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How to Fit an Internal Door

If your existing internal doors are looking tired and worn, maybe it’s time to replace them. A new door will add a whole new lease of life to any room. Once you've chosen your internal doors it's time to get out those tools and fit them. 

Fitting an Internal Door: Step by Step

The job of fitting an interior door can be broken down into several steps:

1: Remove the Old Door

  • Chip away any paint covering the existing hinges and screws.
  • Unscrew the old door, starting with the bottom hinges.
  • Have someone support the door while you remove the top hinges. Note that the door may be heavier than you expect!

2: Cut the new door to fit the opening

  • Hold the new door up against the frame to see whether it fits. If your home is relatively new and the doors are standard sized, then you may be lucky and it will be ready to hang immediately.
  • In most cases, however, the door will not be a perfect fit because the frame is not perfectly rectangular or the floor is not completely flat. In that case, you may need to sand down, plane or even cut into the door.
  • If the old door fitted well, you can use that as a template to draw guide lines to show what you need to plane and cut.
  • Make sure that you take an equal amount of material from the bottom and the top of the door.
  • If you are removing more than half a cm of wood from the door, use a panel saw, then sand the cut smooth. If you’re removing less than that, you can use a plane.
  • Leave a 2mm gap on either side of the door, and at the top. This is about the height of a two pence piece.
  • If you will be carpeting the room, then you will need to leave between 5mm and 10mm at the bottom of the door.

3: Fitting the hinges

  • Your new hinges should fit flush against the frame. If they do not, then chisel out the excess wood.
  • Screw the hinges to the door frame, and open them. The pivots should be sticking out from the edge of the frame.
  • Hold the door in the frame, at the correct height, and mark where the hinges should rest.
  • Unscrew the hinges, and lay the door flat. Lie the hinges on the frame and mark where the screw holes go.
  • Chisel out the area where the hinges should lie, and make the screw holes.

4: Hang the door

  • Screw the hinges back into the frame, using only one screw per hinge to begin with.
  • Screw the hinges onto the door. Make sure that the door opens and closes easily
  • Adjust the hinges as necessary, then add the extra screws.

Conclusions and final tips:

Fitting a new door can be a time consuming task. Removing the old door is something that is best done with a second person to help you, and hanging the new door can be awkward too. If you don’t have a lot of time, or will struggle to find someone to help out for the full job, hiring someone to do the job for you is a good idea. Remember, time is money, and professional internal door fitters will get the job done right first time – and work far more quickly than someone who has never done the job before.