Measuring Doors for Replacement
Take careful measurements to choose the right door for your room
By Vance Holloman
Replacing doors is a simple way to change the look of a room or a house. With a variety of styles available to choose from, decide if you want to buy a slab door (one that comes with no hinge mortises or handle holes) or one that is ready to accept hardware. Next, take a few simple measurements and order your new doors. Doors are measured by feet and inches. A 2-8 door is a door that is 2 feet, 8 inches wide, not 28 inches wide.
- What You Need to Know
- You'll need an accurate tape measure and a notebook to record your measurements.
Measure the width of the door. Measure on the side of the door that has hinges.
Determine the height of the door by measuring from the top of the door to the bottom of the door. Most doors found in homes are either 6 feet, 8 inches or 8 feet tall. You might rarely see a door that is 7 feet tall.
Measure the thickness of the door. While you may be able to make a door with a different thickness work, it will require changing hinges and moving the doorjamb. Many doors come "pre-hung," meaning that they come with a frame for installation. If you are planning on using replacement doors that are called slabs, or doors that come with no hinge mortises or doorknob holes, then you are finished and ready to order your new doors.
Verify the swing of the door. With the door shut, stand on the side of the door that has the hinge barrels visible. Whichever side of the door has the handle is what swing the door is. For example, a door handle on the right side is a right-handed door. This step is crucial because if you order your door with the wrong swing, you will have to change and patch the hinge mortises to hang the door properly.
Determine the handle backset (the distance from the center of the hole drilled for the handle to the vertical edge of the door) by measuring from the middle of the handle hole to the closest edge of the door. Standard backset sizes are 2 3/8 inches and 2 3/4 inches. If you're replacing an old door and you'll be using an antique knob or lock set, remove the hardware from the original door and measure the exact position of the existing holes, marking them on the new door so the door closes and latches properly.
Measure the distance from the top of the door to the top of the top hinge and the distance from the bottom of the door to the bottom of the bottom hinge. You will need this information to make sure the hinge mortises in the new doors are correct.
About the Author
Vance Holloman is a residential contractor; his writing is based on two decades in the construction industry.
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