Installing a new exterior door or replacing a door is a great way to improve the look and curb appeal of your home. Prehung doors are a convenient choice because they are self-contained and ready to install right away. You do not have to worry about adding weather stripping, lining up screw holes, or drilling for door hardware.

Exterior doors need to be installed correctly in order to function properly and provide adequate protection from the elements, so we’ve put together exterior door installation tips and interior door installation tips that will help you get the job done.

Tips for Choosing a Door

Deciding on which door to purchase for your home involves consideration of your existing space. A simple door may not actually be so simple to install, given that you’ll need to make numerous adjustments to get the right fit. With prehung doors, the door itself is already hung, attached to its frame and hinges with precisely the right spacing to create a weather-tight fit. However, there are many common mistakes that homeowners make when installing prehung doors. Here are a few to avoid:

  • Miscalculation of the opening. Simply put, a 36” prehung door won’t fit into a 36” rough opening. Prehung doors require approximately 2” of clearance on either side of the door to accommodate jambs. Be sure to check the depth as well – most exterior walls consist of 2×4 or 2×6 construction, and a door jamb depth intended for 2×4 construction isn’t going to fit the bill. The jamb should line up flush with both sides of the wall to allow for interior and exterior trim.
  • Wrong swing direction. Do you know the difference between a right-hand door and a left-hand door? What about inswing or outswing? If not, you could end up with your door swinging in the wrong direction. Be sure to specify to your supplier which hand you want to use to open the door, and how it should swing out (or in, in the case of a right or left hand reverse).
  • Insufficient shimming. Even prehung doors need to be shimmed and adjusted to ensure that the door will operate correctly. When installing a prehung door, you’ll need to use shims to compensate for any offset in your rough opening and ensure the door is level.

Exterior Door Installation Tricks

Exterior Door Installation Tips

  • Measure your opening and ensure that the dimensions are as square as possible.
  • Mark where your hinges will sit and shim them out so that they are completely level.
  • Place your prehung door into position so that the jambs are tight against the trim.
  • Adjust the gaps between the door and the jambs and use shims to set the gaps correctly.
  • Drive nails through the shims to anchor the jambs in place once the spacing is correct.
  • Remove the middle screws from each hinge and use longer screws to reach the wall studs.
  • Install your door latch hardware and ensure it lines up correctly with the latch jamb.

For additional door instructions specific to Trimlite door products, visit our Technical Information page.

Why Trust Trimlite When Choosing a Door?

Trimlite has been producing high-quality door products since 1982, and we design each door to meet the current and future needs of our customers. Contact us today to purchase a prehung door for your home.