Your front door is a basic feature to your home. But, a new front door is also a selling feature, adding value, too. So, here’s how to replace an old one.
When it comes to the best return on investment in home improvements, curb appeal can get you better percentages than any other project. One of the strongest five-year ROI projects is a new front door installation. Cheap as it is quick, replacing your front door significantly improves the look of your home and can even save you money on electricity with a proper seal.
Because of all the moving parts and details of door installation, this is a fairly tool-heavy project, but none are so specialized that they won’t be useful elsewhere. In addition to standard toolbox items like a hammer, Phillips screwdriver, level, tape measure, and drill, you’ll also need a caulking gun, pry bar, and foam or fiberglass insulation. Check the specifications on your old and new doors to make sure you have the right nails and screws.
Selecting a new door
Your easiest option regardless of material for a new door is a pre-hung model. This means the fixtures, handle, and locks will already be in place. As for materials, each has benefits and drawbacks. A fiberglass door will be expensive but easier to weatherproof. Steel doors are the heaviest, safest, and most affordable. Wood doors vary greatly in price, strength, and appearance, so you can choose a basic, cheap design, a pricey design with glass, or something in between.
Removing the old door
Remove the trim around the door first, but keep it intact so you can reinstall it around the new door. Some pre-hung doors come with their own trim. In that case, the old can be discarded. Remove the door from the hinges by displacing the hinge pins, then uninstall the hinges themselves. Depending on the design of your old door’s fixtures, you may need to use a combination of screwdrivers, hammers, and other tools to uninstall the hinges.
Removing the door frame will be a bit more challenging. You will need to use your pry bar to pull out the wood pieces between the door frame and the house frame, also called shims, then separate the door frame itself.
Installing the new door
Another advantage of pre-hung doors is that they often come with detailed manufacturer installation instructions. Some doors have special installation requirements, so read the instructions thoroughly before beginning. The manufacturer manual should have details about measuring and leveling the new door frame. The caulk is for weatherproofing the frame and the door may come with new shims and instructions for installing them.
Ensure a proper seal
Once the new door is in place, open and close it several times to make sure it doesn’t scrape the floor and that it has a proper seal. The stellar 97 percent ROI of a new front door owes a lot to electric bill reductions in the power-intensive summer and winter months. A project that adds such a basic feature to your home can make a big difference in who wants to step inside when it comes time to sell.