How to Install Interior Doors – Robin’s Step by Step

The final part of our internal door installation series, hanging an interior door. Robin Clevett hangs the door in his frame and shows you loads of his carpentry tricks and tips.

This video shows you how to install an interior door that is not prehung and quite a tricky DIY door install.

If you missed the first two parts you can see them here:

Part 1 – How to Fit Door Frame Lining – Fitting Tricks –
Part 2 – Fitting Door Trims, Architraves & Skirting Boards –

Door, handle and accessories from XL Joinery –

How to hang a door like a pro! Follow this guide

XL Joinery has a huge range of modern styles in its range, but it hasn’t neglected the traditional classics such as this 4-panel softwood Shaker style door. Carpenter and joiner Robin Clevett gives us a few of his tips on how to hang a door.

Most people know that fire doors require three hinges but what about non-fire rated doors? When I was at college we were taught that most internal doors could be hung quite happily with two hinges. The exceptions were where the finish was different on either side or where there would be a difference in humidity or temperature. That would be a bathroom door for sure and maybe a kitchen or utility room door. These doors require three hinges and I notice that it is becoming standard practice to fit three hinges. You might suspect that it is hinge manufacturers who are keen to increase their sales by 50% but the real reason is that three hinges helps prevent warping.  We live in an age of quick grown timber and it is therefore doubly important that you keep the door wrapped until you are ready to hang it and then when you do hang it that you don’t leave any bare timber. It might seem like overkill, but I always dab a bit of quick-drying primer or sealer behind the hinges as well as on planed areas.

If you have to shoot a door in, take the same amount from either side rather than just trimming up one side. These XL doors are capped with hardboard but are not hollow.  The hardboard shell means there will be no shrinkage on the panels of rails, but it also means you have that little wrap over on the edges.  I use an electric planer on the jams for greater accuracy but on the top and bottom rails I like to use my track saw to avoid tearing the end grain.

Cutting in Hinges

Back in the day I used to do all the hinges with a chisel when I was an apprentice but now I route them in free hand. It is easy enough to keep the router on the line if you mark the hinge out with a Stanley knife or marking gauge because you can stop short of the line. The router gives you a perfectly flush hinge but sometimes you need to set them in ever so slightly deeper. I usually do a trial fit on flush and then, if I need to reset the router I am good to go with the rest of the do. There is nothing to bear a production line approach. The first door takes an hour or more and the last one takes 20 minutes.

One thing I have on my shopping list is a smaller router. If you are cutting in hinges freehand then a 1/4-inch router that is handheld is a better way to go. I am looking at a few cordless palm routers that are easy to use one handed so watch out for my review on those.

The handles and three hinges came from XL in door fitting packs, which is a really good way of selling all you need. The tubular latch is included and the 65mm back set puts the handle right in the centre of the stile.  You should also not generally fit the latch in line with the mid rail because it can weaken the joint.

One thing I could not do without these days is a pair of air wedges to pump the door up into position. The old-style door lifter was all well and good but a little pump on each bag means you can dock it in precisely.

To be honest I am so busy cutting in roofs for builders these days that I don’t do a lot of second fix work these days. There was a time when I would get set up and in a long day I could do a whole house but not now. Still, I enjoyed myself doing these XL doors and it is good to keep my hand in

The XL primed doors look good, but they need painting with a couple of coats as soon as they are fitted. Remember to apply the same number of coats to each side of the door.  I have seen people leave one side of a door stripped and the other painted and they wonder why they end up with a banana.

About Roger Bisby

Roger Bisby
Roger Bisby is an English television presenter and journalist, known for his expertise in the British building industry.

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