We are slowly replacing the interior doors in our home for solid core ones with more style. Here’s how easy it is to do yourself.
What I Used
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- hinge marker*
- hole saw*
- hinge mortise template*
- mini router*
- door latch jig*
- solid door*
There are several different ways to go about mortising a hinge for a new interior door. Watch my video above to determine which method you want to use before buying what you’ll need!
Mortising is just making a small cut so that the hinge is recessed into the door trim and/or side of the door itself. Either method you use below, you’ll want to start replacing an interior door yourself by measuring the top hinge on your existing door.
Add 1/8 of an inch and mark the side of your door from the top edge with that measurement. Now you’re ready!
When you’re just replacing the door on the inside of your house, you’ll order what’s called a slab door. That just means it doesn’t come with any holes already drilled. Nor does it come with trim or a door jam. A door unit, on the other hand, comes with a door hung in an adjustable door jam with hinges, door stop molding, a hole for a door knob and most of the time case molding too!
Old School Chisel Way
The first way I’m demonstrating replacing an interior door yourself is with a wood chisel. Line the butt marker on your top hinge mark and hit the center with a hammer. The marker creates 2 divots that are the depth you need to chisel to. It also outlines the shape of your hinge!
Hold the chisel fairly flat along the mark as you slowly and carefully tap the end of the chisel. You don’t need to remove a lot at once, especially if it’s your first time using a chisel! Another technique is to hold the chisel straight up and down and make multiple marks to the depth of the butt marker and within the hinge area.Then turn your chisel horizontal and continue removing ‘the meat’ of the hinge area until it’s all gone!
Fast Power Tool Way
I hate the idea of buying a bunch of gadgets just for one project. Especially when they have very specific uses. But we originally had 10 doors to replace in our house. So the cost of some door installation gadgets spread out over 10 uses was a worthwhile investment!
So far the hall bathroom, the girls’ room, our bathroom, and the kitchen have all received new doors. That leaves 2 hall closets, the master bedroom and Gus’s doors left to improve.
To use the nifty Ryobi hinge template, you’ll need a small (mini) router. Might be a good tool to borrow from a neighbor if you just have 1 or 2 doors to replace! I personally don’t use a router very often, so I wouldn’t get my money’s worth in future projects.
Set the template on your top hinge mark and tighten the clamps. I found my doors to be a tad narrow for the template so I had to hold it in place. Then attach the included router bit and set the depth of the router. Start shallow and increase if needed after one pass.
Slowly run the router around the outer edge of the template to get the outline of your hinge. Then run it back and forth until the whole area has been routed!
Dry fit your hinge to check the depth of your cut. Do another pass with the router’s depth set a little lower if necessary.
Zip! Zip! Using the template and router gives you the cleanest cut and the quickest job! But when you replace interior doors yourself it might not be worth it for just one door! It’s definitely not a project you’ll do everyday!
To mortise your second and/or third hinge, you’ll want to measure from the bottom of the top hinge to the top of the bottom hinge on the old door and mark on the new door. Route or chisel until complete!
Drill Hole for Knob
After attaching your hinges to your new mortises on the edge of the door, it’s time to hang it up! If you’re measurements were correct, you will be able to hang the new hinges in the same holes as the old hinges.
In order to have a fully functional door, you’ll then need to drill holes and install a doorknob on your slab door. This requires a 2-1/8 inch hole saw and a 7/8 inch spade bit or hole saw. Drilling a hole in a brand new door is nerve-racking! Just take your time and double check your measurements and it’ll be fine!
One last reminder to watch the video above for all the visual details and more tips! It really can be easy to replace an interior door yourself. You just need a friend to show you how first.😉
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea
*This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from your purchase without increasing the price for you!*
As a single mom, you have made my home life chores and projects very doable!
Thank you, Ms. Chelsea!
Chelsea Lipford Wolf says
Thank you so much for brightening my day with your sweet comment! ~Chelsea