When you don’t know how to replace a door, you have a few options:
- Leave the old one and pray a wolf doesn’t huff and puff and blow it down
- Buy a new one and pay someone else to install it
- Learn to DIY a new door yourself and hope it doesn’t fall out
- Call a friend who knows what the heck they’re doing and watch and learn.
So…. I chose option 4.
And this is how I replaced my exterior door! (Click here to read how I painted and stenciled it)
How to Replace and Paint Your Exterior Door
Don’t try this at home if you truly don’t know what you’re doing. Reading this post will give you some guidance so you’re not totally lost, but call in a friend to help so that you can learn, hands-on!
Here’s my friend, Edmundo, that came to help! Thank God for him!
Go Get These Things
- Prehung steel door (I got this one from Home Depot)
- Deadbolt and lock set
- Tape measure
- Finish nailer for door trim
- Crow bar
- Hammer & screwdriver
- Power drill
- Door & Window silicone caulking
- Great Stuff & Window spray foam insulation
- Replacement door trim (optional, if needed)
- Wood filler
- Exterior paint (I used Behr Exterior in the color Quiet Teal)
- Paint brush
- Painter’s tape
STEP 1: Measure, measure, measure
Before you can replace a door, you have to know what size door to get. Thankfully, if you’ve got a standard door like me, there are a few standard sizes, so it’s nearly impossible to screw this up. See the chart below. Most standard doors come 80″ tall and either 30, 32, 34, or 36 inches wide. Mine was 32 inches wide.
Does It Swing LEFT or Swing RIGHT??
Yep….every door has either an inswing or an outswing. The swing of the door tells you whether it swings in or swings out. Look at the pic of my door above. It’s a right-hand inswing door.
This guide on the Home Depot website helps you figure it out easily.
STEP 2: Remove Storm Doors
Before you can replace your door, you have to remove any fixtures. Our house had an old storm door that needed to come out first. Thankfully, it was pretty easy to remove. I had no idea that I should remove the door from the bottom up, though. Edmundo shared this bit of info with me! Thanks, Edmundo!
STEP 3: Remove the Exterior Door
With a hammer and screwdriver, tap out the two bolt that is holding the door on the hinge. Just make sure you’ve got two people lifting that door! It’s super heavy!
I ended up giving the door to a friend, but you can easily repurpose it for other DIY projects, or donate it to a salvage shop or maybe even a thrift store.
STEP 4: Remove the Door Trim
The old door trim has got to come out. Use a crowbar to do it, and be careful so that you don’t damage the trim. You can reuse this, whether on that new door or in another project. Trim usually costs about $1.00 – $1.50 per foot. To trim an average size door, expect to pay about $20 if you need to buy new trim. So save your old trim if you can!
STEP 5: Clean Up the Threshold
This was the dirty part, which you can’t see from this picture. When we removed the old door, the threshold a piece of rotting wood which we had to remove. We left the subfloor in place. Edmundo had to trim some of the bricks with a grinder in order to get the new door to fit properly. That was a messy job!
Once the brick was trim, he was able to remove the small pieces and make it nice and even!
STEP 6: Test Fit the Door
Test fit, test fit, test fit! You won’t believe it, but Edmundo and I test fit this door seven times, guys. Seven. We didn’t realize some of the packaging was still left on the side of the door, which caused the door to not fit right. HAHA.
Your door should fit in smoothly. No pushing and prodding and tugging (or kicking! LOL) should be necessary.
Make adjustments where needed (for example, if you need to nail down pressure-treated wood to the threshold to raise the door to sit flush with the entry. We didn’t need this).
We did have to sand out a few areas of brick to help the door slide in nicely. We also had to trim a little bit from the top with a circular saw, too.
STEP 7: Caulk the Threshold
After you’ve test-fitted the door and you’re confident it’s a good fit (make sure!!), now you can caulk the threshold with silicone caulk made for windows and doors. This is so no water gets inside.
STEP 8: Put In the Door
Once you’ve got a good fit and the caulking on the threshold is in place, just set that baby in there (two people required, of course).
STEP 9: Add Shims and Screws
STEP 10: Seal the Gaps and Caulk
This step is controversial because I’ve been told that you shouldn’t use spray foam on a door because when it continues to expand, it can throw off the level of your door. I’ve been told instead that you should use insulation instead.
But everything I had read online said spray foam was okay, as long as you use the one specifically for Windows & Door. So that’s what I used. 🙂
Follow up with caulking around the outside perimeter with silicone caulking.
STEP 11: Add the New Lock Sets…Then You’re Done Installing!
I love how it turned out!
We still need to buy a storm door!
Here’s what it looks like painted!
I’ll save you any more scrolling….so if you want to read how I painted and stenciled my exterior door, just click here:
Next up….Click here to read: How to Paint and Stencil Your Door!
Now that the door is installed, you’re ready to paint and stencil your door!
Click here to see how to do it!