How To Fit An External Door
Fitting an external door is a job that looks quite simple, but is actually more demanding than you might think. If you have ever hung an internal door before, then you could be forgiven for thinking that hanging an external door is exactly the same – remove the old one and the hinges, screw new hinges in place, and call that done. However, there is a lot more to fitting an external door - issues like ‘controlled fitting’, locks & security and weatherproofing must all be considered. We'll cover some tips on how to fit your external door, or you can take a look at our full step by step guide.
Secure Front Door Fitting Tips
Fitting a new front door or back door should take between two and four hours, assuming that the door you purchased is a good fit for the new opening. Before you can fit a new door, you will need to remove the old one. If you are replacing the whole thing (including the casing) then you will need to carefully cut around the casing and the wall to separate the paint and sealant. Use a pry bar to pull the casing out of the wall, unscrew the hinges to remove the door from the frame, and then pry the frame from the opening.
Fitting a Pre-Hung Door
Once the old frame has been removed, you can put the new frame in place. Make sure that the floor under the threshold is level. If the new door is slightly shorter than the old one, you can raise the threshold (using weather-treated wood) to the right level.
Put the door and frame into the opening, using tapered shims to make sure that the door is vertically plumb. Secure the frame with finish nails, and make sure that the latched jamb is in perfect position. Once the door is in the right place, fill the gaps between the frame and the opening with foam insulation, and then install casing for a professional finish.
Common External Door Fitting Problems
The most common issues with fitting external doors are poor waterproofing, and poor security. The door and the frame must be completely snug. It is important that you use a waterproof membrane to shield the top, sill, bottom and corners of the opening from moisture. When the frame is put in place, use silicone caulking to fill every gap, ensuring that no moisture penetrates the door.
It is important that the opening is completely plum and that the door fits into the frame perfectly, with the jamb lining up and the latch being snug. If there is too much space, then the door will not lock securely, and it would be easy for a would-be burglar to work the latch loose.
Professional Fitting vs DIY
If you aren’t confident that you know how to fit an external door yourself, then it may be worth paying to have your external doors fitted by a professional. This will save you time and stress, and ensure that the door is secure, draft-proof and weather proof.
If you are planning on paying someone to fit the door for you, be sure to choose a company that specialises in external door fitting. A general purpose joiner or tradesman will not have the experience required to do the job well. When you are purchasing a new front door, see if you can buy it from somewhere that offers external doors supplied and fitted for a flat fee. Yes, you will pay more for this service, but it may well be worth it to ensure that the door is fitted correctly.