How to Hang a Door in a Pre-Existing Jamb


Hanging a door in an pre-existing jamb is a fast job. If it is a replacement door, make sure that all the old holes in the jamb are filled with putty and sanded smooth before beginning. If you are installing a door in a pre-existing jamb that has not been used before there is no preparation needed. The job will go a little faster with a helper, but you can do it yourself as well in about an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Door
  • Tape measure
  • Hinges
  • Level
  • Wood shims
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Attach the hinges to the door (if they are not already on). Measure to the center of the door on the edge opposite the handle and attach the center hinge (center of edge should match the center of the hinge). Measure down 6 inches from the top of the door, line up the top of a hinge with that measurement and attach the hinge. Measure up 6 inches from the bottom and line up the bottom edge of a hinge there and attach it. Make sure that your hinges are attached so the hinge will fold flat and flush against the edge of the door and the spine of the hinge is "outside the door," or lined up with the outside face of the door.

  • Open the hinges on your door. Stand the door up and hold it so the open hinges is against the jamb, just as if the door were attached and open. You want the spine of the hinge to be outside of the door frame (usually pointed against a wall if your door frame is near a wall).

  • Hold a level along the top edge of the door when the top is straight use a Phillips head screwdriver to attach one screw in the top hole of the top hinge.

  • Shim the bottom of the door to hold it level and line up the hinges on the jamb so they all fall along the same straight line. Attach one screw in the top hole of each of the other hinges. Check the door again that it is level. Then remove the shims and open and close the door to make sure it fits properly. If it does not, shim the door again and realign the hinges. If the door swings and fits the frame perfectly then open the door, support it with a shim and attach the rest of the screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are hanging a door in a pre-existing jamb by yourself, line the hinges up in the jamb. Make a mark where each screw hole in the hinge falls. Remove the door. Start each screw and then remove them. Doing this will make it easier for you to hold the door steady and level while attaching the shim because you will have already started the screw.
  • One of the most common injuries that happens when hanging a door is that in testing whether the door opens and shuts well, and trying to hold the door steady, people inadvertently put their fingers along the hinge edge and catch their fingers between the door and the jamb. You could break your fingers or sustain worse injuries in slamming your fingers between the jamb and door.

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