How to Hang a Door on Metal Framework

closeup of a teal door with doorknob
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Framing hammer
Hand plane / power plane
Measuring tape
Wood chisel
Power drill with Phillips bit

The ability to hang a door will prove useful when doors become weathered, damaged or decayed and need to be replaced.

Types of Frames

There are innumerable types and styles of wood door frames, but metal frames generally come in 2 standard types: hollow metal frames and pre-finished steel door frames. Hollow metal frames are made from 14 through 18 gauge steel. The frame can be either assembled by the distributor and installed during wall construction without the door, or assembled and installed at the job site.

Pre-finished steel frames are made from 20 gauge steel, come in either standard or adjustable profiles, and are assembled at the job site.


When hanging a new door, the door itself can be used like a square frame template to ensure that the door frame is plumb, square and not twisted. When installing a new frame, decide if you want a right- or left-handed door swing and if you want the door to swing in or out. Position the hinge side and the door stop accordingly.

A rough opening that isn’t plumb, square and within the plane of the wall will cause the frame to be out of square and the door to bind. If the rough opening is square, the existing frame can most likely remain intact. Otherwise, you will need to do some additional rough carpentry.

Step 1 - Check that the Door Fits Squarely in the Frame

First, check the fit of the door in the frame along the sides and the top. Mark with a pencil on the door along the edges that need to be planed. Cutting or planing against the grain can easily cause chipping particularly near the corners at the end of the cut. If the trimming is minimal, you can avoid this by using a belt sander. Whether using a hand plane, power plane or circular saw, be sure all cutting edges are very sharp.

Step 2 - Scribe the Location of the Hinges onto the Door

Measure the hinge locations in the jamb and mark these dimensions onto the hinge side of the door. On the jamb, measure the distance from the door stop to the hinge and mark this distance on the stop side of the door’s edge at the hinges. Place all 3 hinges in position and accurately trace each one onto the door edge.

Step 3 - Disassemble the Hinges and Install Each Plate

Chisel out each mortise down to a maximum depth of 1/8-inch. Disassemble each hinge by removing the pin. Separate the wing plates. With the appropriate screws (metal or wood), install the door component onto the door and the frame component onto the frame.

Step 4 - Install the Door

Stand the door upright and move it into the frame. It can easily be maneuvered into place by stepping on the end of a crowbar placed face-up under the door. Align the hinges and replace the pins starting from the top. Tap the hinge lightly with a hammer until the pin is fully inserted. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing any hardware such as lock sets and deadbolts.