How to Install an Exterior Door: 12 Steps(with Pictures)

If you have never tried installing an exterior door before, you need to give it a try as it is easy to install. However, exterior doors need to be installed with near perfection, or the results can be disastrousand could affect the door frame.

One of the most straightforward door installations is to mount an exterior door (outdoor). If the door is built in a new building or a replacement situation, many factors make this a simple job.

The main explanation for this is that these doors are pre-hung, meaning the door's already hanging in the door jamb. The hinges are bent and twisted into the door and jamb. With hinged pins, the door is held in the place. The door and jambs on top and bottom are set to perfection. The hole is also bored for the lock and the deadbolt if necessary. The exit doors are either made of wood, fiberglass, or steel. They typically come in two sizes, 32 “and 36.” with a standard height of 6'8 “. However, bigger ones may be custom ordered.

Exterior Door

The door installation is easy with two people. However, it can be installed alone. Place the door in the opening from the outside. If you work independently, tack the wall entrance through the brick molding, not driving the nails home. I like to use galvanized ring shank nails that are generally used with cedar siding. The smaller heads are not as apparent to the eye. The ring shank feature gives them excellent holding power.

To install an entry door, first, check to see if the rough opening is measured correctly. The width of the gap should be 2″ wider than the door itself (38″ for a 36″ entry, 34″ for a 32″  entry door). For a rough opening length, 83″ is perfect. Also, ensure you check to see if the framing and floor are reasonably plumb.

Installing an exterior door involves getting some essential tools. The tools needed to carry out the job includes:

  • Claw hammer
  • Hand Drilling machine
  • Flat pry bar
  • Level
  • Masonry bit
  • Splade bit
  • Utility knife
  • Ladder

Below are steps to install an exterior door.

Removing the Existing Door

Step 1: Get your tools in place

necessary tools for installing an exterior door

You need to ensure you have all the necessary tools in place before commencing work on installing an exterior door for your house.

Step 2: Remove an existing door and frame

Remove an existing door


Suppose there is an existing door in the doorway that needs a replacement; you will need some tools to remove the old door and install the new exterior door.

Use a claw hammer to remove the hinge pins and remove the old door from the doorway. You might need to use a screwdriver if the hinge pins are screws.

Step 3: Remove the door from the door jamb

Remove the door from the door jamb

Get the door remove from the door jamb using a utility knife, and break the seal. You will need a pry bar tool and hammer to remove the door molding. Pry away the door jamb,  the framing, and threshold.

Fixing the New Exterior Door

Step 4: Measure  the door gap

You need to measure the door entrance's exact width and length, considering the top, bottom, and side jambs. The wall thickness should also be considered to be able to get the door fitting for the gap. Measure carefully and add at least one-inch extra width and length to the pre-hung door frame dimensions.

Step 5: Fix in the  New entry Door

Set the door frame

Fix the door carefully in the door space. Try and add shims under the lower side jamb until the entire unit is plumb and level. Use a marker to Mark the door top and then remove the door.

Step 6: Use the level to mark plumb lines around the door space

Use the level to mark plumb

It's essential to use the leveler to keep the plumb lines on both sides of the opening. These lines will guide the molding of the new door. Remove out rightly any remaining pieces of panel or frame around the entrance to ensure a perfect job.

Step 7: Install additional framing for firm holding

You will need to use Pressure-treated lumber to frame out a very rough opening one with concrete as the jamb. You will have to take the side jamb measurements and cut the board to length to do this. After checking for plumb, install the board using cut nails designed for fastening to masonry. This board will act as extra framing for the new entry door for firm holding.

Related post,

Step 8: Hang the New Door

At this point, you can start to install the new door by first running a thick bead of latex caulk along with the seal. Lift the new pre-hung door into the middle of the rough door opening. Do this by positioning the bottom seal first, and after tilt the door to stay firm. Check for plumb and shim to ensure it's straight.

Step 9: Secure the door

Secure the door

Get the new door secured with either cement screws at each shim location or use casing nail for wood frames.

Step 10: Trim the  Shim

Trim the  Shim

You might have to trim shim to remove excess shims using a pry bar and utility knife.

Step 11: Carry out quality assurance by test running

Now that the door is fixed in place, you will need to test that the new entry door is firm and perfectly fixed. Test the operation and attach the anchor screw into the door frame, which comes with the pre-hung door.

Step 12: Protect the door by adding insulation

Before you start using operating the exterior door, seal the door, run a bead of paintable latex caulk around the entire door and frame.  Use wood filler to fill screw holes.

Now insert fiberglass insulation into the little gap between the door frame and the door opening.  Attach trim to the door with four penny finishing nails.

Once the caulk and wood filler has dried, you can apply paint to the door and wood trim to match your home's color. Finally, attach the door handle and deadbolt to the new door.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 2.5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.