Exterior door hanging: avoid problems later

Installing an exterior door correctly often requires time, experience, and large doses of patience. A door that's too tight can be extremely aggravating to open and close and may even become a safety hazard if it doesn't lock properly. An exterior door with perimeter gaps when shut invites moisture and drafts into your home and can allow your expensive conditioned air to exit.

There are many reasons why an exterior door may not function correctly, but taking the time to hang it right during the initial installation can usually ensure many years of smooth operation. This video demonstrates how a good contractor goes about installing an exterior door.

Door installation steps

Hanging an exterior door can sometimes go smoothly, but for every easy door installation there are many that can become a challenge. Fortunately, most experienced contractors have the knowledge and ability to overcome problems that may adversely affect your door's operation in the future. The contractor in the video is working with a steel service door, but the procedures demonstrated can be used for just about any type of exterior door you may be considering. A few of the important steps shown in the video:

  1. Hold the jamb in to be flush with the interior wall covering--in this case 5/8 inch sheetrock
  2. Get the top of the door adjusted correctly and work to the bottom
  3. Tack the door temporarily while adjusting margins
  4. Apply shims between the jamb and wall framing--especially at hinge and strike plate locations
  5. At least one screw at each hinge should be into a framing member--two is better
  6. Make final adjustments prior to installing interior trim

Construction adhesive or sealant should be applied under the threshold prior to setting the door in place for insurance against water intrusion. If heavy rains and flooding are a problem in your area, ask the contractor about using a sill pan under the threshold for additional moisture protection.

A skilled DIYer may be able to tackle this project, but if a correctly installed door is your goal, an experienced contractor may be your best bet.

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