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Install Interior Door Frame

Install Interior Door Frame Install Interior Door Frame

Nail the wood together. Lay one of the longer pieces of wood on its side and add a bit of wood glue to the end. Attach the shorter piece to one end of the longer piece. Get your nail gun and hold it square on the outside of the area where the wood meets.

Add the nails to secure the pieces together. Align the other piece of wood on the opposite side and attach it the same way.

Mount the casing of the door onto the wall framing. Use finish nails, and nail through the casing and shims and into the framing of the wall itself. Do not attempt to nail into an area where there are no shims, because there will be an open gap between the door casing and the framing of the door frame itself. You can fill in any open gaps with wood shims and nail the casing in place accordingly. Use an air compressor and finish nailer or a hammer and regular finish nails.

In this Article:Article SummaryCutting the Jamb PiecesCreating and Installing the JambInstalling Door StopsCommunity Q&A14 References

  • Paint or Stain
  • Interior Door
  • Door Hinges
  • Wood Shims
  • Lockset / Door Knob

Move the casing into place for a rough-fitting and final adjustments. Once your shims are all in place, you can fit the casing into place. Because you have done all your shimming and adjustments prior to actually moving the casing into place, this part of the installation should be relatively simple, since the box will slide into place on top of the existing shims and be roughly level and plumb. However, you still need to make small adjustments after the casing is moved into place, all of which can be done with wooden shims to jimmy the door in the direction you need to make it plumb and level.

Anderson, Tim. “How to Install a Door Frame & Door.” Home Guides | SF Gate, Accessed 17 February 2019.

Set the door in the hinges. Use wood shims on the floor to elevate the door if necessary.

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Anderson, Tim. “How to Install a Door Frame & Door” accessed February 17, 2019.

  • Shave Down a Door
  • Shim a Door Using Wooden Wedges
  • Install Interior Door Casing
  • Change a Regular Door Into a French Door
  • Frame Door Openings
  • Replace a New Door in an Old Frame

Remove the old lockset and hinge pins, and take out the door. Remove the hinge plates from the door as well.

On the jamb, install the new hinge plates. Check the fit of a plate by holding it in a mortise. It should be flush with the casing.

Nail the hinge side of the jamb to the frame. Get your nail gun again. Make sure the jamb is even against the wall and frame. Begin securing it with nails from top to bottom. Be sure to put a nail through each shim to hold them in place.[6]

You can use a flathead screwdriver and a hammer to tap up the hinge pins for removal.

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Hold the jamb up to the door frame. Carefully move your newly-cut wood up into the frame. Since you measured, it should fit in there well. Align the left side against the wall and see if it appears level. Double-check this with a level.

Plumb the sides of the door frame with shims. Once you know whether you need to shim up the base of the door frame due to an unlevel floor, you can use a plumb line to help you shim the sides of the frame. Hang the plumb line from the top of the frame on either side of the door, and measure out with your tape measure from the framing to the wall to know which sides are out of plumb and where to place your shims. This will roughly plumb the framing to prep for the casing frame. Use the measurements of the casing to know how much you need to adjust if the door framing is out of plumb.

If a mortise isn’t deep enough, remove some wood with a chisel. Remember to keep the beveled side of the chisel against the wood to remove small amounts of material. If a mortise is too deep, use cardboard as a shim behind the hinge plate (as pictured to the right). Once you have a good fit, attach the hinge plates with screws.

With the new door on sawhorses, set the old door on top — keeping the tops and hinge sides flush — and clamp in place. Mark any excess on the new door. You’ll trim it off later.

This article was co-authored by Mark Spelman. Mark Spelman is a General Contractor in Texas. He has been a construction professional since 1987.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

If you have trouble getting the hinges to line up, loosen all the screws. The excess play will help the hinges slide together. Insert the pins and retighten the screws.

Cut your stopper wood down to size. Use a saw to trim the wood to the required length. You’ll have a shorter piece for the top of the door and two longer pieces for the sides.[13]

From these reference marks on the new door, measure 9-7/8 inches toward the bottom and make a straight line across the door. This line shows you where to cut for a 1/8-inch clearance at the bottom of the door,

Use a combination square to mark the locations of the hinge mortises on the new door.

Use a chisel and hammer to outline the edges of each mortise and make relief cuts across the area. Don’t go deeper than the mark you made in Step 4 above.

