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Interior Door Installation: Taking Proper Measurements

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By : Jilda Peterson    99 or more times read
Whether you are replacing an existing interior door or adding one where none existed before, it is important to take proper measurements so that the door will fit into the frame and open and close easily. While replacing an existing door with the same size door is rather simple, there may be situations when there is a need to change the size of the door. Here are some helpful tips on how to measure properly for a new, replacement or resized interior door.

You can find interior doors in a variety of styles, designs and colors, as well as pre-finished and unfinished varieties, whether made of wood or composite material. While style is of course a consideration, the most important aspect when purchasing a door is to know the correct size. In most cases, you can order the size you need for any style of door; so if you fall in love with a 6-panel door and it’s not in your size on the showroom floor, it can probably be ordered and shipped. Careful measurements are needed so that you don’t waste money purchasing a door that will not fit.

In order to measure properly, a tape measure is required. The stiff metal variety used by carpenters is best to get an accurate measurement. If you are changing the size of the door, and hence the door frame and opening, you’ll also need a framing square. Grid paper may also come in handy.

To Replace an Existing Door in the Same Size

If you are simply replacing your existing door with another in the same size, lucky you, measuring will not be that difficult. Simply measure the total height and width of the door; jot those numbers down and purchase a new door in the same dimensions. In most cases the new door will fit perfectly but sometimes a little trimming of the door frame is required for cosmetic purposes.

How to Measure an Opening for a New or Re-sized Door

When cutting the opening for a new door, add two inches to the height and width of the finished door size. This is needed in order to accommodate the door frame while also leaving enough space to insert any needed shims to adjust the levelness of the door. Planning the placement and size of the door is tricky because you need to be sure that the door will be able swing freely once it is installed; in tight situations, you may find that you have to plan on a smaller size door, such as a 32” or 30” instead of a 36” wide. You may find it helpful to sketch the room and door opening to scale on paper first to get a good visual on how the door will fit into the space. On a load-bearing wall, a header is needed over the doorway.

Once the size and location are accurately determined, outline the location on the wall with a framing square and pencil and cut the opening. Then set the door frame into place, using a framing square to make sure that it is square and level; use shims to adjust as needed. Then set the door in place using the hinges.
Online contributing editor for, Jilda Peterson has extensive design experience, using wrought iron door toppers and wrought iron wall grilles.

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