How to Replace Exterior Doors: A Home Improvement Guide

New Exterior Door

Mom purchased a small home down the street from us. We made several improvements to this house before she moved in. One of those improvements was replacing exterior doors.

Part of the renovation process was replacing exterior doors and in one situation, replacing a window with a door.

The front door was a solid door. Mom wanted a door with half glass to allow for more light and to be able to see who was at her front door.

The door leading to the porch was a half-glass door. Mom wanted to change this door to a full glass French door. This would allow for more light and enable her to have a better view of the lake.

Finally, Mom wanted to replace a window with a door to enable her direct access to the carport. For more detailed information on how to replace a window with a door, click HERE.


  • New doors (Prehung with brickmould) NOTE: Pay attention to the size of your door, the way in which you want the door to open, and the location of the doorknob. More specifically, if you need a left or right-hand inswing door. We purchased steel doors for durability.
  • Flat crowbar
  • Sawzall
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Drill and Screws
  • Level
  • Exterior trim
  • Interior trim
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • If desired: new lock, doorknob, etc.

Below, I describe how we installed new exterior doors.

Remove the Door from the Hinges

First, remove the pin from each of the three hinges, and then remove the door.

Remove Trim Around the Door

Use a flat crowbar to remove the exterior trim and the interior trim. If you plan on reusing this trim, be careful not to damage it.

Removing door trim

Remove the hardware

Use a drill (or screwdriver) to remove the three hinges, strike plate, and any other hardware around the frame of the door, especially if you plan on reusing any of this hardware.

Remove the Entire Door jam

Use a Sawzall to cut all the screws and nails that are holding the existing door jam in place.  Remove the existing door jam to make room for the new door/door jam.

Preparing the Space for the New Door

Neal had to replace rotten wood in the threshold for one of the doors. Daisy is his helper!

Place New Door in Place

We used a prehung exterior steel door with brick mold. This is the challenging part, so be patient. You want to get this right so the door will close and latch properly. Use a level to ensure the door is properly in place. We used plastic shims as needed to ensure the door was level and plumb. Again, this takes some time, especially when you are working with a door frame that may not be perfectly plumb or level.

Install Trim

Install the interior and exterior trim around the door. If you are using new trim, you will need to cut 45-degree angles on the adjoining trim pieces where the trim meets at the top of the door.

Caulk and Paint

Caulk the trim, set and fill the nail holes, allow the caulk to dry, and then paint. Also, paint the actual door if desired.

Install Hardware

Install the doorknob, latch, and lock.

Enjoy your new door!

Below are before and after pictures of the three doors.

Front Door

Door to the Porch

new doors

And the Door to the Carport

My Mom is appreciative of her new doors and has added a lace curtain on the interior of her front door. This gives her privacy but enables her to see who is at her front door. It also allows the light to come through and brighten her living area. For more detailed information on how to replace a window with a door, click HERE.

Let me know if you have any questions about how to replace exterior doors by commenting below. 


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