Hanging a Pre-Framed Front Door

Installation requires fewer tools and no setting the hinges.
Door handle

TS-92573623_door-handle_s3x4

Door handle

Photo by: Ron Chapple

Ron Chapple

Related To:

Replacing your old front door with a pre-hung door is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to keep a homeowner's cost down while providing the desired look.

Installing a traditional door frame and an exterior door can be difficult since the frame needs to be measured, hinged and squared. If the builder doesn't have the right framing knowledge or the proper tools, this can be tedious and frustrating.

Installation of a pre-hung door is easier since the door is already attached to the door frame. It requires fewer tools and there's no need to chisel and set the hinge since it is already pre-installed with the door. This cost-effective option also gives the homeowner many choices, from wood to fiberglass, and each style can be either painted or stained.

Here's how to do it:

  • Inspect the studs for water and insect damage, and make sure the rough door opening is at least 1" wider and 1/2" higher than the outside dimensions of the new door frame unit. Pre-hung doors come in a standard door jamb of 4" to 9/16" or 6" to 9/16".
  • Place the door unit in the rough door opening bottom end first and visually center it.
  • Wedge some shims between the side jambs and the frame until the frame is level and plumb with the already flashed door sill.
  • If the exterior siding needs to be cut because it is overlapping the brick molding, a.k.a. exterior casing, trace the outline of the molding onto the siding. Use a circular saw to cut through the marked siding, and trim the siding at the corners with a sharp chisel.
  • Apply a generous amount of silicone or caulk to the jambs and rough opening.
  • Slide the door unit into place again and center it, then temporarily secure the brick molding with finishing nails.
  • From the inside, insert pairs of shims in the gap between the door jambs and the studs where the lockset and hinges are located.
  • Insert additional pairs of shims every 12" along the side and header jambs. Don't force the shims into place since they may cause the frame to bow. Use a level to make sure the door is still plumb.
  • Maintain a 1/8" space between the door edge and the jamb on the lock side on the door and 1/16" on the hinge side.
  • Fasten the door frame to the rough opening where the hinge is.
  • Remove one of the hinge screws and use a longer screw (usually provided with the door) to screw the door at the hinge, through the shims and framing. Repeat on the other side and screw in where the weather stripping is.
  • Remove the weather stripping and screw it on the frame at the locations where you have shimmied the door. Replace the weather stripping.

Next Up

Read This Before You Paint Your Front Door

So, you’re ready to paint your front door. Whether it’s just a touchup with a favorite hue or an entirely new shade that will grace your entrance, take note of these helpful hints before you pick up your brush.

How to Install a Tile "Rug" Within a Hardwood Floor

Add high style to your high-traffic entry with this transitional floor tile inset.

How to Add Columns and Corbels to a Front Entry

Take your curb appeal up a notch by framing your entryway with columns and decorative corbels.

12 Fall Door Decorations That Aren't Wreaths

Break the wreath mold this season with creative door decor ideas that are sure to stun.

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Many homeowners have turned to vinyl plank flooring as an alternative to hardwood or tile because it’s easy to install, very durable and comes in a huge variety of styles. Learn how to transform your home with high-quality vinyl floors.

2024: Average Cost to Install Carpet Per Square Foot

Knowing the average cost of installing carpet can help you dial in your remodeling budget.

How to Replace a Window

When it's time to replace an outdated, inefficient window, it can be hard to know where to start, so we’ve got everything you need to know to get the job done.

DIY Rainbow Doormat

Brighten up your entryway with this easy DIY doormat.

How to Install French Drains

Divert groundwater from the basement or foundation with the help of gravel and fabric.

How to Replace a Garage Door Spring

Learn how to identify a damaged or broken garage door spring and determine what it may take to get your door back in working shape.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

House Hunters

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
8pm | 7c
8:30pm | 7:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Ugliest House in America

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:31pm | 10:31c

House Hunters

2:31am | 1:31c
3am | 2c
3:30am | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30am | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30am | 4:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.