Replacing your doors is an easy way to refresh any room
We know that replacing your internal door can sound like a complicated task. Our step-by-step guide with expert tips will help you get it installed in no time. Whether you’re looking to change all your internal doors, or you just have a few that could do with a refresh, our buying guide is a great place to start if you don’t know what style to choose.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to:
- Fit a new door into a new frame (we’ll also summarise how to fit a new door to an existing frame)
- Fit the door hinges
- Add a door handle and tubular latch
- Install a doorstop to the frame
- Complete the frame by cutting and fitting architrave
When using a wood chisel, ensure the timber is secure in a vice or work bench and always chisel away from your body, keeping hands behind the cutting edge
- Always wear the right protective safety equipment when necessary. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask when sawing, planing or sanding timber. Safety goggles should also be worn when drilling into timber
Wear ear plugs or ear defenders when using power tools
How to measure for a replacement door
If you have an existing door to replace, simply take the measurements. Make a note of the width, height and thickness of the existing door.
Check the range and choose a door that matches closest to your measurements, rounding up, not down. For example, if you measured 1978 mm (high) x 757 mm (wide) x 44 mm (thick), rounded up, the nearest standard door size would be 1981 mm x 762 mm x 44 mm.
If you have a frame with no door, measure the height and the width of the inside of the frame. The height is measured at two points (left and right) and the width is measured in three points (top, middle and bottom). Use the largest of both sizes to determine what size door is required, and again, round up to select the nearest standard door size required.
We want to make it easy for you to follow our instructions, and if you’re new to DIY, there are some words you might be unfamiliar with. Our short glossary below will help with any of the more specific terms:
Architrave: A type of molding which covers the join between the frame and the wall.
Door stop: The doorstop is fitted around the frame, it stops the door from being knocked from its hinges.
Flush door: A door with smooth surfaces, as opposed to panels.
Glazed door: A door which has panels made from glass.
Hinge barrel: The cylindrical part of the hinge which allows it to pivot.
Hingebound: When a door won’t easily open because the hinge recess is too deep.
Lintel: A rigid beam called set in the wall over the door to support the structure above the opening.
Mitered corner: A joint made by cutting the end of the 2 pieces of wood at a 45 degree angle, fitting together to made a 90 degree corner.
Molded door: A door with detailing, such as panels, built in.
Soffit casing: The protruding section which runs the top of the door frame.
Spindle: The length of metal rod which connects the 2 door handles on either side of the door.
Stiles: The vertical, or upright, sides of the door frame. The top and bottom are called rails.
Striker plate: The metal plate into which the tongue of the latch fits, this is secured to stile.
Tubular latch: A simple latch used where to lock is needed, these are easy to fit with minimal drilling and cutting.
How to fit a new door to an existing frame
As doors in many older houses aren't a standard size, you might need to trim a replacement door to fit, or even have one specially made. You shouldn't cut more than 10 mm off each side edge of a flush door (or 5 mm off a panel door) or you'll weaken the structure. Also, it's worth bearing in mind that the old door frame may not be straight. Buy new hinges the same size as the existing ones or reuse the old hinges if they're in a good condition.
Tools for the job:
Step 1 - Measuring the new door to size
If the old door was a good fit use it as a guide for the new one. Lay the old one on top of the new one and mark around it with pencil so you can see where to cut any excess of the new door. If you don't have the old door to use as a guide, use the frame to measure the fit of the new door. With a pencil, mark the top of the frame height on the door edge.
Testing the fit: before you test-fit your door, partially hammer four nails into the frame at the depth of the door to stop it falling through.
- Holding the door up when measuring against the frame: the door needs to have a gap beneath it - keep this in mind when measuring the fit. Simply insert two wedges or screwdrivers underneath to keep it in place.
Measuring the gap around the door: ideally there should be a 2 mm gap around the top and sides of the door. A flat penny is a good way to judge this measurement.
Step 2 - Cutting the door down to size
With the door securely held in place using a workbench, transfer this measurement to the bottom of the door and mark across. Using a saw and wearing goggles, cut the door to length.
Next, check the hinge side of the door fits neatly to the frame, then mark the door to the frame width.
Use a hand or powered plane to remove equal amounts from each side until you’ve reached the desired width. It should now fit in the frame. Keep checking the fit until its right. Smooth sharp edges with abrasive paper.
If you have to remove a large amount of excess wood from the height when cutting down the height of the door, cut from both the top and bottom of the door. Be sure to measure equal amounts, so you keep the symmetry of the panels. Keep checking the fit of the door and use a plane for finer cutting and smooth sharp edges with abrasive paper.
Step 3 - Measuring the hinge positions
Once your door is trimmed to size, it's time to measure where the hinges go. Hold the door up in the frame using the wedges and penny to make an equal gap around it. Mark the position of the existing hinge cut out at both the top and the bottom.
Step 4 - Fitting the hinges
Using these marks to position your hinges, draw around each one with a sharp pencil. Measure the thickness of the metal hinge plate and mark a line on the face of the door to that depth.
With a sharp 25 mm chisel and mallet cut around the pencil marks of the hinge recess. Then, holding the chisel at 45° make a series of stepped cuts approximately 5 mm apart ensuring each cut is made to the depth you’ve marked for the hinge plate.
When chiselling in the same direction as the grain, take care not to split the wood, making several cuts rather than just one main cut will help prevent this.
