How to Replace Exterior Door Trim

Lead Image
  • 2-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Nail gun
Finish nails
Center punch
Miter saw
Nail remover or claw hammer
New door trim

Learning how to replace exterior door trim is an important skill for any homeowner who wants maintain the appearance of their home. Over time, exterior door trim can start to show signs of wear and tear. The trim on exterior doors will be exposed to all sorts of weather conditions. This means that you will need to replace it occasionally to keep it looking in good condition.

Replacing the exterior door trim on your home isn't actually difficult. You don't have to be a carpenter to do it properly. With the right tools and materials available there's no reason why you can't replace the door trim yourself. New door trim can completely change the look of your house.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Trim

First you should use your ripping chisel to pry the old trim off the door, you will need to break the old trim rather than attempting to remove the individual nails. You can cover the door with a piece of plywood to protect it from damage during the removal process.

Step 2 - Remove Nails

dark blue front door

Any nails that did not come out with the trim can now be removed with a claw hammer or a nail remover. These should come out fairly easily but you need to ensure that you get every single one out.

Step 3 - Measure Up

Now you need to measure the length of the old trim to ensure that you know the dimensions you need to cut the new trim to. Use a miter saw to cut the ends of the new trim at a 45 degree angle.

Step 4 - Dry Fit the Trim

Once you have cut the new trim to size you then need to try it against the door to check that it fits properly. Make sure that you haven't made any mistakes and that the trim fits snugly against the door frame and against the other pieces of trim. If there are any gaps then you can slightly adjust the angles using a sander.

Step 5 - Mount the Trim

woman holding paint near open french doors

The exterior trim now needs to be nailed into place by using finish nails. You will find that this is easier if you're using a nail gun. However, you can also use a hammer to fix these nails in if a gun isn't available. If the trim is very thin then you might need to drill a small pilot hole through the wood to prevent it from spitting when the nail is driven through it. Then use a center punch to drive the head of the nail below the level of the wood.

Step 6 - Finishing Touches

Now you simply need to fill in all of the holes with a wood filler and use a sander to even everything out. The trim can then be painted or stained to match the color of the rest of your house and door.