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How To Replace Door Frame [While Keeping The Door]

If your door frame is now ruined by damage acquired over time, it is probably time to replace it! You may not know how to do this, but don't worry. We have researched the topic, and here is what you should do:

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

You can still keep the door even if you replace its frame. To do so, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Remove the door, trim, shims, and strike plate (optional).
  • Get the door frame's measurement.
  • Draw out the door frame. 
  • Prepare the door frame kit's parts.
  • Assemble and secure the jambs and header together.
  • Insert the frame in the opening.
  • Attach the frame to the opening.
  • Install the trim and door back.

We will discuss each of these steps thoroughly to make sure you are following the right procedure. While we're at it, we'll  present some ideas to make your door frame look better. If you want to learn about these topics, keep on scrolling. 

Carpenter replacing the door frame, How To Replace Door Frame [While Keeping The Door]

Replacing The Door Frame

Open door in empty room

Replacing a door frame is something you can do yourself if you know how to drill, screw, hammer nails, measure, and apply insulation foam. If you can do these things, you'll save the $400 to $700 that you may be paying for professional help. Since you are doing this on your own, here is a detailed step-by-step procedure on how you can replace your door frame while keeping the door. 

Before you start any of the steps, make sure to wear protective gloves and glasses. This will protect you from injuries and the debris from the wood that you will remove. If you're unsure about any part of this procedure, it is best to call a professional carpenter. 

Step 1

Open the door until you see the hinges. Using a screwdriver or a power drill, remove the screws on the part of the hinge that is attached to the frame.

Ask for help with this step. The door will become heavier and will need to be held in place as you remove the screws one by one. Have your partner hold it while you're doing this. Once done, place the door in a clean, dry spot.  

Step 2

Look for the caulk along the point where the trim and the wall meet. Get a utility knife or a cutter and run its pointed edge along the lining. This will help make the casing or trim easier to remove. 

Step 3

Once you're done cutting off the caulk, you will see a space between the trim and the wall. Grab your pry bar and insert it on one side (preferably on the upper or bottom end). To dig deeper, use force or a hammer and carefully hit the pry bar. Once a bigger space is made, pull the board back towards you.

Repeat this movement upwards or downwards until you reach the other end. Remember, you will need to be as gentle as you can be if you are planning to use the same trim later on.

When you're done, the board may have nails protruding. Flatten or remove them to avoid stepping on them.

Step 4

Using the same process as removing the trims, align the chisel with the lining of the shims. Press it down and hold it tight as you hit the chisel's butt to force a gap. 

Step 5

If the strike plate isn't attached to the rough opening, you do not need to do this step. However, there are instances where the hardware used to attach the strike plate is biting into the rough opening as well.

This may be a hindrance when you remove the frame. Using a power drill or a screwdriver, unscrew the hardware to remove the strike plate. 

Step 6

Use a tape measure and get the door's size. Get its length (how tall) and width (how wide). To get the length, pin the measure's end on the line between the upper header and the wall. Stretch it downwards until you reach the floor. Do the same to the center and the other side.

For the width, use the top left outer lining of the frame as the starting point. Extend the tape measure to the right until you reach the next end of the frame.

Repeat the same on the center and bottom points of the door. To make sure you provide the store with the accurate measurements of the frame for the kit, jot the digits down on a piece of paper and label which part is which. 

Step 7

Using a sharp backsaw, cut a slant angle downward on the center part of one of the frame's sides. This will make it easier for you to pry the other parts out the way you did on the trim. Remove the leftover nails around the rough opening with the hammer's claw.  

Step 8

After removing the frame, you may want to clean the area by taking out the parts you detached. Make sure to put the parts which you will put back in a clean, dry area.

The nails associated with the removed wood can cause injury. Flatten them out or wrap them in a puncture-resistant package before disposing of them. 

Step 9

Go to the local hardware store and present the measurements you took earlier. There are jamb kits available that you can purchase.

This jamb kit is composed of the parts you need in building a new frame. However, if no size fits the dimension of your frame, you can request a customized set.

Step 10

Once you're back home, start setting up the kit parts. Look for the header and drill two aligned holes on each of its sides. After that, put the jamb's edges on either side of the header. Nail them down together on the holes you made. 

Step 11

Now that you have the outline of the frame, you need to make sure they're held in place. Fasten a timber on the bottom part of the door, parallel to the header, or a diagonal piece of it on the corner to keep the frame in place. Measure the width between the jambs on the bottom, center, and top portion of the frame and make sure they're the same.

Another method is to check if the header is leveled using a utility square.

Step 12

Insert the frame in the rough opening. Mark the points where you will hit the nails and do a pre-drill on them. Next, using a level, determine if the jambs are level.

If they aren't, insert shims in between the jambs and the wall until it is plumb. Cut the excess parts of the shim. Once corrected, detach the diagonal and base timber you fastened earlier. 

Check out this level on Amazon.

Step 13

Once everything is plumb, start nailing down the frame to the rough opening. Make sure that the hardware is striking through it. Seal the gaps between the frame and wall with foam insulation. While waiting for it to dry, reinstall the strike plate.

Check out this foam sealant on Amazon.

Step 14

Get your trim and nail it back to where it was and apply caulk through its lining again.

Learn more: How Much Paint Do I Need For Trim?

Step 15

Install the door by screwing the hinges to the frame.

Read more here: How Much Space Should You Have Between A Door And The Frame?

What Color Should The Door Frame Be?

clouds in the room

There is no written law on what color the door frame should be. It will depend on your style and preference. However, here are some ideas on how you can make your newly installed door frame look better.

Multicolored

If you want an unusual and playful design, try out this multicolored door frame. This will add more style to your interior.

Minimalist 

If you would like a two-toned style, you can always pair the door frame's color with your baseboard. This can give a cohesive look to your space. 

Playful Combination

If you want more diversity and flavor, you can opt for matching your door and its frame with complementing colors. Depending on how you chose to paint it, this combination of tones can highlight that spot in your home.

Monochrome

Having your wall, door, trim, and door frame be the same color can add a powerful impact to your home. It can create a clean finish and make your room flexible to different themes. 

To Wrap It Up

Home inspector, repairman, insurance adjuster arrives at a customer home. He is examining the front door exterior.

Replacing a door frame includes disassembling the door, trim, shims, and strike plate (only if you have to). You will also need to measure the frame as a reference for when you bought a new one. Using your trusted tools, assemble the door frame kit's parts before inserting it in the rough opening. 

Make sure they are plumb as you attach them altogether. Insulate the gaps and install the door and trim back.  Test the door to see if it is closing and opening properly. If not, check where it is going wrong and make adjustments.

If you can't fix it, call for professional help. Also, you can always adjust the color and finish of your door frame.