How to Install an Exterior Door

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON: I am still in Holland, but we are switching gears from wooden shoes to wooden doors.  Let’s go see the Edgar’s family.  As soon as I arrived, Dea, Tate and I set down with a cup of coffee and they tell me their concerns about the rotted door. Are you worried about it?  Concerned about it?

Mrs. EDGAR: Yeah, very much so.

Mr. EDGAR: The first thing that I noticed was that we were starting to get insects as far as carpenter ants in there.  We have been living with this problem for approximately four years. 

Mrs. EDGAR: My biggest fear is we are going to get the wall torn apart and it is going to be further in depth than what we think it is.

RON HAZELTON: Whew, look at this.

Mrs. EDGAR: As you can see, we’ve got a substantial amount of rot at our doorframe.

RON HAZELTON: Oh man, yeah.  You know the first thing I want to do, is sort of open this up and see what we’ve got here, just how far this has gone, okay?

Mr. EDGAR: Good.

Mrs. EDGAR: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: So, let’s pull the door off and then get going.

Mr. EDGAR: Okay.

Mrs. EDGAR: Sounds great.

RON HAZELTON: There we go, take the door down, tip it back toward you.  I think this is all rotted, this probably is going to, yeah, very, very easy.  Okay, and then take this out if you would, Tate, just pry it, yup, finish prying it, here, let me give you a hand here.

Mr. EDGAR: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: Okay. Tate pull it up.  Rather than try to patch the damaged siding, we decided to remove and replace the entire sheet.  All right, you see, this is all rotted in here. 

Mr. EDGAR: It’s incredible that it’s just eaten away like that.

RON HAZELTON: Yes, I want to make sure that we go back here until we find the end of the rot.  Why don’t you work down here, Tate?

Mr. EDGAR: I’ve got the big hammer. I got to work under my wife.

RON HAZELTON: Under your wife, yeah.  Okay, hold up just one sec, you see the problem is that this board right here is up behind this board here and I don’t know how to get it out.  As it turns out the only solution here is to remove the freeze board that is trapping the top of the siding.

Mrs. Edgar: Beautiful.

RON HAZELTON: Look at the spider nests here.

Mr. EDGAR: Holy cow.  Boy Dee, you are getting right into this.

Mrs. EDGAR: I think I missed my calling.

Mr. EDGAR: Yeah, I think so.

RON HAZELTON: Okay, why don’t you go over here, okay.

Mr. EDGAR: Paul, no need.

Mrs. EDGAR: Too late, guys, got it done.

RON HAZELTON: Dea decides to try out my Japanese hand saw and she cuts away the rotted ends of the wall studs.  Next, we cut new ends from pressure treated lumbar. 

Mr. EDGAR: Okay, Dea, so how does it fit?

Mrs. EDGAR: I think it is going to fit like a glove. 

RON HAZELTON: Yeah, good, nice and snug.  Using 3-inch rust proof screws, we attach the replacement ends to the existing studs.

Mr. EDGAR: Perfect, excellent.

Mrs. EDGAR: Looks good.

RON HAZELTON: Dea finally we want to attach the bottom of this stud right here to the decking down here and again we’ll do this with screws.  You can see those pre-drilled holes make this a lot easier.  Well, it is 3 o’clock and we are losing one of our crew.  (LAUGHTER)  See you buddy, just leave when the going gets interesting. 

Mrs. EDGAR: Something about a job, responsibilities, he’s got to go to work.

RON HAZELTON: With our work force reduced by a third, Dea replaces the insulation while I get the new siding ready.  Okay, just hold it right up in here now, yeah, set it right down there, okay, good, we are going to slide it to the right a little bit, get as close as you can.  I am going to lift it up.  Let me get a pry bar here.  Now, you are going to, this hedge has got to go underneath this stuff right here.

Mrs. EDGAR: Underneath, okay.

RON HAZELTON: So, let me lift it up with a pry bar.  How’s that?

Mrs. EDGAR: Perfect, we are in on top and bottom. 

RON HAZELTON: Okay.  We used hot-dipped galvanized nails to attach the siding.  Now, we could have cut the door opening first, but I decided to cut it out after the siding is up with a router bit that uses the doorframe as a template.  Look at that will you, clean as a whistle.

Mrs. EDGAR: Now, this is going to fit, right?

RON HAZELTON: This is the moment of truth, I hope so, oh, I hope so.  Okay, put the bottom in, set it right in the threshold, okay, tip it up, oh, I like what I am seeing! 

Mrs. EDGAR: Okay, oh look at that, wonderful!

