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How Do I Install an Antique Door?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

An antique door is a door that is exceptionally old and usually reclaimed or refurbished. It will not usually be any different from a modern door in terms of construction, though a careful inspection of the antique door will be necessary to ensure the construction of the unit will not prohibit typical installation. If old hinges have been removed from the door, the screw holes may need to be filled and new hinges should be hung in different locations. The installation procedure will vary according to the type of door being installed. The two most common types are slab doors and pre-hung doors.

Most antique door models will not be pre-hung models. This means the door is contained within a frame already, and the frame itself will be installed into a wall. A slab door is just the door itself, which will then be hung within a frame that may or may not need to be built as well. If the unit is a slab door, the frame should be built first. Measurements for the frame should be based on the size of the antique door itself, and this can be a tricky process; the frame will need to be slightly larger than the door itself to allow for free movement when the door is opened or closed.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Once the frame has been built, the antique door will need to be fitted with hinges. The hinges should not be installed on the door in the same location as the old hinges, as those holes may be oversized and the new screws can work loose. In addition, installing new screws into old holes can lead to splitting or cracking, thereby damaging the door, possibly irreparably. The hinges must be installed correctly, which means they must be straight and the hinge itself should be oriented correctly. The correct orientation will depend on whether the door will swing inward or outward.

Hanging the door in the frame will require more than one person in most cases. The door must be secured in place where it will be affixed to the frame. A gap should exist between the bottom of the door and the floor to prevent drag. The installer should also check the floor in front of the door and behind it to ensure the floor is even and no other obstructions will prevent free movement of the antique door. A gap must be present at the top of the door between the door itself and the frame.

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