Hanging Doors

Fitting new internal doors can go along way towards giving the home a completely new look. A new door maybe fitted for purely cosmetic reasons, because the existing one is out of style with the room’s décor, or because the old one is warped or damaged. Whatever the reason, there is a huge selection of replacement doors available, made from hardwood or softwood in styles ranging from plain flush doors to highly ornate ones with solid or glazed panels. Glazed doors are ideal for admitting extra light to darkrooms or passageways, but national building regulations or local building code requirements must be followed in the choice of glass. Reinforced (safety) glass may be required if there is any danger of an accident.

When replacing a door, it is generally advisable to fit new hardware, hinges and latches especially. Door handles and knobs can be removed and replaced if they must match others in the room. In countries where wood frame construction is the norm, pre-hung doors complete with frame and architrave (trim) are widely available. These are very convenient, as to fit them is all that is necessary is to set the unit in the opening, using wood shims to get it plumb, and then nail it into position ready for the trim moldings to be attached. The door is even pre-bored to accept the new lock or latch.

  1. Remove the old door and use it as a guide to marking the hinge 1/MI11011S on the edge of the new door. Square the lines across it with a T-square.
  2. Set a marking gauge to match the width of the hinge, and scribe a line parallel to the door edge between those made in step 1.
  3. Use a chisel and mallet to cut into the door along the marked lines and then to chop a shallow recess to match the thickness of the hinge leaf.
  4. Hold the hinge in position in the recess, and mark the positions of all the screw holes on the door edge with a pencil or bradawl.
  5. Drill pilot holes into the door edge at each of the marks. Check that they are at right angles to the door edge. If not, the screws will be crooked.
  6. Screw the hinge to the door with marching screws. Drive them fully home and check that the screw heads sit square and flush in the countersinks.
  7. If reusing the hinge recesses, screw the door to the frame using screws one size up from the originals. If cutting new recesses, then prop the door in the opening and, with a pencil, mark the hinge positions. Remember to lift it a little clear of the floor to allow for easy opening and shutting
  8. Square lines across the frame at the marks, then measure the width of the hinge length and mark the width of the recess required on the frame.
  9. Cut along the marked lines with a sharp chisel, then carefully cut out the recess to the required depth. Take care not to let the chisel slip.
  10. Prop the door back in position and mark the hinges new positions. Drill pilot holes, then drive in the screws to secure the hinges to the door frame.


Doors are made in a range of standard sizes. If the old door is a standard size, buying the correct replacement is simple; but if it is not, a door in the next largest size will need to be sawn or planed down as required. Bear this in mind when deciding on the style of your door. Paneled doors can be reduced in size more easily (and by more) than flush ones. However, doors cannot be cut down excessively or they come apart: do not cut away the tendon joints in the corners, nor remove too much of the edge wood on a flush door.


If the door binds on the hinge side and will not close properly, the hinge recesses are too deep. Unscrew the hinges and insert cardboard pecking pieces.