How To Hang A New Door In An Existing Frame

Have you ever found a door on the side of the road and tried to put it in your house, but it had different hinge placement?..Weird, us too! Here is how we fixed the door so that it would be the perfect fit for our laundry room. We didn’t have enough garage sale doors for the laundry room, so we initially had to go with a normal Home Depot door, but then this bad boy popped up on the side of the road:

Here is the step by step run-down on installing the new FREE door{did I mention it was free? Cause it was:):) }

Below is the home depot door we are replacing. It looks nice and matches our other doors but it is not real wood, and lacks a little character. So its time this door says bye, for now. We will end up using it somewhere else, or selling it- wouldn’t want it to go to waste!

  • Remove the current door by popping the pins out of the hinges. Do not unscrew the hinges from the door or the door frame! Easiest way to do this is by using a screwdriver and a hammer and tapping the pin out.
  • Measure the current door, then measure the new door. If they are not the same measurements cut the new door (from the bottom) to the desired height using a circular saw. You can lay the old door on top of the new door and trace the measurements. Do not cut the top of the door, only from the bottom. If the doors are not the same width you will need to trim the width by cutting the hinge side of the door (I am not sure if this is the correct construction way to do it, but it has worked for me in the past). Test the door by placing it in the door jamb to make sure it fits.
  • Now that the doors are the same size you need to notch out the the hinges for the new door. The door frame we are installing the door in uses 3 semi-oval hinges, while the door itself had 2 rectangular hinges, so we needed to make the door match the frame. First, measuring from the top of the door, measure the placement of the hinges on the old door (this is why we did not remove them). For us it was 8″, 38″, and 67 7/8″. Mark the top of each hinge on the new door.

  • Using the butt marker, available at Home Depot for around $4, it is time to chisel. BTW notice how i did not make a joke about the butt marker, I am so classy. First place the butt marker next to the mark for your hinge. Hit the butt marker a few times with your hammer (no pun intended ;)) until an indention is made. Remove the butt Marker to see your perfect semi-oval outline.


  • Next using a small chisel start chiseling out the section for the hinges. Tip: chisel away from the top of the hinge, this will prevent you from chiseling too much and going outside the lines and chipping the door {not that I did that a few times or anything. Side note: chiseling is not our strength}. Test the hinges as you chisel layers away until the hinge is flush with the door.

  • Screw the new hinges in using the screws provided. I left the new hinges assembled since it was difficult to remove the pin when they are not connected to the door. Be sure you are using the correct piece of the hinge {one piece of the hinge has 3 notches and the other has 2}. Our door frame has the 3 notches installed, so on our door we installed the hinge that has 2 notches.

  • Once the hinges have been installed remove the pin from the new hinges and fit the door into the door frame. If the hinges do not match up, take the door out and adjust {we had to adjust the bottom one down a little}. Once the hinges match up, insert the pins.

See where the old hinge was notched out on the door.
  • The door should now be installed. Test the swing and fit of the door to ensure that it properly opens and closes.
  • The next step is to install the strike plate {the female part in the door handle assembly which is attached to the door frame}. Jeremy says that the ‘female part’ is a normal construction term, I think its totally dirty!!Haha. We had to install 2 of these, since the laundry has a deadbolt for the lock, and we needed to move the door strike plate down because the latch was lower on the new door.
  • Measure the area that you will be installing the strike plate and chisel the layers of the frame out until the strike plate is flush.

Again no judging our chiseling skills.
  • Next mark the center of the area where the whole in the strike plate will be. Using a 7/8″ or 1″ flat wood drill bit, drill a circle out, this will accommodate an area for the latch {male part of the door handle assembly}.

  • Once the latch hole is drilled, screw the strike plate into place and test to make sure the door closes and opens properly. Adjust if needed. Also now would be the time to apply wood putty to any of the areas on either the door or jamb that need it. Because we had to move the strike plate and location of hinges we had to use a bit of putty. Once the putty is dry sand it so it is smooth.

  • Once its all in place, clean the door down GOOD with some soap and water. Especially if your door smells like pee, as ours did. Couldn’t decipher if it was human or animal pee…guess i’m losing my touch;)
The dogs tried to help decipher the source of pee, and couldn’t either! Dirty rags are from the dirty door!

So there you go a 12 {ish}- step plan to installing a new door in an existing door frame. Without further ado, here’s the bad boy, all clean and painted pretty. We also frosted the glass, and will be adding a decal as soon as it comes in the mail. Tutorial {here} on how to frost the door, and another tutorial {here} on how to apply a vinyl decal properly.


  1. says

    Your door turned out beautifully. Mine is metal though (exterior) and it is not fitting because I can’t recess the door-side hinges like you did. Any thoughts on how to make the door frame about 1/4 inch thinner on the latch side.

  2. says

    Thanks for adding that step about roughing down the area of where the door hinges goes. I would have tried to just screw it on without making it flush! Do you have any more guides of advice about installing door frames? Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *