Replacing an Interior Door: Step-by-Step Guide

Revamp your living spaces by upgrading your interior doors from hollow-core to solid-core ones that enhance durability and reduce noise. This guide will help you replace an interior door yourself, saving you the cost of professional assistance. This article by The Family Handyman Magazine will equip you with step-by-step instructions for a stress-free DIY process.

replace an interior door

Before proceeding, it's crucial to measure the existing door and doorframe with utmost precision. Once you've done that, remove the hinge pins and lift the door out of the doorframe.

The next step involves marking and trimming the new door. Trim the bottom of the door with a table saw or a circular saw to make it fit seamlessly into the doorframe.

measure existing door

Now, place the existing door on top of the new door and align the top edges of both doors. You can then use the existing door as a guide to mark the hinge placement on the new door.


Finally, mark the hinge placement as per your measurements and attach the hinges to the new door. Once you've hung the new door, check if it closes and latches efficiently. Congratulations, you've successfully replaced an interior door!

use the old door as a template

To mark the hinges on the new door, make use of a speed square. On the old door, measure the distance from the door's edge to the hinge's edge, and replicate the measurements on the new door.

mark hinge placement

Next, place each hinge inside the marks on the new door and trace the outline, prop the door to its side, and score the mortise for each hinge with a sharp utility knife. When chiseling out the mortises, keep a steady hand and score the mortises for each hinge as you remove layers of wood.

trace hingesmeasure hinge distance from edge of door

While checking your progress, use a block of wood to protect the hinges as you tap them in place. To bore holes in the slab for the latch and lever, a door lock installation jig can come in handy. When boring holes for the latch and lever, ensure to avoid tearout, which could ruin your new door. Finally, line up the door lock installation jig with the existing door's measurements, bore holes for the latch and lever, and cut the rest of the way through from the underside.

tap hinges in mortiseschisel out hinge mortisesscore hinge mortises

Creating Mortises for Latch Plates

door lock installation jig

We relied on a jig that came with a practical template and a cutting bit to create mortises for the latch plates. The cutting bit was able to remove some of the wood while leaving an outline of the mortise shape.

bore holes in new door

Carving Out Latch Plate Mortises with a Chisel

avoid tearout in new door

With a sharp chisel, remove the remaining wood to attain the desired depth for the latch plate mortises. Once all the mortises are complete, paint the bare wood by applying a coat of paint that matches the door.

mortise the latch plate

Installation of Latch and Lever

chisel out the latch plate mortise

Mount the latch and lever as directed by the manufacturer.

Mounting Hinges with Screws

install the door latch and lever

Identify the center of each screw hole before attaching the hinges using screws. To avoid shaky screws as they are driven in, make use of a self-centering hinge bit to maintain their alignment. Install the new door in the doorframe and repeat these steps for each of your new interior doors.

screw hinges to new door

Originally Published: January 24, 2019

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