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Fitting a new external door

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Fitting a new external door

Position the new door against the frame to determine the fit. Use a pencil to mark any overlap if the door is larger and requires cutting. To retain the pattern in the door, remember to cut from the top and bottom and from each side when cutting. This is particularly important on a panel door to keep the panels central.

Use a plane to smooth the edges, working from the ends towards the middle to avoid any splintering at the edges. If a larger section needs cutting off, use a circular or panel saw to make the cut. The door should fit the frame with a gap of approximately 2mm all round the edge. If a weather bar is fitted to the sill of the frame, use a power saw or router to cut a rebate along the bottom of the door. This rebate will allow the door to clear the weather bar.

Fitting exterior door hinges

If you are using a hardwood door, brass fittings are recommended.

Using existing hinges If you intend to use the existing hinge recesses in the frame, the positions need to be marked on the doorframe. Position and support the door in the opening at an angle to the upright and mark on it where the tops and bottoms of the hinge recesses are.

Using new hinges

The positions need to be marked on both the frame and the door. Exterior doors should be hinged between 125½-150mm (5-6 inches) from the top and 175-230mm (7-9 inches) from the bottom of the door. As exterior doors are heavier than interior doors, they require a third hinge. The third hinge should be positioned midway between the other two. Use brass or steel butt hinges, sized 100mm (4 inches) or 90mm (3½ inches).

Chisel out the recess carefully and fit the hinges to the door. Make pilot holes first for the screws to avoid splitting the wood. Make sure they fit flush and lie neatly in position. Support the door in position in the doorway and fix the hinges to the frame, using one screw in each hinge. Before completing the job, check that the door opens and closes correctly. If there are problems remove the three screws and correct by making minor adjustments where necessary to where the hinge sits in the frame. Repeat the procedure, test open and closing and secure the hinges completely. All that remains is to fit any door ‘furniture’ required such as locks and a letterbox (see Fitting door furniture for further details).

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