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How to Install an Exterior Door In 8 Steps

So, you’ve decided it’s time to replace that old, squeaky exterior door with a shiny new one that not only…
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Jacob Wadding

So, you’ve decided it’s time to replace that old, squeaky exterior door with a shiny new one that not only enhances your home’s curb appeal but also provides better security and insulation. Congrats! Installing an exterior door may sound like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a little patience, you can tackle this DIY project like a pro.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the exterior door installation process in eight straightforward steps. 

What’s inside this read:

  • Tools + materials needed for door installation
  • 8 simple steps to installing an exterior door in DIY fashion
  • Extra tips to ensure installation is successful

Exterior Door Installation: Gather Your Tools and Materials 🧰

homeowner measuring door for new exterior door installation

Before diving into the exterior door installation process, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  • New exterior door and frame
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Shim material (wooden or composite)
  • Saw
  • Drill with screwdriver and hole saw attachments
  • Caulk gun
  • Exterior-grade caulk
  • Paint and primer (if necessary)

Once you have everything ready, you’re good to go!

Step 1: Remove the Old Door 🔧

To begin, start by removing the old door: Begin by using a screwdriver to take out the screws from the hinges, starting with the top hinge and progressing downward. After removing the screws, gently lift the door off its hinges and set it aside. Don’t forget to eliminate any lingering screws or hardware from the door frame.

Step 2: Measure and Prepare 📏

Now, it’s time to get precise with measurements for exterior doors:

  • Measure the height and width of the door frame to ensure your new door will fit.
  • Check if the door frame is level and plumb using a level. If it’s not, you may need to make some adjustments before proceeding.

Step 3: Prepare the Door Frame 🧹

man working on fitting frame for exterior door installation

Prepare the door frame for the new door by first clearing away any debris or old caulk from the frame’s surface. Next, ensure a weatherproof seal by applying a coat of exterior-grade caulk along the frame’s edges. 

This step is crucial for maintaining insulation and protecting your door against the elements.

Step 4: Install the Threshold 🚧

The threshold, located at the bottom of the door frame and resting on the floor, can be easily installed as follows: Begin by positioning the threshold within the door frame, making sure it sits level. After achieving proper alignment, secure it firmly in place by fastening screws to hold it securely in position. 

This step ensures that the threshold functions effectively as a barrier against drafts and moisture infiltration.

Step 5: Insert the Door 📐

Now, it’s time for the exciting step of installing the new door. Begin by gently positioning the door into the frame with precision. To ensure proper alignment, use your trusty level to check that the door is both level and plumb. Then, insert shims between the door frame and the wall studs to firmly secure the door in its designated position. 

This critical step guarantees that your door fits snugly and functions correctly, enhancing both security and insulation.

Step 6: Secure the Door Frame 🔐

To ensure the door is firmly secured in place, follow these steps: Begin by drilling pilot holes through the door frame, aligning them with the wall studs. Once the pilot holes are in place, insert screws into them to firmly anchor the door frame, providing stability and durability to your newly installed door.

Step 7: Test the Door 🧐

woman tests out new exterior door installation after successful job

Before you can call the job complete, it’s essential to confirm that the door functions smoothly. Test this by opening and closing the door to ensure it operates seamlessly. Additionally, inspect the exterior trim and the door frame for any gaps; if you detect any, apply caulk to seal them effectively. 

This step guarantees that your newly installed door not only looks great but also performs its intended functions of security and insulation.

Step 8: Finish and Seal 🎨

Finally, it’s time to add the finishing touches:

  • • Apply a layer of primer to the door frame and the door, if necessary. Let it dry.
  • • Paint the door and frame in your desired color.
  • • Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before using your new exterior door.

And there it is! You’ve successfully installed an exterior door and given your home a fresh look and added security. Remember, each installation may have its unique challenges, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you encounter any issues beyond your DIY capabilities.

5 Tips for Success 💡

Here are some additional tips to ensure a successful exterior door installation:

  • Tip #1: Double-check your measurements to avoid any sizing issues.
  • Tip #2: Use shims generously to ensure a tight fit and proper insulation.
  • Tip #3: Don’t rush the job; take your time to ensure everything is level and secure.
  • Tip #4: Consider installing weatherstripping around the door to improve insulation and energy efficiency.
  • Tip #5: If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional for guidance or assistance.

Install a New Exterior Door & Boost Your Curb Appeal 🚪

Doing an exterior door installation might seem like a challenging task, but with the right tools, materials, and a little patience, you can achieve a great result. Remember to measure twice and cut once, pay attention to the details, and take your time to ensure a secure and weatherproof installation. 

Once your new door is in place, you can enjoy improved curb appeal, enhanced security, and better energy efficiency in your home. So, roll up your sleeves and give your home a stylish and functional upgrade—it’s a DIY project worth tackling!

For more tips or any questions you have about the doors in your home–or any other home services you need–don’t hesitate to reach out to Arch Exteriors. Click here to contact one of the experts on our team.

About the Author
Your home is probably the most expensive thing you own. When you hire somebody to make improvements, you want high-quality work. In addition, you hope they’ll take the same care you would. You want someone with a good reputation, legitimate credentials, well established, using quality materials, and who charges a fair price. For over 11 years, I have worked hard to provide all of those benefits to my clients. One of the major reasons we have been able to do that is our ability to keep highly qualified personnel. Our workers are well trained, properly motivated, and managed professionally. I make certain that I convey measurable systems and procedures that our team understands and can readily follow.

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