The doors to your home are crucial – they help provide privacy and security, and they also keep out the elements. While doors do weather, and are subject to damage, the door frame is as well. In many cases, you may find that the door frame needs to be replaced with or even before the door does. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to know how to measure a door frame for replacement. Note that this is also an ideal time to replace the door, as well.
What is the door frame?
Unless you’re a carpenter or contractor, you may have some confusion about what a door frame actually is. Technically, it’s the frame that supports the door and the lock plate. It is not the trim pieces that cover the underlying wood (it IS the underlying wood). If you’re simply replacing worn or damaged trim pieces, you’ll just need to measure the existing pieces to get the right dimensions.
Remove the door
The first step will be to remove the door from its mounting. You can usually do this by pulling the hinge pins out of the hinges. Note that you’ll most likely need a flat head screwdriver and a hammer to get the pins out. You also need a helper to prevent the door from falling when the last pin is removed (the door may remain in place, but it may fall, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry).
Remove the trim and measure
Now, you’ll need to remove the veneer from the inside of the door frame (left, right and top). This will reveal the header and both left and right jack studs (these form the actual door frame). Take measurements from the left jack stud to the right jack stud (or vice versa) and record the number. It’s wise to take three measurements here. Start at the top of the doorway, then measure in the middle, and then measure at the bottom. Use the smallest measurement of the three.
Next, take a measurement from the bottom of the header (the top piece that sits over the door) down to the floor. Measure from both the left and right corner of the header at the top to the flooring at the bottom. This is the door frame measurement.
The measurements you just took can be used to create a new door frame, but you can also buy pre-hung doors with built-in frames with them. A lumber yard (or DIY box store) can use those measurements to supply you with options for a replacement door and frame. It’s really recommended to replace both at the same time. If you’re set on keeping your old door, though, you can have a lumber yard build a new door frame based on the dimensions you supply them.
Door and hinge measurements
If you decide that replacing both the door and door frame is the way to go, you’ll need measurement from the door and from the hinges. For the hinges, measure the position of the hinges relative to the door frame (it helps to sketch the door, door frame and hinge positions, noting the measurements for each). You’ll also need to know the dimensions of the door, as well as the door reveal, and the physical size of the hinges when folded flat (spread out).
With this information, you should be able to measure for a replacement door and door frame and find the right option for your specific needs.
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