home.

What Tools Are Needed for DIY Door Installation?

For putting in a door yourself, make sure you have the right tools. You’ll need a level, a tape measure, a hammer, nails, a screwdriver, a utility knife, and shims.

You might also need a circular saw to cut the door to size and a drill for the screws. Don’t forget a pencil for marking where things go and maybe a chisel to adjust things.

With these tools, you’ll be all set to install the door.

How Do I Choose the Right Type of Interior Door?

To pick the right indoor door, consider what you need the door for and how your home looks. You might choose a slab door for certain needs, such as custom fitting or specific design preferences. Alternatively, a prehung door can simplify installation as it comes with hardware and a frame. Check the level of privacy and noise control required. Doors are available in wood, composite, or glass, each with distinct appearances and functionalities. Opt for a durable pre hung door in high-traffic areas and ensure it complements your space. Additionally, evaluate the ease of installation and its compatibility with your home’s aesthetic.

Remember to choose a door that meets your privacy and noise control needs. Consider the material options available, such as wood, composite, or glass, each offering unique aesthetics and functionality. Select a sturdy door for areas with high traffic and ensure it fits well within your space. Evaluate the ease of installation and how well the door aligns with your home’s style.


In summary, installing a new interior door can really improve how a room looks and works. Start by taking off the old interior door, prepare the door frame properly, and make sure it’s secure. It is crucial to use all the screws correctly for different parts of the installation process to ensure stability and functionality.

Then, attach the trim and fill in any gaps to make sure the installation looks good and is strong. The final step is adding the lockset, which not only makes the door safer but also adds a stylish touch.

Following these steps will help the door work smoothly and show off your good craftsmanship, transforming a simple doorway into an elegant entrance.
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