Discover an Effective Step-by-Step Front Door Replacement Guide

Discover an Effective Step-by-Step Front Door Replacement Guide

Perhaps, after our specialists helped you install energy-efficient Andersen replacement windows, you feel like sprucing up your home by installing a new front door. If you want a safer lock and modern materials that resist weather conditions, it’s time to get started on your exterior door replacement project!

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about replacing door frame and replacing door hinges for steel or metal doors – the most popular choices among our clients.

Preparing for Front Door Installation

Before we go into details, let us start with the basics: the type and size of exterior door you will install in place of the old one. Here are the most important issues you have to consider:

Door Type You Want to Purchase

When you contact specialized companies and ask for a front door replacement, one of the first questions you will be asked is: slab or pre-hung door? The first term means that you only buy the door and install it in the old frame. The second term refers to the door plus the framing, ready for installation.

If you choose a slab door without replacing door hinges and framing, you must take into account that the hinge and lock bore positions may not be fully aligned with the new door fittings. This is more likely to be the case if your door is more than 25 years old.

Making Precise Measurements

Whether you want a slab front door replacement or a full unit with framing and hinges, making precise measurements is essential. The door must fit perfectly into the opening. For this reason, you may consider hiring a contractor to help you with measurements or perhaps to replace the exterior door for you.

The Material of the Door

The choice of material for front door replacement should be made taking into account:

  • Your budget
  • The climate in your area
  • The level of required maintenance

Thus, a new steel or metal door is a great choice because its cost is average, it is weather-resistant, and requires little maintenance. Wood will take the total cost to replace front door and frame to the premium level, plus it requires extensive maintenance. You can compromise and get an affordable fiberglass door with a finish resembling natural wood.

Can You Replace a Door without Replacing the Frame?

Some homeowners want to reduce the amount of labor and time needed for front door replacement by buying a slab door. After all, you only have to set it on the hinges and install the new lock. In reality, things are very complex.

As we explained above, the hinges and lock bore position may not fit the new door. Doors and frames are not “one size fits all” items. And, even if you manage to get a perfect alignment, the old framing may be weather damaged or have wood rot. After all, would you go to a party in brand new clothes and with old and scuffed shoes? Thus, if you want new front door installation, you should replace the whole structure.

How to Perform Front Door Installation

After these considerations, let us show you how to replace a door. Here are the steps you should follow:

Remove the Old Door and Fasteners

Start at the bottom of the door (for your own safety) and remove the hinge screws. Once they are all out of the jamb, you can take the door out. Next, remove the screws that hold the door frame in place – once again, starting from the bottom. Remove the frame and its interior trim (if it exists). 

Flash the Frame

The next step in the guide on how to replace exterior doors is flashing the door frame. This is done with the help of a drip cap of Z-flashing placed above the opening. Its top leg should slide up behind the tar paper placed behind the siding.

Caulk the Studs

Use a premium sealant for front door replacement – you do not want rainwater or melted snow infiltrating in the wall of your home. The sealant should cover the entire surface of the exposed framing where the threshold will sit and where the exterior trim of the door sits against the wall.

Set the Door and Threshold

If door removal starts from the bottom up, new front door installation starts from the top down. Press the unit firmly so that it is properly embedded in the caulk. Next, use a level to make sure that the threshold is perfectly horizontal and set it, as well.

Start Fastening

Use a temporary screw to secure the new door frame at the top of the jamb on the hinge side. Go inside the house and check that the gaps between the door and its frame are even. Now you can fasten the frame in the opening with the provided screws.

Shim the Lock-Side

At this point in front door replacement, you have to screw the jamb to the studs. Close the door and check the gap between the jamb and the door. If necessary, shim it tighter.

Caulk Away

The last step in our how to replace a door guide is to add more sealant along the entire surface between the siding and the exterior trim. When it is cured, you can install the lock and the door is ready to use.

Our Specialists Can Help You with Exterior Door Replacement

If you find the guide on how to replace exterior doors too complex, you don’t have to worry. The experienced installers at ACRE Windows & Doors are ready to help you with your installation, from making measurements to replacing door frame.

 Our products and professional services are available for clients in:

  • Parsippany – Troy Hills, Ridgewood, Wayne, Pequannock Township, NJ
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware

Call us now to schedule your front door replacement: 888-737-5223!