With the chisel flat side down, remove the wood from the new hinge recesses and position the hinges. Using the hinge as a guide, drill pilot holes for each screw in the hinge plate. Drilling pilot holes for screws helps to prevent the wood from splitting. Using a suitable screwdriver, fix the screws in place and fully tighten.
Fitting the hinges to the door: use one of the new or existing hinges to mark where the screws are going to go. Hold the hinge in the correct place and pencil where the centre of the screw holes are. Then simply drill a shallow hole using a drill piece that's slightly smaller than the screw diameter.
Fitting the hinges to the frame: if you're using new hinges that are a bigger size than the original, then you may need to enlarge the hinge recess in the frame. Simply hold the new hinge up to the frame, overlapping the recess, and draw around the hinge end where the excess needs removing. Remove the excess wood using a chisel and mallet.
Step 5 - Hanging the door on the frame
Position the door at 90° to the frame and position the wedges beneath the door. To begin with, only fix one screw into the bottom of each hinge. With the first screws in place, check the door opens and closes easily and fluidly, so it doesn’t stick or resist. If you’re happy, fix the rest of the screws in.
Now everything's in place, check again that you are happy with how easily the door opens. If the door isn’t hanging correctly and is rubbing around the edges, try loosening the screws a little, as the tightness will affect the door movement. If the door looks like it's spaced evenly in the frame, except in one area where it catches, you may need to remove the door again and plane or sand off a bit more wood to resolve the issue.
How to fit an internal door handle
Get to the grips with how to fit an internal door handle, including changing the latch.
New handles are a great way to update any door and are also a good way to show off your style. Do you prefer a sleek and chic modern handle or an authentic, vintage inspired doorknob? Whatever you decide, we can give you step-by-step instructions on how to get the look that’s right for you.
Tools for the job
Step 1: Fitting the latch
The latch plate is the piece of metal that slots into the door frame so is an integral part of how the handle works. With the door closed, make a note of where the centre of the existing latch-keep is on the face of the door. With a tape measure, transfer this mark to the edges of the door and mark the centre point.
Drill a hole in the door edge with the correct size flat wood bit, making sure the hole is the required depth for your chosen lock or latch. Remember, always wear safety goggles when drilling, sawing or chiselling.
Position the lock or latch into the drilled hole and draw around the perimeter of the faceplate. With a sharp 18mm chisel, start by making cuts around the pencil outlines you made earlier.
Remember, be careful when chiselling in the same direction as the grain. Gentle cuts will avoid the grain splitting. Chisel out the wood to the requirements for the lock or latch faceplate. Then measure the distance from the faceplate of the latch or lock to the centre of the spindle hole.
Transfer this measurement to the face of the door, central to the hole you’ve drilled for the latch barrel. Using this mark as the centre point, and with the correct size wood flat bit, drill a hole through the door.
Stop drilling just as the drill tip appears through the other side of the door. Using this small hole as a guide, swap sides and drill again. This helps to avoid splitting the wood and damaging the door.
Step 2: Fitting the handle
Now, place a handle onto the spindle.
Use one hand to hold the handle in place and with the other drill in the screws for the back plate. Specific instructions will come with the handle as an extra guide. Give the handle a quick test and repeat the process on the other side of the door for the other handle.
Insert the handle spindle according to specific instructions.
Don’t forget to check the door opens and closes properly and the latch locates correctly. If not, retrace your steps and repeat.
How to fit a doorstop
When you close a door, it should rest against a doorstop and fit snugly. If you're fitting a doorstop, remember to allow enough room for coats of paint if you're planning on painting the door or frame.
Measure and cut the doorstop for across the top of the door. Then shut the door, position the strip and partially knock in some 30 mm nails to hold it.
Open the door and finish knocking in the nails. They should be roughly 300 mm apart. Repeat the process for the strips at either side of the door.
How to fit the architrave for a door
If you’re longing for a bit of character in your home, replace your door frame with profiled mouldings. Explore our profiles and finishes of architrave and find our steps online to bring a beautiful finish to your room.
Tools for the job
Line your architrave up against the door and make sure that it doesn’t extend past the door frame, stopping just before the door frame starts and leaving enough space for the nails.
Measure the width of the mouldings and transfer this onto the wall using a spirit level as a ruler to join the marks on the sides and top of your door.
Starting with the sides, position a plank of architrave against the door frame. Measure the top of the frame and mark this on the architrave.
Position the architrave in either your mitre block or mitre saw, with the blade slightly above the mark you made earlier and use the 45° guide to make your cut.
Measure the architrave for the top of the door frame and cut a 45° angle to match the first length. Test fit the two pieces and if it doesn’t fit exactly around the door frame, use sandpaper to refine the edges until it fits.
Cut the architrave for the adjacent side, making sure the 45° cut is in the opposite direction to the first board. Place the mouldings in place, adjust if necessary and temporarily fix.
Once you’re happy each part sits neatly against one another, apply adhesive to the back of each architrave and place on the wall. Evenly space a few nails along the lengths and top of the architrave to secure in place.
Insert a couple of nails at the top of the architrave either side and through to the length to hold everything in place.
You don’t have to use a mitre box or mitre saw, instead use rosettes or plinth blocks to sit in the top and bottom corners of your frame making the process quicker and easier. Just cut the architraves shorter and fix everything in place following steps 6 and 7 above.