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How to Replace an Interior Door

Upgrade your interior spaces by replacing hollow-core doors with sturdy, sound-reducing solid-core new interior doors. In this article we’ll show you how to replace an interior door.

replace an interior door
Replacing an interior door is easier than you think. Learn how to do it yourself with this quick step-by-step guide.

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Measure the Existing Door and Doorframe

measure existing door

Take precise measurements of the existing door and doorframe; then remove the hinge pins and lift the existing door out of the doorframe.

Mark and Trim the New Door

trim

If needed, mark and carefully trim the bottom of the new door to fit the existing doorframe. We used a table saw, but a circular saw will also do the job.

Use the Existing Door as a Guide

use the old door as a template

Place the existing door on top of the new door. Align the top edge of both doors, and use the existing door as a guide for marking the hinge placement on the new door.

Mark the Hinge Placement

mark hinge placement

Use a speed square to mark the top and bottom of each hinge on the new door.

Measure the Distance from the Edge

measure hinge distance from edge of door

On the old door, measure the distance from the edge of the door to the edge of each hinge. Use the same measurements for each hinge on the new door.

Trace the Hinges

trace hinges

Line up each hinge inside the marks on the new door and trace the outline.

Score the Mortises

score hinge mortises

Prop the new door on its side and use a sharp utility knife to score the mortise for each hinge. Keep a steady hand around any curved marks to make it easier to chisel out those areas.

Chisel Out the Hinge Mortises

chisel out hinge mortises

Use a steady hand to chisel out the mortises for each hinge. Continue scoring the mortises with a utility knife as you remove layers of wood.

Tap the Hinges in Place

tap hinges in mortises

Continue checking your progress as you chisel out the mortises. Use a block of wood to protect the hinges as you tap them in place.

Use a Door Lock Installation Jig

door lock installation jig

We used a door lock installation jig to bore holes in the slab for the latch and lever. The one shown in the photo screws onto the side of the door and includes two hole saws.

Bore Holes for the Latch and Lever

bore holes in new door

Use the existing door as a guide to measure the distance from the top of the door to the center of the latch. Then line up your door lock installation jig with that mark. Use the included hole saws to bore holes for the latch and lever.

Avoid Tearout

avoid tearout in new door

When you’ve cut about 3/4 of the way through the door for the lever, pull out the hole saw and cut the rest of the way through from the underside. This will help to avoid tearout, which could damage your new door.

Mortise the Latch Plate

mortise the latch plate

The jig we used included a handy template and cutting bit for mortising the latch plate. The bit removed some material while creating an outline for the mortise.

Chisel Out the Latch Plate Mortise

chisel out the latch plate mortise

Use a sharp chisel to remove the rest of the material for the latch plate mortise. When all of mortises are created, seal all of the bare wood with a coat of paint that matches the door.

Install the Latch and Lever

install the door latch and lever

Screw the latch and lever in place following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Screw on the Hinges

screw hinges to new door

Mark the center of each screw hole; then secure the hinges in place with screws. Use a self-centering hinge bit to ensure that the screws remain centered as you drive them. Then install the new door in the doorframe. Then repeat these steps for installing all of your new interior doors.