These directions summarize some supplies and steps we have found helpful when working with doors. This information is offered for use at your own discretion, and it may or may not be applicable to your specific project. Please consult a professional for more detailed advice regarding your project.


-Jamb – the frame to which a door is secured

-Slab – the actual door itself, without the frame or hardware

-Panels – decorative squares or sections of the door

-Hinge – a metal piece of hardware that attaches to the door and jamb and allows the door to swing open

-Rail – horizontal members of the door structure, found at the top and bottom of the door

-Stile – vertical members of the door structure, found on the hinge- and handle-side of the door

-Casing – the external decorative structure that attaches to the wall, frames the door, and covers up any unsightly edges

-Sill or threshold – the bottom part of a pre-hung door that sits on the ground, touching the subsill, in exterior doors

-Subsill – the floor in door frame, where the door sill will rest

-Weather Stripping – long rubber pieces that go around the door and help seal it from water and air

-Bore – the hole where a door handle will go

-Mortise – the holes in the door that hold hardware, such as hinges or latches

-Lites– the glass set into a doorframe that lets in light, often found on the side or top of the door



-Tape measure, for sizing up the door and finding a good replacement

-Flatbar or flathead screwdriver, for knocking the hinge pins out of the original door

-Hammer, for knocking the hinge pins out of the original door

-Chisel, for chiseling a mortise for hinges, if necessary

-Drill, for removing hinges, if necessary

-Skilsaw, for trimming down the door, if necessary



  1. Make sure your door jamb is in good shape and does not need to be replaced
    1. Is the jamb straight and even, or is it warped? Does it have a smooth surface, or does it bow and pucker? It’s okay if the jamb is slightly uneven, and there are some nicks and dings. However, if the jamb is extremely warped or rotten, it should be replaced
  2. Measure the current door
    1. Measure both the knob and hinge sides of the door, from top to bottom. The top of the door serves as a good constant in measurements
    2. Measure the width of the door at the top and bottom
    3. Measure the distance to the top and bottom of the hinges, from the top and bottom of the door. It’s usually about 6-7” from the top of the door to the top-most hinge
    4. Measure from the top of the door to the center of the door handle
    5. If the current door fits well into the current jamb, these measurements will serve as a good reference point
    6. Most interior doors are usually about 1 3/8” thick, and exterior doors are usually 1 ¾” thick. Standard heights runs in 2” increments
  3. Measure the size of the hinges, and note their shape
    1. Are the hinges’ corners square or round? Round hinges will fit in a square space, but square hinges will not fit in a round space.
    2. Measure the size of the hinge, in height. A larger hinge can replace a smaller one, but a smaller one may not properly support the door
    3. Also know the radius of the hinge
    4. For easy reference, bring one hinge with you while you shop for your salvaged door
  4.  Finally, determine the swing of the door, and note where the handle lies
    1. Each place has a different way to determine the swing of the door. When in doubt, describe the way you determined the door swing to a customer service rep
    2. Below is Second Use’s criteria for determining door swing
      1. Go to the push side of the door
      2. From there, put your back to the hinge
      3. Extend your arms
      4. If the right hand is closer to the door knob, you have a right hand door, and vice versa
  5. For the simplest transition, find a salvaged door the same size as your original door (if the old door opens and shuts well). Door sizes are relatively standard, so it should be possible to find one close in size to the original
    1. If you fall in love with a door that is slightly larger, it’s possible to cut it down slightly with a skilsaw. However, don’t buy a replacement door any more than 1” in width and 1” in height larger
    2. Buying a slightly smaller door is not recommended, as it will throw off the door’s ability to open and shut correctly
  6.  For the simplest transition, find a salvaged door that uses the same size and shape hinges as the original door
    1. There are also options for choosing a new hinge, but it is much less simple. It will require chiseling out the mortise (shallow hole that receives the hinge) and figuring out how to realign your door, keeping it straight
  7. For the simplest transition, find a salvaged door with the same swing and handle as the original door
    1. If the swing and handle do not match, you will have to do surgery on the door jamb, chiseling out new mortises, replacing hinges, having an added challenge of making the door plumb, etc.
    2. Also, if they do not match, they may not even fit your space correctl
  8. After you’ve purchased your replacement door, remove the original door from its jamb by knocking the hinge pins out of the hinges with a flat bar or flathead screwdriver and hammer
    1. To keep the door from wobbling and falling, stick something underneath it. This could be a t-shirt, a book, a sandal, shims, etc.
    2. When removing the hinges, start at the bottom and work your way up
    3. This job is best done with two people—one holding the door, and the other working on the hinge pins
  9. The door will pop right out. Set it aside
  10. Transfer the original door’s hinges to the replacement door’s mortises
  11. Set the replacement door in the doorjamb, lining up the hinges as best as possible
  12. Put the hinge pins back into place with a hammer
    1. Again, this job is best done with two people—one person to hold and adjust the door, and the other person to secure the hinge pins