How to Replace an Interior Door

Upgrade your interior spaces by replacing hollow-core doors with sturdy, sound-reducing solid-core new interior doors

measure existing door
Family Handyman

1 / 16

Measure the Existing Door and Doorframe

Take precise measurements of the existing door and doorframe; then remove the hinge pins and lift the existing door out of the doorframe.

trim
Family Handyman

2 / 16

Mark and Trim the New Door

If needed, mark and carefully trim the bottom of the new door to fit the existing doorframe. We used a table saw, but a circular saw will also do the job.

use the old door as a template
Family Handyman

3 / 16

Use the Existing Door as a Guide

Place the existing door on top of the new door. Align the top edge of both doors, and use the existing door as a guide for marking the hinge placement on the new door.

mark hinge placement
Family Handyman

4 / 16

Mark the Hinge Placement

Use a speed square to mark the top and bottom of each hinge on the new door.

measure hinge distance from edge of door
Family Handyman

5 / 16

Measure the Distance from the Edge

On the old door, measure the distance from the edge of the door to the edge of each hinge. Use the same measurements for each hinge on the new door.

trace hinges
Family Handyman

6 / 16

Trace the Hinges

Line up each hinge inside the marks on the new door and trace the outline.

score hinge mortises
Family Handyman

7 / 16

Score the Mortises

Prop the new door on its side and use a sharp utility knife to score the mortise for each hinge. Keep a steady hand around any curved marks to make it easier to chisel out those areas.

chisel out hinge mortises
Family Handyman

8 / 16

Chisel Out the Hinge Mortises

Use a steady hand to chisel out the mortises for each hinge. Continue scoring the mortises with a utility knife as you remove layers of wood.

tap hinges in mortises
Family Handyman

9 / 16

Tap the Hinges in Place

Continue checking your progress as you chisel out the mortises. Use a block of wood to protect the hinges as you tap them in place.

door lock installation jig
Family Handyman

10 / 16

Use a Door Lock Installation Jig

We used a door lock installation jig to bore holes in the slab for the latch and lever. The one shown in the photo screws onto the side of the door and includes two hole saws.

bore holes in new door
Family Handyman

11 / 16

Bore Holes for the Latch and Lever

Use the existing door as a guide to measure the distance from the top of the door to the center of the latch. Then line up your door lock installation jig with that mark. Use the included hole saws to bore holes for the latch and lever.

avoid tearout in new door
Family Handyman

12 / 16

Avoid Tearout

When you’ve cut about 3/4 of the way through the door for the lever, pull out the hole saw and cut the rest of the way through from the underside. This will help to avoid tearout, which could damage your new door.

mortise the latch plate
Family Handyman

13 / 16

Mortise the Latch Plate

The jig we used included a handy template and cutting bit for mortising the latch plate. The bit removed some material while creating an outline for the mortise.

chisel out the latch plate mortise
Family Handyman

14 / 16

Chisel Out the Latch Plate Mortise

Use a sharp chisel to remove the rest of the material for the latch plate mortise. When all of mortises are created, seal all of the bare wood with a coat of paint that matches the door.

install the door latch and lever
Family Handyman

15 / 16

Install the Latch and Lever

Screw the latch and lever in place following the manufacturer’s instructions.

screw hinges to new door
Family Handyman

16 / 16

Screw on the Hinges

Mark the center of each screw hole; then secure the hinges in place with screws. Use a self-centering hinge bit to ensure that the screws remain centered as you drive them. Then install the new door in the doorframe. Then repeat these steps for installing all of your new interior doors.

For a guide to hanging a door from scratch, click here.