How to Install an Interior Door

If the title of this post didn’t clue you in, we finally got around to replacing the old door to our guest bedroom this weekend.

Why were we replacing the door, you ask?  Maybe this photo (from this post) will jog your memory:

Molly Door

 (Bad dog!)

After Molly destroyed the door to our guest bedroom from the inside out, we did our best to hide the damage for a long, long time.  Then, a few months ago we started sprucing up the guest room and, with every new project, the door became more and more of an eyesore.  It finally got the ol’ heave-ho when I started painted the trim.

Door Off Inside

Since then, I’ve painted the door frame on the inside and outside of this room and given the paint plenty of time to cure.  Once that was done, it was time for Mr. and Mrs. Heard to finally give our guests back their privacy.

Door Off Right

We took a trip to Lowe’s and picked up three things:

  1. New Door (30″ x 80″): $30
  2. Doorknob Drilling Kit: $20
  3. Bed/Bath Locking Doorknob: $10

New Door Drill Kit

Gatehouse Door knobs

We also already had 3 silver hinges to match the new door knob.  Originally we thought we’d just spray paint all of the door knobs in our house brushed nickel to save money.  I actually had already painted the garage door knob here, but the paint job hasn’t held up as well as I would have liked.

After a bit of research we discovered that we could completely replace all the door knobs in our whole house for less than $100, so we went ahead and sprung for all new knobs (Gate*House brand from Lowe’s).

Since the door we bought was close to the right dimensions but wasn’t the perfect height and width already, Stephen started by trimming a bit off the sides. Then he routed out the spots in the side of the door for the three hinges.

 Trimming and Routing

We added the hinges to the door frame and then lined up the door to mark where the hinge screws should go in the side of the door.  Stephen pre-drilled the holes for the screws and I held up the door while he put in one screw per hinge to test it out.

Hinges on Frame Measuring for Hinges

After a couple minor adjustments with the hinge placement, we installed the rest of the screws and set to work on the door knob.

Installing Hinges

The Door Lock Installation Kit we found included great instructions.  Here’s how we set about prepping the door to install the door knob.

Step 1: Place the jig on the door and use the larger drill attachment to drill the hole for the door knob.

Drilling Knob Hole

Step 2: Use the smaller drill attachment to drill the hole for the door latch.

Drilling Latch Hole

Step 3: Use the router bit to route out the area where the latch will be attached.


Step 4: Chisel it out the rest of the way.


Step 5: Get ready to install your door knob!

Latch Hole Done

Before installing the new door knob, I laid out all the pieces and took inventory.  There was the door knob set, the latch piece, and the striker plate, along with the screws to attach them all to the door and frame.

Door Knob Guts

The striker plate was easy to install since there had been one on this door frame previously.

Strike Plate Off Strike Plate On

We installed the latch second, using the screws provided.

Installing Latch

Then we placed one knob on either side of the door and secured them together with the 2 longest screws.

Door Knob On

After making sure the door would open and close, the latch would catch, and the lock worked, we declared this door installation project complete!  Not a bad improvement for 60 bucks and an evening’s worth of work!

Molly Door Door Installed Inside

Now future guests (we have some coming this weekend) can close the door for privacy and our hallway is one step closer to being finished.  All I have left to do is paint this baby white like the rest of our doors and we can mark this project off The Heardmont Punch List for good.

 Door Off Right Door Installed Right

This project was quite involved and took a significant amount of time (about 3.5 hours) since we’re novices at things like this.  There are definitely things we’d do differently and probably much better ways to install a door, but overall our installation experiment was a success!

I mean, really all you need from a door is for it to open and close smoothly and stay shut when you want it to, right? 🙂

What did you do this weekend?

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10 Responses to How to Install an Interior Door

  1. Great improvement. I’d love to hear more about how you routed the door for the hinges.

    • Stephen says:

      The hinge routing wasn’t anything precise at all. We put the un-routed door in the frame at the height we wanted, and marked where the hinges needed to be. Then I just traced the outline of the hinge on the side of the door and free-routed a rough shape of the hinge, making sure the route depth was the same as the thickness of the hinge. The finish was a little rough and I’m sure there is a better way but it turned out OK for us.

      If you have your old door (ours is long gone) you can just take the measurements off of it and duplicate them on the new door.

  2. Joy P says:

    Your post helps get rid of ‘fear of installing a new door’ phobia. Seeing your clear photos and instructions was very encouraging to a ‘need to install new handset but afraid to try’ person.
    – Joy

  3. Morgan says:

    Nice job! Sounds scary to me – anything with precise measurements is scary to me, haha! But it looks great and I love the white trim.

  4. nora says:

    Looks great! I’m lucky that my BF has helped his dad with these kinds of things because it seems really confusing/requires measurements that are way to precise for me!
    We mostly focused on cleaning this weekend, no more major projects for at least a little while!

  5. Rachel says:

    I’m jealous it only took you 3.5 hours! 🙂 We recently took down all of our doors and took off all hinges (everything was wood and brass, so it all needed a fresh coat of white paint and brushed nickle spray paint). After painting our doors, some of them “expanded” somehow with all the primer and white paint, so now we’re in the market for new doors…argh.

  6. Yep, sure looks complicated to me too.

    Have you seen those paper napkins with a cartoon dog saying
    “My name is ‘NO NO BAD Dog’, What’s yours?”

    Bad Dog Wrecking Door! Good Humans Fixing Door!

    Suzy xxx

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  9. ryan says:

    This is an outdated method for installing doors. Bracket installation systems are much easier and faster then using shims for beginners. There available at Home Depot in door aisle. Its called the Quick Door Hanger and is the same price as a pack of shims.

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