How to Install a Door Frame Replacement

  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-1,000
What You'll Need
Pre-assembled door frame
Finish nails
Tape measure
Carpenter square
Pry bar
Wood shims

A door frame replacement may seem to be an overwhelming challenge, especially if you've never experienced this kind of project. However, surprisingly, this project can be much easier than you may expect. It certainly will be less expensive than paying a professional to do it for you. All you need to replace a door frame are a few basic tools and materials and some good, reliable instructions, such as the ones you'll find below.

Step 1 – Selecting Your New Door Frame

    In selecting your door frame, you'll first need to know the frame size that will replace your existing door frame. Not all door frames are of a universal size. If you plan to determine the size of your frame by measuring the existing frame, measure outside dimensions of height, width, and the thickness from one outside wall surface to the opposite side wall surface (Outside dimensions are measured from one outside surface to the opposite outside surface). Take these dimensions and a measuring tape with you when you buy your frame.

    Step 2 – Removing Your Old Door Frame

    Unless you plan to reuse the old frame you're removing, you won't need to be careful about damaging it as you remove it. Your only concern should be to avoid damaging the opening wall studs you'll be attaching the frame to and any drywall that will be exposed when you attach your new door frame. The best way to remove your old frame will be to use a pry bar. If you want to re-use the old door, remove it from the frame before you begin tearing out the frame.

    Step 3 – Check the Door Opening for Level and Plumb

    Once your old door frame is removed, use a carpenter's level to determine if the surface of the wall studs in the door opening are plumb and square. If it is not, you'll need to insert shims to make it square and plumb. Also, measure to be sure the new frame will fit properly. You'll want your door opening width to be 2 inches greater than the frame width, and the opening height to be between 1 inch and 2 inches greater than the frame height.

    Step 4 – Installing Your New Door Frame

    Fit your new frame into the door opening and check to be sure it fits snugly. If necessary, adjust your shims to make it fit better. Shims should be 6 to 8 inches apart, with one near each door hinge. Before securing your new frame to the framing studs, check it again to be sure it is plumb, level, and that its corners are at accurate right angles. Finally, attach the door frame to the opening studs using a hammer and 8D finishing nails. When finished, attach your casings, using 4D finishing nails.

    Step 5 – Finishing

    Your last step will be to mark and cut hinge inserts into the new frame and fill nail holes with putty or wood filler. When the putty is dry, sand and paint the door frame and casings.