Essential tips on Hanging Doors, internal & external 

Tips on this page cover;

The basics of domestic door hanging are the same for almost every type of door - whether it’s hardwood or softwood, ply flush, moulded or paneled and either a normal or fire check door.

Unless you have a 'door set' where the door is pre-hung in the frame when it arrives on site then ideally the doors are hung before the architraves and door stops are fitted. It's also important that when the door lining or frame is installed it is plumb, in wind and a bit wider than the doors width. Unfortunately, ill fitting frames are far more common than correctly installed frames.

If you hang the door before fitting the architraves first then once in the frame can be wedged toward the door for a perfect gap/fit.

This is the easiest and quickest way to ensure perfect margins between the door and frame. It's not always possible though as sometimes I am re-hanging or replacing existing doors in a clients home, not working in a new build house so the architraves are already fitted. In this instance, the door needs to be scribed and fitted to the already finished frame as neatly as possible.

Determine the size of the doors

Obviously the first thing I do before I start hanging doors is  measure all the openings and make a list of the door size/s I need.<br/> 

Doors are available in both metric (mm) and imperial (ins) sizes.<br/> 

Imperial doors are 78” high (6ft 6”) and come in various widths, 24”, 27”, 30”, 33” (sometimes referred to as 2’, 2’3”, 2’ 6”, or 2ft 9 inches).

Metric doors are taller, 2040mm. And are available 525, 626, 726, 826 or 926mm wide. Bear in mind when measuring them the heights may have been reduced due to floor coverings etc. Also, in old Victorian houses for example doors are often way out of square, miles out of wind and need lots of fitting so the size might not be immediately obvious! I've come across openings that are 30" wide at the top, 28" at the bottom and the head is 3/4" out of level, and the floor was no better! 

Once you've got your doors on site it's really important to store them flat! Otherwise they can warp or twist which will cause problems when you come to hang them.

Types of door available and online suppliers

Internal doors are available in several different styles and manufactured from several different materials, to suit every budget.

For example solid or moulded. Moulded doors have a honeycomb cardboard middle covered in a plain or patterned layer and are lightweight and low cost. Solid doors are exactly that and can be bought with glazed panels, solid panels (2,3,4,6 or 8)and in many different types of timber both softwood and hardwood.

Wickes & B&Q have both got a massive range of doors and will deliver to site or your home if you don't have a good van or trailer you could collect them in yourself.

Get set-up and ready to start hanging

To hold a door in position while you work on it you should spend 3-4 minutes making a saddle, block and wedge. It's quick and easy to make and also keeps the doors edge off the floor while you plane, chop and chisel it. If you make it out of hardwood it should last you forever!

Get your Ironmongery (hinges etc.)

Once the door sizes are determined I then decide on the ironmongery I’ll use.

There are loads of ironmongery options to choose from and consider when hanging new doors. Apart from hinges there's locks, latches, thumb-turns, barrel bolts, hanging hooks and if it's a front door you've also got spy holes, door knocks/knockers and letter plates to consider.

Which hinges to use to hang doors with

If the door I’m hanging is a lightweight moulded or ply flush door I only use two good quality 75mm hinges. Unless it’s a bathroom, airing cupboard or another door to an area that’s subject to high humidity/temperature changes where I'll use a third hinge in the middle as well to help prevent the door warping.

I use 3 x 75mm hinges when hanging doors made of solid pine or another softwood. If the doors I’m hanging are hardwood like Oak three high quality 75mm or 100mm hinges are usually sufficient depending on the thickness/weight.

Pick the right Door Latch 

The latch is the part that the handles control and that locates to hold the door closed. The keep is the striking plate component of the latch that chopped into the frame.

There are lots of different options to consider before choosing which size latch will be best all covered on the mortice latch page.

For pairs of doors, use flush bolts to keep one shut

When a pair of doors are hung, a flush bolt is fitted to the slave door to keep it closed, and hold it firmly in place so the main door has something firm to close up against.

Fire doors are different and there are regulations to follow

When fire check door hanging 3x100mm fire rated hinges are a minimum requirement to comply with building regulations, sometimes 4 are needed when hanging doors that are particularly heavy. Always check with your local building inspector if you are unsure of the number/type of hinges needed. Intumescent fire and/or smoke seals will need to be fitted with a router and sometimes automatic door closers too. 

Because of all the extra work associated with fire doors and how much heavier they are to lift I charge over twice as much as I would for a normal internal door.

Hanging loft conversion Fire Doors

The regulations change quite often so double check with your local building control to make sure that what you plan to do will comply with any relevant loft conversion building regulations

At the time of writing when a loft conversion is installed just like with a townhouse all the internal doors in the house from the hall to habitable rooms need to be upgraded to FD30 fire doors with intumescent strips. It can be expensive hanging doors all through the house but the reason for this is to ensure that the fire can be contained and there is a 30 minute protected means of escape from the loft in the event of a fire (provided the door is shut..).

Habitable rooms include kitchen, bedrooms, study, dining room etc. not cloakrooms, cupboards or bathrooms, although the airing cupboard may need to be changed depending on the inspector. Doors linking a kitchen to a dining room for example don't need to be changed as they are not off the hallway.

In addition, any glazing such as borrowed lights (glass panels above doors) also need to be either replaced with fire rated glass or covered with plasterboard and sealed with an intumescent mastic (cheapest option).

Hanging Cupboard doors

When hanging doors for a cupboard it's not always necessary to use hinges that need to be chopped into the door and lining.

Unless I'm hanging doors that are solid and heavy, when hanging normal hollow core flush/paneled cupboard doors I use flush hinges.

Flush hinges are cheaper and much easier to use as they can be screwed straight on, one part of the hinge closes inside the other. I always put a leading edge on the hinge side of the door before I screw the flush hinges on and make sure the screw heads are small enough to fit inside the countersunk holes in the hinge. This prevents the door from 'binding' and trying to spring open on its own when you close it.

Ready to get started hanging doors?

Click here for step by step instructions on how to hang a door

Here for help hanging a stable door with two leafs (top & bottom section)

Here for help installing the tubular mortice latch and door handles

Here for help adjusting a door that maybe doesn't close or latch properly

Or here to go back to main finish carpentry page