Tips On Replacing A Door

by Larry

Tips on replacing a door;Replacement doors, readily available in building supplies stores, should require only slight adjustments to fit into standard doorways. Although no individual step is complicated in itself, hanging a replacement door requires patience. The secret of success is taking the steps in logical order, and using a few small tricks to make the work go faster. The steps can be divided into five major jobs: the preliminaries; trimming the new door; locating and installing the hinges; hanging the door and making final adjustments; and installing the latch and lock hardware. The following section follows that organization.

The preliminaries: Remove the old door, leave the jamb-side hinges in place if you are salvaging the hardware. Measure the opening from top to bottom on both hinge side and latch side. Also measure it across at two or more points. Knowing the exact shape of the opening will help you choose the best suited replacement, and will also tell you if you will have to make substantial trims.
With the replacement door purchased, make any rough trim. (Some doors come with "horns" at top and bottom-untrimmed extra lengths of the side rails. Non-standard openings also re-quire cutting for rough fit. The latter can be a crucial point with hollow cane doors, which have only a 1/2-inch trim margin.)

Trimming to fit: (1) Hold the door in the opening. With the sides in approximate alignment, the top of the door should fit squarely against the top of the jamb. If it does not, align the latch side. Measure the gaps, transcribe the measurements to the door, then sand or plane until the top does fit squarely. Remember to plane in from the edges toward the middle to avoid splintering the side rails. (2) Measure the exact distance from the top jamb to the door sill at both the hinge and latch side. Subtract 5:a inch from these measurements, more if the rug is deeper than the sill on an inward-opening door.

(3) Transcribe these measurements onto the door. Trim the excess off. (Rule of thumb: Plane or sand any excess up to 1/4 inch; saw any excess more than that.) The above approach requires precise measurement and sawing. A more cautious method: Place the door in the opening with shims at the top to give a clearance of 1/16 inch. Prop the door up on shims at the bottom if necessary for the top clearance to be correct. With a straight-edge. mark the bottom of the door to establish desired clearance, then trim the excess.

(4) Prop the door into place so it is snug against the latch side. using shims on the hinge side to force it into place, and at the top to keep a 1/16-inch clearance there. Use a scribe or ordinary pencil compass to mark a trim line on the hinge side that allows a total of 1/2-inch clearance along the side. Trim if necessary. (5) Plane the latch side to a slight bevel to-ward the inside. About 1/2 inch is enough on a 1,8 door. This is to allow easy opening without sacrificing a tight fit.

(6) Prop the door into position, using shims on all four sides, and check all clearances. The top clearance should be 1/8 inch. Each side should be 1/16 inch. The bottom should be 1/2 inch or enough to clear the rug. A few spots may need light sanding at this point.

Locating and installing hinges: With door propped in position as described in Step 6 , remove the hinge - side shims and push door tight against hinge side jamb. (2) Using old jamb side hinges as a guide, mark hinge position on door. If no hinges are in place, make knife cuts on both jamb and door to locate the hinges. It is standard practice for the top of the upper hinge to be 7 inches from the top of the door, and the bottom of the lower hinge to be 11 inches above the bottom of the door. (3) Using a hinge leaf as a guide. use a knife to cut an outline for each mortise. (4) Fashion the mortises. (5) Install hinge leaves securely. Hanging the door: A helper is welcome at this point, but an adept foot at the bottom of the door can replace extra hands.

(1) Ease the door into position so hinges begin to align. (2) When the hinge butts are together, start the top pin through its guides. Do not force it. (3) Once the top pin passes through Two or more loops of the hinge butts, start the bottom pin. (4) Jostle the door until both pins slip into place. At this point the best of professional door hangers usually needs a bit of judicious sanding to free a tight spot or two.

The rest of us frequently have to take the door back down for some vigorous sanding or light planing to compensate for slight mismeasurements along the way. Installing latch hardware: The position of the existing strike plate on the jamb usually determines the location of the door knob and lock. Before painting or finishing the door. take it down and seal the top and bottom edges with a sealer (or prime coat if you are going to paint). This will prevent moisture from seeping into the door and causing swelling or warping later.

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