How to Frame a Door

Lead Image
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-600
What You'll Need
2x3-inch lumber
Door jamb
Butt gauge
Marking gauge
Rubber or plastic hammer
Marking pencil
Wood chisel
2x4-inch lumber
.25-inch paneling
Metal lumber connectors
Hand saw
Expansive bit
Hinges (3 per door)
Sharp knife
Brace and bit
Cylinder-type drill bit
Power saw

This article provides information that will help you save time, money, and effort not only when framing doors and hanging doors, but also mortising the doors and adding a cylinder style lock.

Framing a Door

Door frames are an easy project for those who are equipped with the proper knowledge. First you must plan the location of each entrance, then you must follow a few basic steps to build the doors.

Use the lumber to construct the shoe, the studs and the plate. Leave an extra inch of space above to allow the door to open and close freely. To finish the door frame, cut the lumber to fit the width of the door frame. After that, you will build the crippler studs to fit the distance from the header plate to the ceiling plate. Alternatively, you can cut the lumber to fit the entire space of the opening and space the pieces before nailing them all together.

Once you have constructed the door jamb, put it in place. Many door jambs come pre-fabricated, in which case you will follow the manufacturer's instructions to complete its installment. You may need to use filler strips. Complete the look by adding the top layers such as drywall, paneling, and finish framing.

Hanging Your Doors

Determine where to install the hinges based on whether you have a right-hand door or a left-hand door. Install the door handle on the outside panel. You'll need a butt gauge to get the best result when you hang the door. Put the butt perpendicular to the jamb and mark it's position.

View the illustration for help with hinges. Generally speaking, you should have the hinge's setback rest at .25-inches. The butt gauge will include an extension piece that indicates the offset. Refer to the illustration for information on hinge sizes for various doors.

Below is a table for determining the size and type of hinge to use on doors of different types. Generally speaking, the heavier the door the stronger the hinge must be, and a door with a height greater than 5-inches must be installed with 3 hinges.

Mortising the Door for Hinges

Once you have marked a spot for the hinge using you butt gauge to find the setback, score the area with a chisel and make a series of .25-inch cuts along the marked-off section. Refer to the illustration to see general instructions on adding your hinges.

Drill holes for the screws and install the hinge leaf before putting the door in place and tapping the pegs through the hinges with the rubber hammer. Test the door and make any necessary adjustments.

Installing Cylinder Locks

Because each lock comes with its own set of instructions, you should always refer to the manufacturer's directions. The consistencies between most systems is that they are installed 38-inches from the floor and have a 2 and 1/8-inch diameter.

Information in this article has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors.