Replacing a door is a great way to give any home an instant refresh. Bright, new interior doors and upgraded exterior doors go a long way to add to your home’s character, while providing improved insulation and sound protection, too. But how complicated is replacing a new door in an old frame, and can you tackle it yourself?

As long as your existing door jam is in good condition, you can replace an interior door without replacing the frame. Let’s go through the process from start to finish.

How to Replace a New Door in an Old Frame

Replacing an older interior door while keeping the same frame is a great option if you need to refresh a room design, remove a broken door, or improve a room’s energy efficiency with a better-fitting door. To replace a new door in an old frame, start by examining the jamb to find the right sized door, and then make the replacement seamlessly.

Step 1: Assess the Door Frames

Most doors use two frames: the larger rough frame which forms the opening and the finish frame which consists of three jambs that support the hinges and hold the door in place. If you want to replace an interior door you can either install a prehung door or install a new door to the existing jambs.

Step 2: Find a New Door

Depending on the condition of the jambs and hinge pockets, you may decide to keep them and just find a new door, or look for a prehung door to start over with new jambs. Both can be installed while maintaining the original rough frame.

Step 3: Collect Your Tools

To replace a new door in the old frame, you’ll need some basic carpentry skills and tools:

  • Nail set
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • Level
  • Galvanized screws, 3-inch
  • Wood shims
  • Chisel
  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Hole saw

Step 4: Remove Existing Hardware

If you want to install a prehung door, you’ll first need to remove the existing door, jambs, hinges and door casing. Use a pry bar to remove trim casing and take off the hinges to lift the door out of the frame.

To hang a new door in existing jambs, remove the hinges and old door and place it on top of the new one, secured with clamps. Trim the new door to fit the old one using the circular saw, and mark where the hinges will be applied.

Cut hinge mortise with hand tools or a router jig. You will also want to bore a hole that will match the existing frame latch opening. (If the process is more complex than you would like, you can reach out to Zeeland Lumber & Supply’s wood shop as they can prep doors to fit existing frames). With the new door mostly in the right shape, place it in the opening to check the fit, and make final adjustments as needed.

Step 5: Install New Finish Frame and Hinges

After making sure your prehung door will fit the frame, make any adjustments to the side and top jambs for a snug connection. Then, remove the jambs from the new door to attach them into the frame. Use a level to make sure the new jambs fit flush and even in the door frame, and add wood shims to achieve a plumb fit.

With the jambs secure, you can then attach the finish frame, hinges, and hang the door.

To install a new door, you’ll need to use a chisel and hammer to create the hinge area, using the old door as a reference to get the precise shape. Then, install the hinges onto the new door.

Step 6: Hang a New Door in the Old Frame

With a prehung door, once the new finish frame is installed, replacing the new door in an old frame is as simple as hanging the door on the new hinges.

If you’re using a new door, you’ll need to fasten the door to the new hinges using hinge pins and mark where you want to place the knob to align with the latch plate on the jamb. Use the hole saw to drill a 2-inch hole through the door and then install the new knob. To attach a latch plate, chisel out a spot and secure the metal plate with screws.

And that’s the whole process. Adding a new door in an existing door frame is an easy way to refresh your home, and it’s a project most handy homeowners can tackle themselves. If you’re looking for a new door for your home, Zeeland Lumber & Supply has you covered. Stop into your local Zeeland Lumber & Supply showroom for a first-hand look at some of our most popular interior doors, or give us a call for more information and a personalized quote on the door that’s right for you.

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