Have you got a new door at home that needs hanging? Not quite sure where to start? We have some tips here that should help you out!

Generally speaking, where practical, a door to a room is hung so that even when only partly open it shields most of the room ensuring privacy. 

Hanging a door is a two-man job. Check that the frame is square to begin with using a steel framing square. Adjust the frame if necessary with packing, nailing or adjusting screws. Choose the hanging stile. You might find it easier to stick a nail into the door face to act as a handle on the side which is going to fit against the stops; put it somewhere where any mark will not be noticed. Put the door in place. Use the nail to life the door and place a chisel under each side at the bottom and adjust until the gap is equal on both sides. An alternative is to tack a piece of string to the top of the top rail and use this to pull the door into place.

Scribe the stiles to allow for 1.59mm (1/16 inch) for polished timber to 2.38mm (3/32 inch) for painted doors. Allow a gap beneath the door in accordance with the floor covering e.g. 6.25mm (¼ inch) for a hardwood floor, 12.5mm (½ inch) for carpet. Pull the door against the outside of the jamb and scribe a mark at the top of each side along the top rail in line with the inside of the top of the door frame. Move the door away at the top and check if the marks are equidistant from the top edge of the top rail. Use a pair of dividers to do this.

If they are equal you can now transfer this to the bottom of the door by scribing a line along the bottom rail using the dividers. Cut the bottom of the door along this line and plane it true. If one of the marks at the top of the door is higher than the other, set the dividers to the higher mark (the smaller distance) and use them to scribe this distance along the bottom of the door.

Cut the waste from the bottom of the door and plane. Using the marks at the top of the door as a guide, scribe a line above and parallel to them finishing at the top corner of the higher side (you only need to take the minimum amount off since you have already made allowance for clearance in cutting the bottom rail). You can cut the top here. Saw and plane the stiles in the same way.

Put the door in the frame and wedge underneath. Hammer a couple of nails into the jambs to hold the door in place, ensuring you have an even gap all around the door. Mark the positions of the tops and bottoms of the hinges so that they are 37.5mm (1½ inches) away from the end grain of the door rails. Remove the door and square these locations around the hanging stile of the door and the inside of the jamb. Use a gauge to scribe these cut lines. Cut with a hand saw and chisel out with a paring chisel.

For aesthetic reasons, don't house the hinge so that it stands too far out (unless you are going to use a heavy architrave around the door frame). Try to set your gauge in line with the centre of the hinges knuckle and the outside of the flange to scribe the width of the housing. This way when in place, about half of the hinge's knuckle protrudes. The depth of the housing should be equal to the depth of the hinge's flange. Use countersunk screws so they do not protrude. Screw the hinges to the door.

Once the hinges are on, wedge the door at right angles to the frame and push the flange of the top hinge into its housing. Secure it with one screw but don't screw it all the way in. Now adjust the floor wedge until the second hinge slides into its housing. Screw into place. If the housings are too deep then the door will be 'hinge-bound'. You will need to pack in behind them.


Here we shall consider installing a mortise lock to a door. The important thing to bear in mind is not to try and channel out the mortise so that the lock fits into it too tightly since if the back of the mortise is not fully aligned with the front then the spindle will be out of line.

Hold the lock against the face of the door where you intend it to be located. For a solid wooden door this will be in the centre of the lock rail. For a flat door this will be roughly half-way. Position it so that the face plate is flush with the edge of the door. Use a pencil to mark the top and bottom of the lock against the door face. Try to avoid mortise and tenon joints of lock rails or other joints of cross members since you don't want to weaken them.

Square the two lines from the door face around the edge of the door and mark the centre line. Use a spade bit slightly thicker than the lock (by about 3.175mm or ⅛ inch) and bore out holes down the vertical centre line on the door edge. To ensure you only drill to the right depth use a drill guide or attach some electrical tape to the correct depth on your drill bit. Use a paring chisel to smooth out the mortise.

Insert the lock into the mortise and mark around the face plate. Remove the lock and chisel out the recess for the face plate. Insert the lock back into the door and ensure that the face plate is flush with the edge of the door.

Now place the lock against the face of the door once more with the face plate flush with the door edge. Use a bradawl to mark the position of the spindle and top and bottom of the keyhole. Drill out these holes using appropriately sized wood bits. Check that the holes run all the way through and tidy up from both sides. You might prefer to drill the keyhole as two holes and tidy with a keyhole saw.


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