Changing your doors can instantly improve the look of your home, and yes it is a job you can do yourself.  It just takes a few hours, a lot of patience, and this step-by-step guide. So stop hanging around and get to it.


Step 1 – Getting the Right Tools

You will need the following:

Tape Measure | Pencil | Screwdriver | Hand Plane |Hammer | Set Square | Stanley Knife | Wood Chisel| Drill | Wood and screw bits | Saw | Masking Tape | A couple of coins | Wood Wedges (or something to hold the door steady while you work)

For basic interior doors you’ll also need two 100mm hinges and screws.


Step 2 – Removing the Old Door

(This step can be skipped if you already have an empty frame to work with.)

Start by removing the screws from the bottom hinges. Make sure the door is properly supported before you remove the last screw from the top hinge.


Step 3 – Measuring

Measure the length and width of the frame opening before buying your new door. Allow for a 2mm gap at either side of the door, and 6mm clearance at the bottom (leave a little more clearance at the bottom if you have a deep carpet).

If you cannot find any interior oak doors that are the exact size you’re looking for, just buy one slightly bigger so that you can trim it to size.

Step 4 – Trimming the Door

Steady the door in your vice, with the opening side at the top. Measure and mark the cut lines. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Plane down to the cut line, or if there is more than 6mm to remove, use a saw. Always plane from the edges in, with broad sweeping movements. Give the new edge a quick sanding to give it a nice finish.


Step 5 – Positioning the Hinges

Turn the door over to have the hinge side uppermost. Measure 15cm down from the top and mark, and 23cm up from the bottom. These are the outer marks for your hinges. Use a set-square to draw a line at each of your marks. Open your hinge and hold it in place with the spindle section butting against the edge. Score around the edge of the hinge with your Stanley knife. Draw over this line with your pencil to make it easier to see for the next step. Do exactly the same for the second hinge.


Step 6 – Cutting the Recesses

Use a sharp chisel with the bevelled edge facing in to make a series of cuts along the pencil line. Now chisel into the recess, filling up the wood as you go. Hold the chisel at the top of the recess and with one quick movement shear off the wood. Now use a twisting action to deepen the recess. Regularly try the hinge to check if it fits. When it sits flush to the door, you are ready to do the same on the second hinge.


Step 7 – Attaching the Hinges

Position each hinge flap in its recess on the door and with your pencil. mark the position of the middle screw. Use a drill bit slightly narrower than your screws to make a pilot hole. Take care to keep the bit square to the door edge. Put the hinge back in place and put the middle screw in. Now the hinge is secure, make the two other pilot holes, and screw in place. Repeat this entire process to fit the second hinge.


Step 8 – Fitting to the Frame

To help hold the door in position in the frame it’s worth fixing up a temporary door jam. Measure a door width in from the edge of the door frame. Use your set-square to draw a line parallel to the edge. Nail a strip of wood to this guideline, then do the same on the other side. This will be used as a support to get the door in position.

To make sure the door is the right distance from the top of the frame, tape a coin to either end of the door. Hold the door in place and use your Stanley knife to make a small knick on the frame at the position of each hinge.


Step 9 – Preparing the Frame

Remove one of the hinges from the door, as you’ll need this as a template. Place it open on the door frame. Score around the hinge with the Stanley Knife. Repeat for the bottom hinge. Chisel out the recess for the hinges. This is the same process as the door recesses.


Step 10 – Hanging the door

Put the hinge back onto the door. Hold the door in an open position, and fix just one screw per hinge to the frame. Carefully close the door to check the fit. If you need to trim any of the edges, mark how much needs to be taken off, remove the hinges and get planing. The hinges may also need to be adjusted a bit, watch these as you close and open the door. When it’s ready, put in the last of the screws.  


Well done – you’ve just hung your own door!