How to Install a Hollow Door

Lead Image
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 125
What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Screws
Finishing nails
Hammer
Measuring tape
Plane
Sandpaper
Panel saw
Drill kit
Narrow and medium chisels
Door stop
Carpenters pencil
Wooden wedge or doorstop
Screwdriver set
Measuring tape

Hollow core doors are seen in modern homes everywhere due to their easy installation, low cost, and basic efficiency.

When installing a hollow door, there are a few steps you need to follow in order to be sure the end result is not only even, but stable and professional looking.

Step 1 - Find the Lock Block

A lock block is a solid piece of wood that is pre-built into hollow doors so that you have a solid section of wood to drill your lock into. This section will either be built-in on the side or will run from the top to the bottom of your door. There should be a marking on the top, bottom, or side indicating where the block is located. If located on the side, use a carpenter's pencil to mark off the lock block position on the face of the door just in case you cut off the factory markings when sizing the door.

Step 2 - Take Careful Measurements

Most hollow doors are installed in pre-existing frames. This requires careful measurement to ensure the door will open and close properly within the existing frame. First, measure the width of the open space in the frame where the door will be hung. Take three measurements and average them in order to be sure the measurements are exact. Plane the door to width, trimming an additional 1/16 inch from the sides and the top of the door to allow for clearance. For the bottom, the recommended clearance is approximately 1/4 inch, but if you have carpet flooring, you may want to adjust this to suit your flooring.

Step 3 - Sand Edges

belt sander covered in sawdust

Sand all trimmed edges smooth for a clean finish and smoother hanging process.

Step 4 - Place Door

Set wedges, or shims, around the door and frame for support as needed when you place the door into the frame. Check to see how it fits. If the clearance appears to be suitable, move on to Step 5. If not, trim the door as necessary.

Step 5 - Mark Hinges

From where you're standing in front of the door opening, the hinges can be placed on either side of the door, and you can also choose if it will be inswing or outswing. It's important to determine before installing the hinges how the door will operate. Wherever you decide to install the hinges, draw a line six inches from the top of the door and six inches from the bottom of the door to mark off their positions. Line up the hinge with each mark, and mark around the outline to accommodate each hinge.

Step 6 - Chisel Hinge Recesses

With a sharpened chisel, make a series of cuts around the hinge outline. Chisel out a shallow recess according to the depth of the hinge flap itself and scrape out the remaining wood. Test the fit, making sure the hinge lies flush with the door itself.

Step 7 - Drill Pilot Holes

Position the hinge flap into those recesses and mark the positions of the screws. Remove the hinge flaps and begin to drill pilot holes into the door in the positions that were marked.

Step 8 - Screw Hinges to Door

attaching hinge to a door

Place the hinges in their respective slots and screw them into the door. Secure wedges under the door and have someone hold the door against the frame in the open position, with the hinge flaps laying on the frame. Make sure the hinge knuckles are lined up with the frame correctly and mark the position of the hinge using a sharpened pencil for more accuracy.

Step 9 - Chisel Frame Recesses

With a sharpened chisel, carefully chisel out a shallow recess into the frame as you previously did with the door. Test the fit, making sure the hinges are positioned correctly and trim the door if necessary.

Step 10 - Screw Hinges to Frame

Reposition the door so the hinge flap lays neatly into the chiseled frame recesses and mark the screw positions. Drill the pilot holes into the frame and screw the hinges into the door. Make sure the door is level and plumb.

Step 11 - Build a Door Stop

A doorstop is a narrow strip of wood built into the frame that stops the door in its closed position. You can make them yourself with a table saw, or purchase them already-made from your hardware store, and cut them to the right lenght.

Step 12 - Measure the Frame

With the door closed, mark around the frame in the position you are installing your door stop. Measure the markings on the frame and cut three narrow strips of wood according to these measurements.

Step 13 - Screw in Door Stop

Tack the door stop on the latch side to of the door the frame using finishing nails, and adjust to the right position making sure the door opens and closes properly. You can then finish nailing the piece in and with the door closed, nail in the door stops on the other side and at the top.

Hollow core doors are seen in modern homes everywhere due to their easy installation, low cost, and basic efficiency.

When installing a hollow door, there are a few steps you need to follow in order to be sure the end result is not only even, but stable and professional looking.

Step 1 - Find the Lock Block

A lock block is a solid piece of wood that is pre-built into hollow doors so that you have a solid section of wood to drill your lock into. This section will either be built in on the side or will run from the top to the bottom of your door. There should be a marking on the top, bottom, or side indicating where the block is located. If located on the side, use a carpenter's pencil to mark off the lock block position on the face of the door just in case you cut off the factory markings when sizing the door.

Step 2 - Take Careful Measurements

Most hollow doors are installed in pre-existing steel frames. This requires careful measurement to ensure the door will open and close properly within the existing frame. First, measure the width of the open space in the frame where the door will be hung. Take three measurements and average them in order to be sure the measurements are exact. Plane the door to width, trimming an additional 1/16 inch from the sides and the top of the door to allow for clearance. For the bottom, the recommended clearance is approximately 1/4 inch, but if you have carpet flooring, you may want to adjust this to suit your flooring.

Step 3 - Sand Edges

Sand all trimmed edges smooth for a clean finish and smoother hanging process.

Step 4 - Place Door

Set wedges, or shims, around the door and frame for support as needed when you place the door into the frame. Check to see how it fits. If the clearance appears to be suitable, move on to Step 5. If not, trim the door as necessary.

Step 5 - Mark Hinges

Hinges placed on the right cause a door to open into a room, while hinges placed on the left cause a door to swing outwards. On whichever side you decide to use, draw a line six inches from the top of the door and six inches from the bottom of the door to mark off the hinge positions. Line up the hinge with each mark, and mark around the outline to accommodate each hinge.

Step 6 - Chisel Hinge Recesses

With a sharpened chisel, make a series of cuts around the hinge outline. Chisel out a shallow recess according to the depth of the hinge flap itself and scrape out remaining wood. Test the fit, making sure the hinge lies level with the door itself.

Step 7 - Drill Pilot Holes

Position hinge flap in chiseled out recesses and mark the positions of the screws. Remove the hinge flaps and begin to drill pilot holes into the door in the positions that were marked.

Step 8 - Screw Hinges to Door

Line up hinges and screw each hinge into the door. Secure wedges under door and have someone hold the door against the frame in the open position, with the hinge flaps laying on the frame. Make sure the hinge knuckles are lined up with the frame correctly and mark position of hinge using carpenter's pencil.

Step 9 - Chisel Frame Recesses

With a sharpened chisel, carefully chisel out a shallow recess into the frame as you previously did with the door. Test the fit, making sure the hinges are positioned correctly and trim door if necessary.

Step 10 - Screw Hinges to Frame

Reposition the door so the hinge flap lays neatly into the chiseled frame recesses and mark the screw positions. Drill the pilot holes into the frame and screw the hinges into the door.

Step 11 - Build a Door Stop

A door stop is a narrow strip of wood built into the frame that stops the door from swinging all the way through when opening or closing.

Step 12 - Measure the Frame

With the door closed, mark around the frame in the position you are installing your door stop. Measure the markings on the frame and cut three narrow strips of wood according to these measurements.

Step 13 - Screw In Door Stop

Secure the doorstop to the frame using at least three screws on each side. Test fit and make sure the door opens and closes properly.