The Doors : How we did it!

So I promised an instructional How To, and I’m following up on my promise, even though (I’ll admit it) nothing went as smoothly as we planned. We’re still installing doors and not a single one has gone up without some sort of problem. Aaron loves life right now. But anyway, here goes:

Mom bought us 5 doors – one of which was “pre-bored” for a lockset. Meaning the holes were there for installing a door knob. The other 4 were not pre-bored, so we used the pre-bored door as a pattern.  We traced the circle for the knob (seen here) after making sure that the strike plates on our door frames were 36″ from the floor. The strike plate is the part of the door knob that is drilled into the door frame. You want to make sure that your new door knobs will line up with the strike plate when you close the door.

Meanwhile, I used the deadlatch of one of our new knobs to cut a pattern out of paper. The deadlatch is the part that sticks out of the door and catches in the strike plate.

Then we took the door outside and placed it on our super professional construction worker sawhorses.

I lined up my little paper-made pattern so that it was level with the circular knob pattern – the middle of it being 36″ from the floor, and traced around it.

When all our patterns were drawn, Aaron drilled a small hole all the way through the center of the circle pattern.

Then he attached the hole saw to the end of his drill.

He lined it up with the pattern we drew and DRILLED BABY DRILLED. Important note: do not drill all the way through with the hole saw. Use your hole saw to saw half way through the door, then turn the door over, line your drill up with the hole you made and drill out the other half.

We learned this the hard way (more on that later).

Then, Aaron lined up a paddle bit with the center of the side template. We started with a 3/4 paddle bit but after the first door, we moved up to a 7/8 because it fit the deadlatch a bit better.

Drill all the way through to create the hole that the deadlatch is inserted into.

Next, we turned the door on its side and scored the traced pattern with a box knife.


Mom showed us how to chisel. Turn the chisel to a 45 degree angle and tap it with  a hammer. The point of this step is to take out a little bit of wood so the deadlatch will lie flush with the side of the door.

See? Aaron quickly went pro at chiseling.

Meanwhile, I was inside removing the old doors by unscrewing the hinges and scoring around them with a box knife. Homeowners, do a favor for the people who will own your house after you: DON’T PAINT OVER STUFF. Ughhhh. Anyway, once I’d scored around the hinge, I just gently tugged on each door till it came off the wall.

And immediately removed the rusted, painted old hinges. Note that the hinge area has been chiseled out so that the hinge will lie flush with the door frame.

Time to hinge! We lined up the new hinges where the previous ones had been.

Aaron screwed in one screw on the top hinge and one at the bottom, then we lined the new door up with it. Insert something under the door to hold it up and keep it from dragging across the floor- we used a piece of cardboard.

Once the door was in place, he put one more screw in the door too, so that, technically, the door was up. But for the door to fit the frame properly, we needed the hinges to lie flush with the door as well as the frame.

So we traced around the hinge, unscrewed it and took the door down.

And just like the step where we chiseled out the spot for the deadlatch, we scored the traced area with a box knife and chiseled it out.

Hinges went back in, and the doors went back up! You’d think that was it, right? Oh, no. Here, we learned a new problem.
The doors still didn’t fit. As a matter of fact, the door frames were about a 1/4 inch narrower than the door. All the doors. And all the door frames.
Aaron tried using a planer to take some of the extra door off since it was obvious sanding wouldn’t do the trick. A planer is like a cheese grater for wood. But using the planer while the door was on its hinges still wasn’t enough.
So we took the door off the hinges again and Aaron really put his back into it. Check out that technique!
Twenty minutes later, he’d taken enough off the door to put it back up so we could install the knobs.
The door was now up and ready to be painted. (Note: it probably makes more sense to paint the trim and doors before you install them, but we made the decision to install first. It paid off, since we ended up sanding and planing the doors and frames and would’ve had to repaint anyway.)
There you have it. One down, eight to go. Sheesh. Can everyone PLEASE leave a comment telling Aaron how awesome and handy and hardworking he is? Because my incessant praise isn’t enough to cover it.
Have you ever installed doors? If so, did you have so many…..obstacles?

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