How to Replace a Door Frame

Understanding how to replace a door frame can be a necessary talent if your door frame becomes damaged. Water, rowdy teenagers and attempted break-ins can all lead to doorframe damage. Luckily, replacing a door frame isn't difficult, but it will take a bit of physical effort.

How To Replace A Door Frame Fast

  • Making room. Before you can replace your door frame, you'll need to remove the old one. To begin, take the door off its hinges and place it aside. Remove the hinge leaves from the existing door frame and keep the hardware handy for later re-installation.
  • Exposing the frame. Next, you need to remove the casing (molding) from around the door. Use a utility knife to carefully cut through the caulking around the casing and then use a stiff putty knife to work the casing pieces loose. A small pry bar with a wood block for back will also work. Remove the vertical and horizontal casing from both sides of the door frame.
  • I don't mean to pry… Once the casing is removed, you should see a gap between the exposed door frame and the rough framing behind it. Use a pry bar to remove the old door frame. Remove any nails or debris left behind, leaving only the rough framing exposed.
  • Crossing the threshold. If the door has a threshold, you'll probably need to pry it up and replace it at the same time as the door frame. Use a wood block under the pry bar to protect the finished floor surface. Remove any debris left behind.
  • Isn't modern technology wonderful? There are many sizes and styles of prehung doors that make it easy to replace not only the door frame but the door as well. If you decide to replace your door frame with a pre-fabricated frame or a prehung door, carefully measure the size of the rough opening before you shop. Having this information will make sure you end up with a door frame that fits.
  • Stick built. If you decide to build your own door frame, use 5/8" wood stock of a width that matches the width of the wall that the door fits in. You'll need to cut and install to vertical jams and a horizontal header. Make sure all parts are level and plumb and match the size of your door, leaving 1/8" of clearance around the door. You may also need to add 1" wide stops along the center of the frame to keep the door from swinging both ways.
  • Button up. Once you've replaced the door frame, re-install the hinges and door and then replace the casing to cover the gaps and give the door a finished look.
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