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If your doorframe is damaged, you need a pre-hung door, which includes the frame and door. If your frame is in good shape, a slab, also called a blank door (image to the right), is fine. Whichever type you use, there are a variety of styles available to match your home decor.

Cut the wood. Suit up with safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and a visor, before turning on your circular saw. Thin the pieces of wood so they fit within the frame. Follow up by cutting their length according to the measurements you took earlier.


If you plan to paint the door, it’s a good idea to do it now.

  • Utility knife
  • Level
  • Wood or jamb kit
  • Wood shims
  • Nail gun
  • Circular saw

Doors are more complex and deserve more care than you might think. A good door has to be leveled according to the flooring and ground slope. This is where your jamb comes into play. To install the jamb the right way, nail measured pieces of wood together to form the jamb’s frame. Level it out against the door frame by placing shims behind it. Add door stops to the inside of the jamb to keep the door from swinging through it.

Drill the edge-bore hole for the latch with a 1-inch hole saw.

Door frames and doors come as pre-packaged kits which are installed together.

Door hinges may be rounded or square. If your hinges are rounded, you can use a router with a hinge template to cut mortises. If your hinges are square, you can cut the mortises with a chisel, using the steps below.

Transfer the 10-inch reference marks you made above from the old door to the new one. Set the old door aside.

Measure the stopper’s length on the door jamb. Start with the top part. Measure all the way across the jamb so that the stopper will go all the way across the jamb. Now measure the amount of wood needed from top to bottom of both the left and right sides of the jamb.


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Installing a door and door frame is something that, while not overly complicated, is time-consuming and can provide frustration if the house wasn’t built square, plumb and level. Door-and-frame combinations can be found in any home improvement store; they come in many different sizes and types of wood and follow the same basic installation instructions, regardless of which type you purchase.

Use the square to transfer the distance of the mortises from the door edge.

Cut any excess from the sides and bottom of the new door with a saw or planer. Check the door manufacturer’s instructions for cutting recommendations.

When cutting, remember the strike side of the door may be beveled — don’t cut the beveled edge.

Nail the stopper to the door frame. Get your nail gun one more time. Start with the top side. Keep the stopper pieces even and centered in the jamb. Nail the shorter piece to the frame. Nail the other pieces to the sides.

When you’re done, the closed door should rest inside the jamb.[14]

A door lock installation kit or drill guide (pictured above) simplifies lockset installation.

  • Circular saw
  • Nail gun
  • Wood or jamb kit
  • Utility knife
  • Wood shims
  • Level

Check the framing for plumb before you install the door. The most important aspect of installing a door and frame isn’t the actual installation, but checking everything beforehand so you know what issues you are going to run into. Inspecting the frame and the floor to check for level and plumb lets you know whether you need shims and where. Without doing the pre-check you are walking in blind and may double or triple your installation time.

Drill the lockset holes according to the hardware instructions. Cut only halfway through one side of the door. Flip the door over and finish the holes from the other side. This technique helps prevents splintering.

Test the door by working it back and forth. You should have about 1/8 inch clearance at the header and strike sides, and 1/16 inch clearance along the hinge side. Remove the door to make any adjustments.

Purchase hinges that are the same size as your existing hinges.

Insert the hinge pins. You can use a hammer to tap the hinge pins flush if necessary.

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Español: instalar una jamba, Français: installer un montant de porte

At each mortise, hold the hinge in place. Drill pilot holes and attach the hinge with screws.

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To install a door jamb, start by measuring the door frame and cutting the wood to size. Next, add glue to the end of 1 of your longer pieces of wood and attach a shorter piece to it. Then, use a nail gun to secure the 2 pieces together before attaching the other side of the jamb in the same way. Once you’ve completed the jamb, lift it up into the door frame to make sure it fits. If there are any gaps, slide shims, which are thin pieces of wood, between the jamb and the frame. Finally, nail the jamb in place and cut the shims to size with a utility knife. To learn how to install door stops, read on!

Hold the door against the jamb to check for clearance. You can hold the jamb in place by lightly hammering in a few nails. Place the door inside the jamb. The door needs to fit comfortably inside the jamb.

Look for the gap between the door and jamb to be one-eighth of an inch (.32 cm) on all sides. Add or remove shimming so the door fits. When you’re sure the measurements are correct, remove the door.


