Exterior Door Slab Installation
1. Before finishing, remove existing door and place onto the new door slab. We recommend placing the existing door slab onto a sawhorse or folding plastic table (just not a surface that could scratch or damage the door). If the door came in a cardboard box it can serve as a nice worksurface to protect the door.
2. Check that the new door width, height, and thickness match the existing door. If you need to trim the door height (up to about 2" is OK), we recommend trimming off the bottom and then use a U style door sweep to seal up the unfinished edge. Trimming the width is a little trickier and you really shouldn't take more than about 1/8" off each side. Best option here is to use a planer tool.
3. Trace hinges onto new door by aligning the existing door on top of new door and tracing with a pencil. Mark each hinge top, bottom, and how far into the door (towards the outside) the hinge needs to seat. We recommend using a combination square to ensure you get the measurements as accurate as possible. If needed, you can also trace the lock bore (holes for the lock) onto the new door as well.
4. Next create the mortise slot for the hinges on new door. We recommend using a utility knife to score the edges of where the hinge will sit. Then, using either a chisel or router, remove the wood and create the recess for each of the hinges.
5. Next we recommend turning the door onto the lock edge so the hinge edge is facing to the sky. Place hinges to their mortise slots and pre-drill hinge holes using a 1/8" or 1/16" drill bit.
6. Screw hinges to the door. We recommend using 2-3" long screws for the top 2 holes on the top hinge. This will help the door fight against gravity and stay square/operating smoothly for longer.
7. Hang the door into the opening. This is a 2-3 person job, depending on how heavy the door is. It can help to use rags or a block of wood to hold the door into position.
8. Check for smooth operation and for the door to be square in the opening. There should be about 1/8" to 1/4" of space between the lock edge of the door and the jamb. Shim hinges and plane lock edge of door as needed.
9. Install the lock (cutting the bore holes and mortising for the latch and deadbolt as needed). Tip: don't cut all the way through the door with the hole saw -- cut about 2/3 through and then come in from the other side.
10. Clean the door (get all of the dust debris off of the surface of the door)