DIY Calendar: February - Fitting a Door

By February, life is returning to normal for most people, and the enthusiasm people felt for their new year's resolutions is often starting to fade.  However, if January went according to plan for you, then you should be in a good position to start tackling common DIY tasks.

Start Work Inside, in the Warm!

February is a good time to start working on interior DIY jobs.  Hopefully, your home should be fairly clutter free at the moment, so a good starting point is replacing your interior doors.

Choosing Doors that Suit Your Home

If you choose the right design for your interior doors it can really make a big difference to how your home looks.  Think about the over-all design of your home and choose a door that's either contemporary, period specific or perhaps a rustic cottage style.

Popular Doors Left to Right: Contemporary, Cottage, Period and Glazed Door Styles

You should try to pick a door colour that complements the rest of the room's decor, or contrasts with it in a striking manner.

For example, the bright red door shown below really stands out against the softer colours of the rest of the room:

In addition to thinking about colours and patterns, spare a thought for the material of the door too.

If your room does not get a lot of natural light, you may want to use a glass paned door to make the room feel brighter and more open.

However, if you will have a desk opposite the door, you'll probably want a solid oak door so that you don't have to worry about glare on your computer screen (or in your eyes) while you are working.

Fitting Doors - A Step By Step Guide

Tools Required:

  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Woodworking Plane
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Electric Drill

Fitting doors can be more challenging than you might think, especially if you live in an older home.  Doors come in a range of standardised sizes; if your interior doorways match the most common sizes you can just walk in to a shop, order a door, have it delivered, and hang it easily.

Measure Up

If your home was built before the current standard sizes became fashionable, then you may have difficulty sourcing the right size of door.  To find out what size you need, you should measure the height, width, and depth of the door.  Note the measurements in both inches and centimetres (to save you having to worry about unit conversion while you're in the store or visiting your favourite on-line retailer).

If you can't find doors that match your home's door frames brand new, you may want to try buying period doors from a place that specialises in reclaimed fixtures and fittings.

Hanging Your Door

Once you've bought a door, you need to figure out where the hinges go, and where the latch will sit.  This should be obvious on a solid door, but can be more difficult to figure out on a hollow core door.  Most door manufacturers will print some markings on hollow core doors to help you locate important areas, for example:

  • LB = Lock Block
  • T = Top
  • H = Hinge

The exact markings may differ for each manufacturer.

Before you begin to hang the door properly, try putting it into the door frame as-is.  This will highlight any problems with the fit.  If the door is too tall or too wide, you can plane it down to fit.  Work slowly and methodically - it's better to find you've removed too little and need to spend a bit more time planing than it is to chop too much off in your first attempt and end up with a door that's too short.

wooden plane Don't Plane Too Much

You should aim to have a 2mm gap between the door and the frame on the left and right hand sides, and a 6mm gap at the bottom of the door.   The 2mm gap is important to give the door freedom to rotate.

If you're replacing an old door, you probably already have a spot chiselled out for the hinges on the door frame. Carefully measure the position of the hinges, and mark out spots for them on the door. Drill a pilot hole and then secure one screw for the top hinge, and then one for the bottom, to ensure that the door still hangs correctly.  Once those two screws are done and if you're happy with the fit you can repeat the process for the rest of the screws.

For further information why not check out our “How-to-Guides”, we have specific instructions to fully guide you through the process of hanging a door using Butt Hinges or T-Hinges.

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