A warped or damaged door frame not only looks bad, but it could also lead to a sticking door, damaged carpets and (if the damaged frame is a part of an external door which no longer locks properly), even potential security problems.
The good news is that replacing a damaged door frame is a task that is well within the reach of a determined DIYer. Here are a few tips to help you complete the job.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Door Frame?
You’ll generally need to allocate a full day to removing the existing frame and architrave, as well as fit the new frame, replace the architrave, and patch up the surrounding plaster.
How Hard is it to Replace a Door Frame?
Can you replace a door frame yourself, or should you get a professional in?
This is a medium to difficult job. You do not need past experience, but it is best left to a professional if you lack confidence in your skills, don’t have a lot of time, or are unable to get someone to lend a hand. You will also need to make sure you have all the tools for the job if you are a competent DIYer and plan to tackle this yourself.
Tools Needed to Replace a Door Frame:
- A screwdriver
- A pair of safety goggles
- Spirit level
- Plumb line
- Some spare wood
- A new door frame kit
- DPC Strips
Steps for Replacing an Internal Door Frame
- Measure the width and height of the existing opening, adding an extra 10cm to allow for the new frame. This is the size of the door frame that you should purchase. Note that you can trim the height of the frame down to size if you buy a frame that is too big, so err on the side of buying too big if you aren’t sure what size to buy. It is more important to make sure that the width of the frame is correct.
- Be careful when handling the frame after it’s delivered. Keep it flat whenever possible and do not rest anything against it; this will help prevent warping. Before fitting the new frame, you will need to remove the old one.
- Remove the existing architrave. If you do this carefully you may be able to re-use that architrave once you have fitted the new frame. If the architrave is set into the plaster, you can remove it using the sharp corner of a chisel to cut into the point where the plaster meets the architrave. If you do this carefully you should be able to minimise damage to the plaster, ensuring that any patch-ups require minimal effort.
- Chop away at any plaster around the opening, and any sealant, to expose the frame.
- Cut through the fixings that hold the door frame in place.
- Once the frame is loose, you can pull out the jambs by sawing into the top-centre part of the jambs at a 45 degree angle.
- Break away the jambs from the masonry, and use a crowbar to lift the frame out.
Once you have the old frame removed, you can start preparing to fit the new replacement door frame.
- Clean the opening and remove any debris.
- Apply DPC strips to the underside of the opening. These damp proofing strips will prevent moisture penetrating the frame and damaging your brickwork. For extra damp proofing, coat the nails you use to hold the DPC strips in place with a suitable emulsion.
- Place the new frame into the opening, and hold it in place with wooden supports. Use a spirit level and a plumb line to make sure the door frame is 100% straight and centred. If it is out of alignment, use shims to correct this.
- Drill three holes into each jamb to fit the screws. Make sure that the holes are evenly positioned, to spread the load correctly.
- Use screws to secure the frame in the opening.
- Carefully fill any gaps between the door and the wall with mortar.
- Once the mortar has set and hardened, apply a mastic sealant around the outer edge of the frame.
- Fit your door into the frame.
- Replace the architrave, if necessary.
Replacing an External Door Frame
If you need to replace an external door frame, it’s often better to do so using a pre-hung door kit. These kits are already weatherproof, so you can be confident of creating a solid seal between the door and the frame. You can be sure the door will lock securely too.
You will still need to ensure the door frame is secure in the opening to prevent damp and leaks and ensure maximum security, but replacing the door as an entire unit takes away some of the burden.
When Should You Replace a Door Frame?
If a door frame is rotten or damaged then it’s a good idea to replace it. However, it must be done carefully to ensure the frame is straight and plum, and that the door hangs securely in the frame.
The decorative architrave will hide any minor mistakes or cosmetic damage to the plaster around the wall, but it is important to work slowly and carefully to ensure the door is perfectly aligned and the frame is secure and weather proof. If you are completely renovating a room, you can replace the door frame first, then plaster and paint, to ensure a nice, smooth, clean, and professional finish.
Can You Replace a Door Frame Yourself? or Should You Hire a Professional?
Installing a new door frame is a job that you can do yourself, in a pinch. However, installing a full pre-hung door, or a new solid door, is something that is best done with a helper.
Doors can be deceptively heavy. Your existing door may swing nicely in its frame, but that is because the hinges are taking a lot of the weight. When you remove the door from the hinges, you may be surprised at how heavy it feels – especially if it is not a hollow door. Rather than trying to move it by yourself, and risking injury, have a friend or family member on hand to help.
Posted on: 25 September 2015