A new front door can add a real touch of class to your home, not to mention improved security!
Nothing beats the warmth and feeling of strength and solidness of a wooden door. Wooden external doors are available in such a wide range of styles and prices, there is almost certainly one to suit your personality and your pocket!
Once you have gone to the trouble and expense of buying a new front or back door, you need to be sure it’s installed correctly. Unless you are an experienced joiner or handyman, we highly recommend getting an expert to do it for you.
However, if you want to go ahead and install your own external hardwood door, then we have the following practical advice for you.
Measure, measure and measure again!
If you are ordering a bespoke wooden door, you need to absolutely sure that you have the size right. Any inaccuracies could result in some rather expensive firewood!
- Measure the width of the frame at the top, and again in the middle, and at the bottom. Use the widest measurement for ordering your door. If the difference between the widest and narrowest part of the frame is more than 15-20mm, then you may need to consider a whole new frame. Bear in mind that you will need to trim the door where necessary to fit the narrowest part.
- Measure the height of the door frame from the floor to the bottom edge of the door frame or lintel.
- Measure the thickness of the current door, and if you cannot find an exact match then you will need to order a slightly thinner door –this should be barely noticeable once the door has been fitted. Measuring for a new frame – If you are ordering a new frame as well as a new door, then you will need to have the outside measurements of the frame, as well as the inside measurements of the frame. If ordering ready-made frames and the exact size is not available, then order the closest size smaller frame. It is easier to adjust the opening to accommodate a smaller frame than a larger one.
Installing your new door.
Make sure you have given yourself plenty of time to get the new door on – you don’t want a gaping hole in your home for too long!
Firstly, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need before you start,also allow a couple of days to coat the door or doors with at least 3 coats of Sikkens or paint, see our technical section re: application information. It might also be a good idea to have another pair of strong arms to help out, as wooden doors can be heavy and awkward to keep in place on your own.
Try to get your door a few days before you plan to install it so that the timber has time to accclimatise. It is best to lay the door flat, as leaning it on a wall may cause it to become bowed. Solid timber doors can usually be trimmed by about 20mm (3/4 inch), but obviously this is best avoided if possible.
- Place the door against the frame, and if there is any overlap, then position the door so that the overlap is evenly distributed and mark with a pencil where any trimming needs to be done. You should leave a 2-3mm gap on either side and at the top and bottom of the door.
- Starting nearest the corner, carefully plane the overlap to the marked measurements. If there are fairly large adjustments to be made, it is possible to use a saw. Be careful, as it is impossible to put bits back if you take too much off.
- You may be able to use the existing hinge recesses in the doorframe, or you may need to chisel new ones. If at all possible try to use the existing ones, as chiseling a new one can be tricky and time-consuming. If chiselling new recesses, ensure that the doors are hinged between 125-150mm (5-6 inches) from the top and 175-230mm (7-9 inches) from the bottom, with a third hinge in the centre. Brass hinges are usually best, and always ensure that they fit the flush into the recess.
- Mark the position of the hinges on the door, taking time to ensure that they are perfectly accurate. Attach the door by using just one screw per hinge until you have checked that the position of the door allows it to open and shut perfectly. Once the door is in the correct position then the remaining screws can be put in and tightened.
That’s it, all done! Now lock that door and put your feet up – you’ve earned a rest