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How to hang internal doors

Difficulty rating: Medium

These tasks may be tricky so will suit you if you're experienced in DIY, or simply love a challenge.

Before you get started on any of our 'how to' guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.

1. Removing the old door

  • Unscrew your old door. Take out the screws from the bottom hinge before the top hinge. If hinges or screws have been painted over, simply chip away the paint with an old screwdriver.
  • Make sure the door is well supported when you take the last screw out.
 

2. Cutting the new door to size

  • Hold the new door in the door frame to see if it needs adjustment.
  • If the old door was a good fit, use it as a template by laying it on top of the new door and marking where to plane or cut. Take an equal amount of wood from both the top and the bottom of the door to keep it in balance.
  • Use a panel saw if you need to take more than 6mm off the height of the new door. Then sand it smooth (fig. 1). If you're trimming off less than 6mm, a hand or power plane is fine.
  • Ideally, there should be a 2mm gap on either side and at the top, between the door and the frame, when the door is in place - a two pence piece is a handy way to gauge this (fig. 2).
  • Allow 5mm-10mm at the bottom of the door if you have a thick carpet.


Helpful hint...

If you're sawing or planing wood, wear safety goggles and use a dust mask.

 
Plane the door to make it fit (use a hand or electric plane). If you need to take off more than 6mm use a panel saw.
Figure 1
There should be a 2mm gap on both sides and also the top of the door - a two pence piece is a good gauge for this
Figure 2
Prop the door in the frame, then mark the top and bottom of each hinge on the face of the door.
Figure 3

 3. Fixing the hinges on the door frame

  • Check your new hinges fit against the old ones on the frame. If they don't, rest them on the bottom of the existing hinge recess on the frame and mark along the top of the new hinge. Cut out the excess wood with a chisel and mallet. Check the new hinge sits comfortably and flush to the door frame.
  • Screw each hinge to the door frame with a single screw and open the hinges. The hinge pivots (edges) should stick out from the frame edge.
  • Prop the door in the door frame, resting it on wedges so there's the correct gap at the bottom. With a pencil, mark where the top and the bottom of the hinges sit on the door (fig. 3).
 

4. Fixing the hinges on the door

  • Unscrew the hinges from the door frame and lay them on the edge of the door, making sure they're lined up with your pencil marks (fig.4). Draw around the hinge flaps. Use a straight edge to mark the width of the hinge onto the door.
  • With a chisel and mallet, tap around the outline of the hinge shapes. Make sure the 'bevel' (sloped edge) of the chisel is facing towards the waste wood (fig. 5). Make a series of cuts across the wood at 5mm intervals to the same depth as the flap.
  • Check the hinges fit flush and fix with one screw per hinge. For this, use a screw or a bradawl a bit smaller than the screw to make a starter hole (fig. 6).


Helpful hint...

When you place the new door in the door frame, fix the hinges both top and bottom with just one screw. You can then check the new door opens and closes properly and make any adjustments before securing the other screws.

 
Lay the hinges on the edge of the door, lined up with your pencil marks.
Figure 4
Use a chisel and tap around the outline of the hinge shapes.
Figure 5
Use a screw or a bradawl to make a starter hole.
Figure 6

5. Hanging your new door

  • With the door supported on wedges and at right angles to the frame, fix the hinge flaps to the door frame. Use only one screw so you can make adjustments (fig. 7).
  • Check the door opens and closes easily. If it does, you're ready to fix the rest of the screws (fig. 8).
 
With the door supported on wedges, fix the hinge flaps to the door frame, using just one screw so you can make adjustments.
Figure 7
Check the door opens and closes easily. If it does, you're ready to fix the rest of the screws
Figure 8

6. Painting your door

  • When painting always follow the wood grain for a smooth and even finish.
  • First, put knotting solution on any wood knots to prevent resin seeping through the new paint.
  • Then dust down the door and wipe the surface with a cloth.
  • Wedge the door open and apply a primer and undercoat.
  • Once dry, paint the door following the paint manufacturer's instructions.
 

7. Fitting the door handle

Drilling a hole for the latch

  • First, fit the latch (fig. 9). The latch is usually set into the middle of the side of the door about 1m from the bottom of the door to the bottom of the latch plate. Mark this on the edge of the door.
  • Hold the latch in place in the centre of the edge of the door. Draw around it with a pencil to mark its position on the door.
  • Choose a flat wood cutting drill bit that's slightly bigger than your latch so there's enough room to fit the latch in the hole.
  • To measure the depth of the latch hole, hold the latch against the drill bit. Use masking tape to mark the depth of the latch on the bit.
  • Wedge the door open and drill the hole into the side of the door to this depth. Use a chisel to scrape out any debris.

Fixing the latch

  • Insert the latch. Make sure it's level and mark around its position.
  • With a chisel, make a series of cuts on the edges of your pencil outline. Then chisel out the rest of the recess.
  • Check the fit to see if the latch plate lies flush with the door.

Making a hole for the spindle

  • Hold the latch in position but on the outside of the door. Put your pencil through the hole in the latch and make a mark. This is where the handle spindle will go. Mark this on both sides of the door.
  • Choose a drill bit 2mm wider than the spindle and start drilling. When the drill bit begins to emerge through the other side of the door, start drilling from that side to stop the wood splitting.
  • When you've finished drilling, remove any debris from the hole.
  • Slide the latch back into the door. Place the spindle into its hole and then screw the latch into place.

Attaching the door handle

  • Place a handle onto the spindle. Use one hand to hold the handle in place. With the other, drill in the screws for the back plate.
  • Give the handle a quick test. Repeat the process on the other side of the door for the other handle.

Fixing the latch plate on the door frame

  • The latch plate is the piece of metal that slots into the door frame.
  • Close the door so the latch touches the frame. Mark its position on the door frame. This gives you the height of the latch plate.
  • To find the horizontal position of the latch plate, measure the distance between the edge of the latch and the edge of the door. Transfer this measurement to the door frame and mark with a pencil at the height you marked. Draw in and around the latch plate.
  • Following your marks, chisel out the recess for the latch plate so it fits flush with the door frame. Screw the latch plate onto the frame.
Watch how to hang a door

Hanging a door may seem daunting but by following this simple film you will see how easy it can be.

​Top tip

  • When planing wood from the top and bottom of your door, work inwards from the outer edges to avoid splitting the edge of the wood.

Tools for the job


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