  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Screwdriver
  • Combination Square
  • Work Gloves
  • Drill / Driver and Bits
  • Safety Glasses
  • Wood Chisel
  • Sawhorses
  • Hole Saws
  • Utility Knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Speed Square
  • Hinge Template (If installing rounded hinges)
  • Planer (Optional)
  • Door Lock Installation / Hole Saw Kit (Optional)
  • Circular Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Hearing Protection
  • Router (If installing rounded hinges)

  • Always start with the side where the door will attach to the hinges.
  • Make sure to fasten the hinge side jambs directly to the stud. You can fasten them loosely in case you need to slide a jamb behind it, but it is best to keep it tight.

If you’re installing a pre-hung door, make sure you get the correct swing, determined by the placement of the hinges and doorknob. Open the door and stand with your back to the hinges. If the doorknob is on the left, you need a left-handed door. If the knob is to the right, select a right-handed door. Some blank doors have a specific swing direction. The strike side (the side with the lockset) of these doors has a beveled edge so the door can swing freely.

Attach the new strike plate if you’re not using the old one.

When buying a new door, choose one that’s the same size as the old one.

Level out the jamb with wood strips. After attaching the jamb to the frame, place wood strips (shims) under it. Make sure that you do not lift the jamb too much. Figure out where you need to place the shims to level the hinge side from top to bottom.

Get these strips from the home improvement store. Slip them between the jamb and frame as needed.[4]

Measure out the stopper width. The door stopper (also called stop molding) can be bought pre-cut or fashioned out of wood strips. You will need to measure out how wide the stopper needs to be so that the pieces on each side of the door frame fit together.

The moulding goes behind the hinges and rests in the middle of the jamb. Measure it against the jamb until you’re sure it’s the right thickness.[11]

Secure the other sides of the jamb to the frame. Move onto the top side. First, hold your level up to the jamb. If it doesn’t appear level, add some shims to even it out. Finish by nailing the jamb to the frame.

Repeat this with the side opposite the hinges.[8]

You can use your old door as a template to install the new one. Before removing the old door, close it and make marks 10 inches up from the floor. You’ll use these as reference marks later to trim the new door.

Cut the shims to size with a utility knife. The shims will have their ends sticking out of the jamb. Go ahead and take your utility knife or other woodcarving knife and score them, then use your hammer to break off the ends.[9]

Note: Depending on which text editor you’re pasting into, you might have to add the italics to the site name.

Chisel out the wood inside the marks. Keep the beveled side of the blade down to remove only small amounts of material.

Replace one of the hinge screws on the top hinge with a longer screw that goes through the casing and into the wall framing to keep the door from sagging over time. If for some reason your screw won’t fit through the hinge casing, you can bury the screw into the wood beneath the hinge casing, then mount the hinge casing with the other two screws over the top. You can repeat the process for the other hinges if you want additional security.

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Measure the sides of the door frame. Take your tape measure to one side of the door frame. Note the length and mark this on one piece of wood. If you have level ground, this measurement will be the same for the other side.

Most likely they’ll be different, so measure the other side of the frame and mark its length on another piece of wood. Don’t forget to also measure the top part of the frame for the smaller piece of wood.


Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

This article was co-authored by Mark Spelman. Mark Spelman is a General Contractor in Texas. He has been a construction professional since 1987.

Measure the width of the door frame. Break out the tape measure. You’ll need to know how wide your door frame is so the jamb fits in it. Hold the tape measure up to the top of the door frame. Note the measurement and save it for later.[1]

If the holes on your new hinge plates don’t match the holes in the screw holes in the door jamb, drill pilot holes for the new screws. If the holes in the jamb are too large for the screws, use wood glue to secure a short portion of dowel tightly in the hole. Allow the glue to cure and drill the pilot holes. As an alternative, you can use longer screws to fasten the hinge plate — just make sure the pilot holes will accommodate them.

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Install the lockset or door knob according to the directions. Look at to How to Install a Lockset for general steps.

Anderson, Tim. (n.d.). How to Install a Door Frame & Door. Home Guides | SF Gate. Retrieved from

Hang the door in the jamb. Screw the hinges onto the correct side of the jamb. Unless you are installing a prehung door, you’ll need to trace the outline of the hinges on the jamb and cut an indentation using a router or utility knife.

Place the door in the jamb and fasten it to the hinges. Make sure it’s tight and opening in the right direction.[10]

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Score the mortise lines you made in Steps 2 and 3 above with a utility knife.

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