How To Install A Door – Hang A Door Home Improvement
Moving along with the interior finish on my house, I turned my attention to the doors for the ground floor. These need to be done before the rest of the trim can be finished and the baseboard installed. I decided that I would do it all the hard way (as usual) and build everything from scratch, including the door jambs as shown in this video:
I installed that door frame in the first opening as demonstrated in this video:
Next, I made the doors themselves from plywood:
And with a coat of primer on the door, I can hang it and that’s what I’ll be covering in this article.
My first step before hanging the door is to take it and try it in the opening to see how it fits. This will tell me right away what needs to be done with the door as far as making it fit properly. As shown at the beginning of the video that cover the installation from start to finish at the bottom of this page, the door was a bit too wide and the head of the door frame was out of level.
To make the door the right width, I planed some off of both edges using an electric hand plane:
Since this door is thinner than 1-1/2″ thick, I’m not going to bother with a bevel on either side. For a thicker door, the standard is to bevel both the hinge and the latch edge of the door by 2 degrees for a better fit.
To hold the door up on edge to do this, I made a simple door buck from scrap wood. I planed the top of the door down to the line I drew from both sides toward the middle, and that avoids chip out on the edges:
Next, I fastened the hinge template to the jamb with screws, and there are details on this jig at the bottom of this page:
I then used my trim router that I recently modified to route out the hinge mortise:
This leaves a rounded corner, but the hinges I’m using are square so I used a chisel to clean that out. There is a special chisel for this that will do it faster, and I had one long ago but have since misplaced it. Doing it with a regular chisel just takes a few seconds longer:
Next, I fasten the hinge template to the edge of the door to route out the hinge pockets on that:
And drilled pilot holes for the screws before fastening the hinges. I always install the hinges on the door only before hanging it in the frame:
To hang the door, I stand it up and line up the top hinge with the top hinge pocket on the frame, and drive in the first screw. I then line up the middle or bottom hinge and fasten that:
Another way is to “break down” the hinges by removing the pins, then installing each leaf on the door and the frame before wrestling the door on and driving the pins back in. Since it takes longer to describe that procedure, it goes without saying that it takes longer to do!
With the door swinging, I can check the fit and make further adjustments. The edge above the latch was a bit tight, so I planed some off:
And the top was rubbing in the middle, so I took a little off with my block plane. Normally I’d use the electric plane for that as well, but there wasn’t enough space to the ceiling bulkhead above to fit it in:
Final check and the fit is excellent:
I still have several things to do with this door before its completely finished, like easing over the sharp edges and installing the lock hardware. In the spring I’ll bring these outdoors and spray them for a nice, even paint finish.
I made a video of the installation from start to finish:
The hinge template I used is one I made myself:
I’ve made a SketchUp model for this and that free to download:
Note that the SketchUp plan is sized for 3″ x 3″ butt hinges with the router setup I have (details below). You will need to make adjustments if you are using different size hinges and a different router arrangement. Consider this plan as a good place to start when building your own.
The SketchUp plan shows screws being used to set the depth when using the jig on the door edge, but you can do it like I did here:
A bit more complex, I would have used the screws if I had thought of it sooner.
You will need a router that has a guide bushing to work with this jig. I’m using a 1/2″ straight cutting bit with a 5/8″ outside diameter collar:
A good setup will bring you is great results, the hinges fit perfectly: