How to Install an Iron Door

Have you just recently received an iron door and need it installed now? Fortunately, the installation can be done by yourself and a friend or two. However, it’s crucial that the installation is done properly and with care. A poorly installed door can result in damage being done to your door and your home, and it will leave your home less secure. If you follow the steps in this guide, you should be able to properly install your iron door without any problems.

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Some Terminology

When talking about installing doors, we’ll be using some terms that you may not have heard before. To help you easily understand the installation process, we’ll explain what those terms mean here.

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Level & Plumb

When we say something needs to be level, we mean that it needs to be perfectly horizontal. If something is out of level, then it’s at a slight upward or downward angle. If a door is installed out of level, this can result in the door not fitting as it should and rubbing against the frame. Not only can this lead to damage to the frame and door over time, but it will also reduce the energy efficiency of the door because it’ll be able to let in a draft.

Similarly, plumb refers to a perfect vertical alignment. A door that’s been installed out of plumb can also cause problems such as sagging and unwanted opening and closing of the door.

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Square

Being square means having a 90-degree angle, or being both plumb and level. Your door needs to be installed square to prevent the host of issues that were described above.

True

Finally, being true means that the door is installed square on all sides. This means it’s square not only from the front but also from the side. This is what you’re aiming for when you’re installing your door. If it’s installed true, then you can be confident that your home will be secure, and that your door won’t be getting damaged from improper installation.

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Installation Process

Now that you understand what level, plumb, square, and true mean, you’re ready to get started on the installation process. Some steps need to be completed before you start installing the door and the frame, and those steps are important for ensuring your door is installed true. Also keep in mind that installing your door will be much easier if you have help from at least one other person, especially when you need to put the door in the frame. This will help keep you safe as well as mitigate any risks of damage to your new door.

Pre-Installation

The first step before installation is making sure your door jamb (the outer components of your door frame) will fit into your home. To do this, you’ll need to measure your door’s rough opening, which is the size of the opening in your wall meant to receive the door. As a rule, the rough opening of the frame should be at least 1/2″ larger than the outside of the jamb on all sides.

Before installation, it’s also good to make sure that the framing is strong and secure. Your door is only as good as what it’s being installed to. If the wall surrounding the door isn’t properly secured, that could result in unwanted movement after installation, which can then damage your door and your home.

It’s also important to ensure the floor beneath the doorway is properly level. Installing a door across an uneven floor causes one side to be higher than the other, which can result in problems closing the door. If your floor isn’t level, you’ll have to put shims on the lower side of the floor to even it out.

Installing the Frame

After you’ve finished the prep work, you can move on to installing your frame. It’s recommended to help weather-proof your door with silicone sealant applied to the subfloor before you place your frame. Set your frame centered in the rough opening and secure the brackets to hold it in place against the framing. Check that your threshold is resting flat on the floor and there is no debris underneath the jambs. Once you’ve ensured that the frame is plumb with the wall, you can start screwing in the frame. Although this step isn’t necessary, you may also want to consider pre-drilling pilot holes for your screws. This will help prevent studs from splitting, which would weaken the strength of the installation.

Attaching the Iron Doors

Before putting your door in the frame, we recommend removing the glass to reduce the weight and make installation easier.

If you need to attach shoes or sweeps to the bottom of your door, that needs to be done before putting it in the frame. We would recommend covering a couple of sawhorses with blankets and using those to rest your door on. From there, you can screw shoes or sweeps to the bottom of your door. You’ll also need to grease your door’s hinges before putting it in the frame, so you can do that here as well.

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 at the bottom hinge, set the door into place while making sure both hinges are sliding in at the same time. Once it’s in, you can slowly open and close the door a few times to check that there’s no interference, and that the top of the door is even against the frame. If you have a second door, repeat the installation on the other side.

Once all doors are installed, you can place the glass back in and install any necessary hardware, such as handles and locks.

Checking Your Work

After the door has been placed, you should do a check to make sure the frame and each door remain true. Jambs can bend during installation, so it is recommended to check that they haven’t. Finally, check for any damage to the door’s finish that may have occurred during the installation. 

While it may feel like a hassle to make immediate adjustments if necessary, it’ll become a much larger problem if you leave it to be fixed later. During the time it takes to get back to it, the improper installation could cause damage to your door or frame that you may end up needing to pay to get fixed.

Photo from Bighorn Iron Doors gallery

Get Help with Your Installation

As manufacturers of iron doors, the team at Bighorn Iron Doors are installation experts. If you’d prefer professional help over doing the installation yourself, don’t hesitate to contact our wonderful team. We guarantee a true installation that you can be confident in!

To learn more about iron doors, including how to maintain your door, you can visit our blog. If you have any specific questions, feel free to get in touch with our staff either online or by calling us at (833) 811-7199.

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