RON HAZELTON: Excellent! Long hinge screws are used to secure one side of the frame.  Now we are going all the way through the jam and into.

Mrs. EDGAR: Into the 2 x 4.

RON HAZELTON: Into the framing of the house.

Mrs. EDGAR: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: Now, on this side over here, we’ll do something a little bit different.  Right where the shins are I’ll take a finished nail and we’ll drive this through. Well we are almost there, we just need to reinstall the freeze board we took down earlier.  Whew!

Mrs. EDGAR: You know, Ron?  This is just wonderful.  I am so pleased and it was an easier project than what I thought it would be.


Mrs. EDGAR: Yes, yes.

RON HAZELTON: And you’ve got a nice looking door here.

Mrs. EDGAR: Beautiful door.

RON HAZELTON: This metal plaid door right now, this is really pretty.  Just two things, though, we got to get rid of the source of this problem, which is of course is the gutters up here, the guys are going to put those in and I would suggest putting some plastic sheeting under these rocks to keep this water away from the house here.  Okay?


Mrs. EDGAR: I think that is something we can take care of.

RON HAZELTON: You were wonderful.

Mrs. EDGAR: Thank you.

RON HAZELTON: I’d hire you in a minute. 

Mrs. EDGAR: Would you?

RON HAZELTON: Yeah, you want to come on the road?

Mrs. EDGAR: Sure.

Do a Little Demolition to Remove Rotted Wood before Replacing the Damaged Wooden Exterior Door with a Six-paneled Replacement Door

Tear it down before rebuilding! Before installing an exterior door, go the distance to discover and demolish all the rotted wood damage caused by leaking gutters and the backflow of rain toward your home's foundation. Digging deeply to expose all the wood rot also exposes the solid wood you will use as the foundation for hanging the replacement exterior door.

Remove All Necessary Trim and Structure from the Exterior Door
Step 1

Remove All Necessary Trim and Structure from the Exterior Door

Tear out all the rotted wooden components of the doorway until solid foundation lumber is exposed for the replacement exterior door. Remove the door, threshold, door frame, exterior siding, frieze board, and rotted ends of the wall studs, as necessary.

Cut off Rotted Ends of Framing around the Exterior Door
Step 2

Cut off Rotted Ends of Framing around the Exterior Door

Cut two-by-fours to replace portions of rotted wall studs and framing removed around the exterior door. Drill pilot holes and secure replacements to the remaining studs/framing, to each other, and to the floor decking with 3-inch rust-proof screws.

Install Old or New Fiberglass Insulation around the Exterior Door
Step 3

Install Old or New Fiberglass Insulation around the Exterior Door

Reinstall the old insulation or replace it with new batting to insulate around the new framing for the exterior door. Be sure to handle fiberglass batting with gloves and use safety gear to protect yourself from the fiberglass particles.

Secure New Siding over the Exterior Door Repairs
Step 4

Secure New Siding over the Exterior Door Repairs

Cover the repair area around the exterior door with siding, lifting it off the ground while sliding the edge under the existing siding sheet. Secure it with hot-dipped galvanized nails to secure it to the framing.

Cut out the Exterior Door Opening from the Siding
Step 5

Cut out the Exterior Door Opening from the Siding

Re-cut the exterior door opening. It could have been cut before the siding was mounted, but a router bit that follows the interior door frame as a template makes a perfectly sized opening with a clean edge.

Position the New Exterior Door, Driving Screws through the Hinges
Step 6

Position the New Exterior Door, Driving Screws through the Hinges

Rest the exterior door assembly on the threshold, making it plumb and level with shims, if necessary. Secure the hinged side with long screws driven through the hinges, frame, and shims, and then into the house framing.

Secure the Unhinged Side of the Exterior Door Assembly
Step 7

Secure the Unhinged Side of the Exterior Door Assembly

Secure the unhinged side of the exterior door assembly, driving finishing nails through the door assembly and two-by-four house framing. Be sure to catch any shims with the nails to prevent them from shifting.

Reinstall the Original Frieze Board over the Exterior Door Repairs
Step 8

Reinstall the Original Frieze Board over the Exterior Door Repairs

Position and re-nail the original frieze board removed earlier as part of the exterior door demolition. It will be the last component to reinstall, resting on top of the siding. Add the knob and latch hardware associated with the new door.

Prevent Future Wood Rot around the Exterior Door Installation
Step 9

Prevent Future Wood Rot around the Exterior Door Installation

Fix the source of the exterior door's wood rot. Add/fix gutters to catch water running off the roof. Add plastic sheeting beneath rocks and other landscaping materials immediately adjacent to the house to make water run away from its foundation.