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Front Door Hardware

There are a variety of reasons for replacing a front door. One instance could be a well-functioning door that doesn’t make the statement you desire. This upgrade is a sound decision as a quality door, correctly installed, can enhance the beauty and value of your home.

If an inspection of the door jamb finds it to be sound, selecting a door is next. Choosing the style is entirely up to you. If you need help or just want to see what’s available, larger home improvement centers have a good assortment on display. Remember, it must be an exterior door, the same thickness as the one you’re replacing, and it should be a blank, meaning that it has not had the hole for the knob drilled or the hinges mortised out. This is because it is uncommon to find the placement of the hinges and door knob to be exactly the same on two doors. In the event of a mismatch, though, the jamb can be re-worked or completely replaced.

To remove the door jamb, you must first remove the door. Using a scratch awl or nail set or even a long nail, say sixteen penny, drive the hinge pin up and out. This will separate the hinge and free the door. Remove the trim around the door opening next. Use a piece of scrap wood between your pry bar or hammer head and the wall to prevent damage to surrounding drywall. Most entrance doors have a threshold (the piece of wood or metal at the bottom of the door jamb). If the threshold is separate from the door jamb, remove it first. The jamb can then be pried out. If the threshold and jamb were installed as one unit they will have to be removed as such. A reciprocating saw will be needed to shear off nails or screws that are holding the jamb to the opening. Pry the jamb from the door frame enough to allow the saw blade to slide freely in between the jamb and the door frame and cut off the nails. When all the nails attaching the door jamb have been severed, the jamb will slide out.

Suppose the door and jamb are adequate and it’s the hardware you wish to upgrade. Purchase the hinges and lock set before you start removing them from the existing door, or your home will be without a front door until you do. This is an easy upgrade, everything should fit because location of the lock and hinges won’t change and any adjustment should be minor.

When the door and hardware are fine but the door sticks, sanding or using a block plane can be the answer. Care must be taken to avoid sanding off too much, causing the door to fit too loosely. This is a tricky operation that could result in the need for a new door. If the procedure is new to you, contacting qualified help should be considered.

Let’s say the door and hardware are sound but the door swings or fits poorly. This could be due to loose screws in hinges at the door attachment or at the jamb. From abuse or other forms of damage, the screw holes can egg out and become too large to hold the hinge securely. First, remove the door and brace it on exposed edge hinges. Remove the hinges and inject a little white glue into the screw hole. Then take small wood scraps about the size of toothpicks and drive them into the hole until no more will fit. Be careful, if large pieces are pounded into the hole, the door could split.

If you’re installing a pre-hung door (one that comes with the jamb attached), all you need do in the best case scenario is slide the unit in place and secure it to the frame. If the frame is too large, shims will be needed in between the jamb and the frame to insure it is plumb and snug. Common wood shims will work fine here. If the frame is too small, either the framing must be altered, or, if feasible, a door of correct size will be needed instead.

If you are installing a blank door (one without hinges mortised or locksets drilled out), you will need sharp chisels and/or a router for the hinges and a drill, plus an inch and one quarter drill bit or an expansion bit (a drill bit whose size can be adjusted) to drill out the door knob hole. Locksets come with templates; utilize this to aid in positioning the holes to be drilled. Take all measurements from the top of the door. Any cuts made for length should come off the bottom of the door and any cutting done for width should come off the hinge side. Be certain to allow for any weather stripping or a threshold. The process is the same for installation of dead bolts to new or existing doors.

Make any adjustments in small increments. More can always be cut or sanded off, but if too much is removed, you will likely have to replace the door. For a clean job, the correct tools and adequate experience are needed. If you are lacking in either of these, a qualified professional can help with either advice or the entire service from start to end. Either way, take each step carefully and be safe.

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