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Replacing doors in a home





When buying a home, whether already built or buying off-plan, you might end up with plain hollow-core doors fitted throughout the interior. There’s nothing wrong with hollow-core doors but they aren’t very decorative. Home improvement stores and online buying allows you access to affordable decorative doors, either panel or solid wood, that are easily installed and add far more detail to any home.

Replacing hollow-core doors with decorative doors is a reasonably simple process if you have a few essential power tools in your workshop.


Drill / Driver + assorted bits – or set of screwdrivers
20mm spade bit
Jigsaw or circular saw
Orbital sander + 120- and 180-grit sandpaper
Saw horse or workbench x 2
Wood chisel or Dremel Trio or router bits
Tape measure and pencil

1. The first step when replacing doors is to visit your local home improvement store to see what is available. There are also various online suppliers who manufacture custom doors. You can also keep an eye on local classifieds to see what special are on offer, especially if you plan to replace more than one door.


2. Before removing an old door, and while the door is still mounted in the frame, measure the height and width, as well as the location of the hinges and positioning of the handle and lock mechanism. These measurements need to be transferred onto the new door to ensure proper fitting.


3. Place the new door on a couple of saw horses or workbenches that will allow you to cut the door to size and drill out for the handle and lock.


4. Use a jigsaw or circular saw to trim the new door to size. You will probably find that the bottom of the door needs to be trimmed to the correct height and you can use a jigsaw or circular saw to do this.

Trim any excess from the bottom of the door, unless a substantial amount needs to be cut off, in which case you may need to trim the bottom and top edges. If you are replacing a plain hollow-core door with a decorative panel door, the bottom and top edges are reinforced with pine battens and removing too much from one edge will reduce the amount of reinforcing.



5. Use a wood chisel, Dremel Trio or router to trim out a rebate for mounting the hinges. The rebate should be the same length as the hinges used to mount the door and cut out to the same thickness as the hinge – usually about 3 to 4mm deep.




6. Position the door on its side to drill out for the handle and locking mechanism. Start off by drilling out the cavity with a 20mm spade bit to a depth equal to the width of the locking mechanism. Clean this out with a wood chisel. Have the new lock handy so that you can test fit as you work.


7. Use the new lock as a guide for marking the position for drilling the holes for the handle spindle and keyhole and then drill out with a spade bit.


8. Before mounting the new hardware onto the door, sand all rough edges with sandpaper before painting in your choice of finish. It is easier to paint the door before hanging and perform any touch ups once the door is in place. After that you can mount the hardware.


9. Have someone on hand to assist you when hanging the door, or use a couple of wedges that you can position at the base of the door to hold the door in place as you screw the hinge back onto the door.


Replacing plain hollow-core doors with ones that add decorative detail can do so much to improve a home and won't cost you a fortune.


Janice Anderssen

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