How to Install a Steel Door

If you’ve recently received a new steel door, you’ll now need to learn how to install it. The installation process can be done relatively easily without professional help as long as you have someone else to help you with it. A second person around will ensure your safety along with the integrity of your new door. Although it can be easy to install the door yourselves, it’s also essential to make sure you’re doing it correctly. An incorrectly installed door can lead to problems in the future, such as damage to your door or your home. Sticking to the following instructions will ensure your door is securely and safely installed.

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The Installation Process

  1. Measure your door’s rough opening to make sure the door jamb will fit into your home. This means measuring the opening in your wall where you’ll install your door. You generally want the rough opening to be 1/2″ larger than the outside of the door jamb on all sides.
  2. Ensure your framing is strong and secure. If the wall surrounding your door isn’t properly secured, that could result in unwanted movement after the installation. Making sure your framing is secure will prevent damage to your door in the future.
  3. Check that the floor beneath the doorway is level. If it isn’t, your door will be higher on one side than the other, causing problems when you try to open and close the door. If you find it isn’t level, you’ll need to put shims on the lower side to even things out.
  4. Optional: Apply silicone sealant to the subfloor. Taking this step before installing your frame will help weather-proof your door.
  5. Center your frame in the rough opening and secure it in place with the brackets to hold it in place.
  6. Check that your threshold is resting flat on the floor and that there’s no debris between the door frame and the house.
  7. Ensure the frame is plumb with the wall.
  8. Optional: Pre-drill pilot holes for your screws. This step will help prevent studs from splitting, which will ensure the strength of your installation.
  9. Screw the frame into the studs of the doorway.
  10. Optional: Remove the glass from your door before putting it in the frame. This will make the door lighter and easier to maneuver, and you won’t need to worry about shattering the glass.
  11. If you’re attaching shoes or sweeps to the bottom of your door: Rest your door on its side. We’d recommend covering a couple of sawhorses with blankets and resting your door on those. From there, you can easily attach the shoes or sweeps to your door.
  12. Grease your hinges.
  13. With two people, carry the door to the frame and hold it perpendicular to the doorway. With one person adjusting the top hinge and the other person adjusting the lower hinge, set the door in place. It’s important to make sure that both hinges are sliding into place at the same time.
  14. Slowly open and close the door a few times to make sure there’s no interference and that the top of the door is even against the frame.
  15. Repeat steps 10 – 14 for a second door.
  16. Install any necessary hardware, such as handles and locks

At this point, it’s important to double-check your installation to make sure everything is level and plumb. It’s possible for framing to bend during an installation, which can affect the usability and security of your door. Although you may not want to fix any issues right away, leaving problems for later can exacerbate them and cause further damage to your door and home.

Photo from Bighorn Iron Doors gallery

Try Not to Make These Common Mistakes

For someone who’s new at installing doors, it can be easy to make some mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes in installation can result in issues that end up damaging your door, your frame, or your home. Below are some common mistakes and how to avoid them to help you make the best of your door installation.

Using the Incorrect Screws

Photo by Ben Lodge on Unsplash

Although it may seem like any screw will do, that’s not necessarily true. A 3 ½” screw is the best for keeping your door stable over time. Screws that are too small can allow the door to shimmy and move over time. This can end up causing it to rub or scrape on the floor, or even refuse to close properly. 

It’s also important to make sure you’re tightening the screws properly. Many people believe that the tighter they get, the better, but that’s not true either. Instead, try and get an even amount of tightness for each screw. Over-tightening some screws can leave the door with uneven tension that can cause the door to warp over time.

Hanging the Door Parallel to an Out of Plumb Wall

When putting in your door and frame, you may assume it’s plumb just because it’s parallel with the wall. However, it’s entirely possible for your wall to be out of plumb as well. Therefore, it’s always important to check if the wall is plumb before inserting your frame and your door. If not, you may end up with a door that tends to swing open and closed on its own. If you find you have an out-of-plumb wall, the installation won’t be as easy, and you’ll need to take some extra steps

Not Checking Your Reveals

The outer side of your jamb, otherwise known as the reveal, can have problems of its own. Before putting your frame into your doorway, it’s crucial to check that your reveals are parallel. When the reveals are uneven, pressure can build up on the door over time. This can end up warping it, just like with too-tight screws.

Starting with an Uneven Sill

Your sill, or the bottom of your doorway, is a crucial element of your entryway. Because your frame will be square for your door no matter what, it may seem like you needn’t bother adding shims to even it out. However, even though it may feel like the door was installed well and that there aren’t any problems, leaving the sill uneven will create problems in the long term. There won’t be even support for the door or the frame, which will create a host of problems that will need to be fixed later on. 

Photo from Bighorn Iron Doors gallery

Get Installation Help From Bighorn Iron Doors

If you’re worried about making mistakes or just don’t want to do the installation yourself, consider hiring professional help. As manufacturers of steel doors, the team at Bighorn Iron Doors are also expert installers. Having us install your door will guarantee it’s done without any problems, so you don’t have to worry about the future of your door.

For more information on steel and iron doors, feel free to visit our blog. If you have any questions about steel doors, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team online or by calling (833) 811-7199. If you’re looking to get your own custom-made steel or wrought iron door, you can fill out our online form and check out our gallery for inspiration!

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