Do it youself

guide on How to install a door & Lock in 10 easy steps

Are you searching for some tips and advice on how to install a door?

Or how to hang a door from the beginning?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll go through a step-by-step process outlining everything you need to know regarding how to install interior doors. 

If you find learning easier through video instructions, you can check out our youtube video instructions here.

Interior door installation is a great way to update the style of your home without blowing the budget.

how to Swing a new door yourself?

With our easy-to-follow guide, hanging a door is a straightforward “do it yourself” job. With help from our instructional article and videos, you’ll be able to install a door by yourself. 

Just follow our step-by-step guide and, you’ll know all the tips and tricks on how to install an interior door in no time. There will be no need to pay contractors when you know all the tips and tricks on replacing a door by yourself. 

In this article, I’ll explain the best technique I’ve developed to hang doors in a simple and effective process. It’s easy to follow and will deliver a quality result. If you follow all the outlined steps below, the door will open and close smoothly with all correct spaces between the door and the frame.

Can you replace a door without replacing the frame?

A common question that I get asked a lot is. Can you replace a door without replacing the frame? Or is hanging a door in an existing frame the best option?

The simple answer is, “Yes, but crooked door frames are quite common in older houses, so it’s good to know a few tricks to get a good finish. Keep reading to find out.

The reasons to replace an existing frame

Hanging a door in an existing frame is the cheapest option. But we all know that over time door frames can often become damaged and worn. This is especially the case when kids and pets are involved.

Internal/external Door sizes

Below are the standard internal door sizes that most door manufacturers produce.

If you have a heritage-listed home, then the door frames could have been made using imperial measurements (built using inches). In this case, the options are;

  • Have custom doors made to the correct sizes
  • Cut down standard door sizes to make fit yourself. (Link here on how to do)

First start with measuring and ordering the materials

door hanging tools/door installation tools needed

tools needed to hang a door

1) remove the existing door and Measure The Door Frame/Jamb Opening

screw top hinge
unscrew bottom hinge
measure top of jamb
measure bottom of jamb

Firstly measure the width of the door frame. If it is an existing door frame, it will probably be a bit out of square. Thats ok, just plane the door to fit the existing frame opening.

Measure the top and bottom width of the frame opening. For example, with an 820mm door, the width opening should measure 826mm wide. This door frame had a width of 826mm. Meaning my new 820mm wide door will fit in without any adjustments.

The height of this door frame is 2055mm. This will give space for a 3mm gap in between the door and frame and about 12mm clearance under the door.

Pro tip
How To Hang A Door In An Existing Frame?

Measure the height of the door jamb/frame opening. You want to have a 3mm gap between the top of the door and the door frame head. Aim for a 6 mm gap between the bottom of the door and the finish of the floor covering. For example the standard door size is 2040 mm + 3mm gap on top and 5 mm gap on the bottom between the finished floor and the bottom of the door = opening size ideally is 2048.

If the opening size is less than this you will be required to adjust the size of the door with a planer or power saw. 

2) Check Jambs, floor and head for Level

check head of jamb for level
check floor for level
plumb door jamb
level jamb

how much gap between door and frame is best?

When measuring door frame sizes and determining how much gap between door and frame is needed. A good rule of thumb to remember is all gap tolerances around interior doors is 3mm. That is for sides and top. And 5mm to 10mm gap between the door and floor surface is good for hanging interior doors. 

This allows a 3mm gap between door and jamb on each side of the door. This 3mm gap between door and jamb will allow the door to swing freely after the finish coat of paint has been applied. If the opening is less than the width of the door plus  6mm. (For example 820mm + 6mm = 826mm). You may need to plane some width of the door using an electric planer.

Pro tip

If you are replacing an old door in an existing door way. Remove the old door and lay on a bench on top of the new door and trace the shape of the old door onto the new door. This will give the shape of what the new door needs to be to fit the existing jamb.

2) Adjust door to the correct size

Mark door to plane
Draw a pencil line to mark
Plane from both ends
Sand door to finish

If the door frame is out of square or if the door is too big for the opening in the frame. Then the door will need to be planned to the correct size. To do so, lay the door onto a work bench or on top of a couple saw stools. Mark the required measurements on to the door. 

Use a straight edge to transfer the marks on to door and plane door to the correct size. Sand the edges of the door that have been planned.

If the door head is not level, you will need to plane the door head to suit the head opening. Make sure you check this and make adjustments before fitting the door hinges.

Pro tip

Make sure you use PPE ( personal protective equipment) whenever using power tools

4) transfer hinge rebates from frame to the door

Story rod in jamb
mark story rod
Tranfere marks from story rod to door
3mm gap in top of door
transfer pencil mark
Mark hinge positions onto door
marking hinges
hinge tranfer


I like to use a method using a story rod. In my experience, it is  simple and fast method. Using this method the story rod can be used to transfer hinges for an unlimited amount of doors. Removing the step of measuring each door  hinge placement for each individual door. 

