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When to replace your front door

There comes a time in a homeowner’s life when front door repairs simply won’t do, and you have to replace your front door. For those of you whose front doors are pre-hung with a wood, steel or fibreglass unit, removing and replacing both door and frame is a fairly easy process.

So when do you actually know it’s time for change?

  • The front door is dented, rotten or weathered beyond repair.
  • Cracks or broken wood in the panels or along the door’s edges.
  • Door difficult to hang level.
  • Having constant difficulty locking the door.
  • Changing exterior appearance.
  • It becomes a necessity to use a draught excluder constantly.


Once you have determined that it’s time for a new front door, there comes the moment you have to remove the old door. The first step is to remove the existing trim and the insulation embedded in the frame. To remove most hinges, take a nail and strike it upwards into the hinge to remove the pin. Lift the door off the hinges and then, if broken or rusted, remove the hinges from the door frame or if in good condition, leave to be reused for the new door. When removing the nails between the jamb and the frame, take care not to damage the house frame.


It’s important to measure the following –

  • Height, width and thickness of the existing door.
  • Width of the door jamb.
  • Measurements of the casings around the door frame.

If you are making your own front door you should take your measurements down to the building suppliers or alternatively get in touch with a company like Unicorn Windows, who can help match and fit the perfect door for you.


Deciding which way the front door should open will determine which side you fit the hinges and the smoothness of opening and closing a door is dependent on these being correctly positioned. There is no hard or fast rule as to where the hinges should go, with regard to position however, a generally agreed distance is 7 inches from the top and 7 inches from the bottom of the door.  The hinge recesses should be marked out using a sharp chisel, and the surplus wood chipped out with the chisel and mallet. It’s important to ensure the hinge sets in flush with the edge of the door as this will determine whether the door sticks or not.

It will require two people to hang the door in position whilst the hinges are fixed to the frame. Tighten one screw in each hinge to make certain that the door opens and closes with ease, before adding the remaining screws and tightening.


Once your new front door is swinging perfectly, it’s time to accessorise with –

  • Locks
  • Bolts
  • Doorknob
  • Door knockers
  • Weatherstrips
  • Door stop
  • Number
  • Paint

Take Note

If you decide not to pay for a registered company to do the work, replacing windows and doors is not quite such a simple procedure as it was pre April 2002. The regulations since then now depict that you must have approval from the Building Control department of your local council to say that the replacement has been done in accordance with the building regulations. So, although it may sound like an easy job, replacing your front door could prove to be more of a hassle than going to the professionals.