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Install a pre-hung exterior entry door

Exterior doors are an integral part of a home’s facade. Follow our professional tips to help you successfully hang an exterior entry door yourself, in just a few hours and with the aid of a helper. A new exterior entry door will enhance the look and improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Taking measurements

The standard depth of door frames in Quebec is 7 ¼", whereas in other provinces it is 4 9/16”.
Check the door swing: either right-hand or left-hand.

Measure the door opening

  • New construction:
  • 1.1 - Measure the opening between the studs at three different places for width, height and depth.
  • 1.2 - Keep the smallest measurement for each.
  • Renovation:
  • 1.1 - Remove the mouldings to expose the door jambs.
  • 1.2 - Take three measurements for interior width and three measurements for interior height.
  • 1.3 - Take three measurements for the depth and keep the smallest of the three.
    Brick exterior cladding: measure the width of the jamb from drywall to brick.
    Vinyl siding: measure from drywall to mid-moulding of exterior cladding.

Prepare and waterproof the opening

  • 2.1 - Remove the old door, as well as the interior and exterior moulding, the old frame and the metal threshold.
  • 2.2 - Clean the opening to remove all residue, insulation and other material.
  • 2.3 - Ensure that all parts of the frame are in good condition. Remove all debris. Repair or replace any wood that shows signs of rot or damage.
  • 2.4 - Apply self-adhesive flexible waterproof flashing to the sill and 6" up each jamb. The membrane must cover the building paper on the exterior wall below the sill, and fold over ½" onto the inside portion.
  • 2.5 - Cut the corners of the flashing to fold it. Cover the entire sill.
  • 2.6 - Place the door frame in the opening to make sure it fits.
  • 2.7 - Check the adjustment in relation to the exterior cladding.
  • 2.8 - Remove the door.

Position and fasten the door

  • 3.1 - Run a bead of caulking across the sill and around the entire opening. If the door model has brick moulding, apply caulking to that too. From the outside, centre the bottom of the door frame on the sill and lean the door into the opening.
  • 3.2 - Apply pressure to the perimeter.
  • 3.3 - Adjust the threshold and insert shims if necessary.
  • 3.4 - From the inside, insert wood shims to stabilize the door.
  • 3.5 - Insert shims between the wall stud and jamb at the level of the lock and the hinges. Leave a gap of 1/8" between the jamb and the door. The shims must be at the same height on either side.
  • 3.6 - Continually check that the door is level and square. Insert enough shims to support the casing, but do not force them.
  • 3.7 - Replace one of the screws in each hinge with a 3” anchor screw, and fasten through the shims and into the door frame studs.
  • 3.8 - From the inside, level the jambs on both sides, and measure the two diagonals of the door frame. They should be identical, with a maximum allowable deviation of 1/8".
  • 3.9 - Level the casing both horizontally and vertically (plumb). The maximum allowable deviation is 1/16". Adjust where necessary.
  • 3.10 - Make sure the door opens and closes properly, and that it rests correctly against the sides as well as on the sill.

Fasten the door to the frame

  • 4.1 - Replace two of the four screws from each hinge with the long screws (generally supplied by the manufacturer). Screw through the shims and into the door frame studs.
  • 4.2 - Lift the weatherstripping and screw in in the side jamb on the hinge side through the shims and into the door frame studs.
  • 4.3 - Lift the weatherstripping and screw in the side jamb on the handle side, keeping an equal distance between the door and header.
  • 4.4 - Screw the frame to the wall studs according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • 4.5 - Make sure the door opens and closes properly before fully fastening all the screws.
  • 4.6 - Nail the exterior moulding to the studs.

Insulate and finish the door from the inside

  • 5.1 - Cut off the shims protruding beyond the level of the wall.
  • 5.2 - Insert fibreglass insulation all around the frame without compressing it too much.
  • 5.3 - Fill the space with continuous layers of insulation rather than small pieces of insulation inserted separately.
  • 5.4 - If shims were inserted under the sill, caulk the spaces between them.
  • 5.5 - Install the interior trim, casing and threshold.

Pro Tip

You can use polyurethane foam to insulate doors and windows, but this requires some experience, as applying too much product can exert pressure on the frame and possibly deform it.

Caulk the exterior frame and do finishing work

  • 6.1 - If needed, fit a neoprene backer rod between the jamb and the door frame.
  • 6.2 - Apply silicone caulking around the perimeter of the outside frame.
  • 6.3 - Install the handle, lock and inside frame.

Suggested products

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