Firstly cut a piece of timber to fit into the door frame. If the door frame is 2050mm the story rod can be cut to be 2000mm. A piece of 40mm x 20 mm ( 2″ x 1″ ) works ideally. Mark the top of the story rod as it will go the same way up on the door as the jamb. 

Hold the story rod vertically hard against the side of the door jamb with the hinge checkouts move it up until it is touching the head of the door jamb.


Now with a sharp pencil transfer the hinge positions from the door frame to the story rod. Make sure you mark clearly and accurately.

5) Rebate hinge location on door

this side up
door block install
Tranfere marks from story rod to door
3mm gap in top of door

Place the door into a door block and lock the door onto its side. Make sure the side of the door that the hinges will be rebated into is facing up. 

On hollow core internal doors, there will be a sticker on the side of the door that will tell you which side to fit the hinges and lock.

Mark on the door which way the door will open. This is the side of the door that will have the pin of the hinge facing. The next step is to lay the story rod on the side of the door. Make sure the story rod and the door have the up direction the same way.

Position the story rod 3mm past the top of the door ( this represents the 3mm gap between the top of the door and the door frame). Transfer the hinge marks from the story rod to the side of the door. When hanging a door in an existing frame. The hinge location on the  door are determined by the hinge locations on the existing frame.

best technique on How to mark door hinges

Lay the hinge in position and trace around them with a sharp Stanley blade. Use a combination square to mark the thickness of the hinge on the door. 

Mark hinge positions onto door
marking hinges
mark hinge with square

What is the best hinge cutting tool to use?

Chisel work
Install hinge

The next step is to rebate the hinge locations. There are two options for this task. A sharp chisel or  an electric trimmer. A sharp chisel is the typical hinge cutting tool. The chisel only works well if it’s sharp. If your chisel is not sharp, you will make a mess. 

Hit the chisel into the door frame at an angle like the pictures above. Then clean out the timber with the sharp chisel in between the lines marked.

An electric trimmer set to the correct depth is the fastest way to rebate the hinge positions into the door. Set the trimmer to the correct depth, then trace in between the lines marked. This is the best way to install door hinges when replacing interior doors in a renovation project.

6) Securely fit door hinges into position

pre drill hinge
Pre drill hinge
drill bit for screw
Pre drill and screw

Check to make sure the hinges fit into the rebates like the picture above before you pre drill and install the hinges onto the door

Select the correct size drill bit and pre drill all the screw locations. Using the screws provided fasten the hinges to the door. 

Finished hinges with gap

What are the best screws for hanging doors?

The best screws for hanging internal doors are 25 mm ( 1 inch) 6 gauge stainless steel or zinc plated screws.

Hinges and screws

7) Drill and rebate the door lock into place

mark lock
mark latch and handle
54 mm hole
25 mm hole finished
attach handles
chisel latch
trimmer latch
screw latch
lock installed

I prefer to drill and rebate the lock into the door before installation. This allows me the drill and rebate the lock details on my saw stools and remove them again for painting. This task can be done after the door is installed also. 

All new door locks come with installation instructions. Follow the instructions step by step to install the lock correctly. 

8) Prime and Paint the door before final installation

Seal the bottom of the door before final installation. I recommend priming the bottom and sides of the door before installing.

Using a primer/sealer, paint the hinge rebate and side of the door. It is much easier to do now before the door hung. Both sides must receive two coats of paint varnish or primer to void the warranty.

Once the lock has been installed and removed, the door is ready to be finished and painted. Open the door at a 45-degree angle to the door frame. Place a wedge under the door to stop it from moving.

Place a drop sheet on the floor to stop any paint from landing on the floor. Remove the lock or protect it with painter tape. Apply two coats of water-based enamel paint and allow it to dry. Allow the second coat of paint to dry for 24 hours then re-attach the door lock and striker plates.

Paint bottom of door
Paint side of door 2
door paint
paint door 3
paint door
paint door finished

9) install door securely to door frame/jamb and finish painting

screw door on

Ok, so now all the preparation work has been completed. It’s time to install the door. Place a timber wedge or 10 mm stick ruler on the floor beside the door frame. Place the door in an upright open position. Line the hinges on the jamb rebates and screw two screws per hinge.

Check to see that the door is opening freely. Close the door and check that there is a 3mm gap around the edges of the door frame. Also, check there is enough clearance between the bottom of the door and the floor covering.

If the door is catching on the frame or doesn’t have a 3mm gap on both sides and top of the door, then take a 3mm packer and use this to scribe a line against the door and door frame. This line will represent how much you will need to plane from the door. Remove the door, plane the marked lines on the door. Then re-install the door. You will then finish with a 3mm space around the interior door to swing freely.

10) install the lock into position

Once the door is installed and swinging freely, you can re-install the lock. Place a wedge under the door to stop it from moving and screw the latch and handles into position.

Screw the striker plate into the correct position and check the door is opening and closing correctly.


lock handle
lock finished

 You are now able to install a new door in your home without having to get in a contractor.

If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch the simple you tube video we made below. It’s the first time we made a video, therefore the it’s not perfect but  I do believe the technique I show is the best method to install an interior door.

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