Common Door Installation Mistakes

Five Things You May Overlook When Installing Your New Door

Door installation sounds simple when you think about it. Find a door that fits the frame, screw in the hinges, and voila! Right?

Wrong. That’s why so many people take on the task themselves without understanding what can go wrong.

When doing a door installation, there are many small details that are often overlooked—which can lead to an array of unexpected problems. Some issues you may encounter are a quick fix, while others require a larger overhaul to fix if not caught right away. That’s why, although door installation seems simple, it is better to learn as much about the process ahead of time as possible. If you are overwhelmed or confused, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.

Here are some of the most common errors that can occur when installing a new door:


The most important step to any installation project is taking proper measurements. Doors are not something you can eyeball; you need a proper leveler and measuring tape for accuracy. If a door is even half an inch too big for the frame, it won’t fit. And if you do manage to squeeze it in, the friction will cause damage to the surrounding frame and walls. The measurement of the space where your new door will go is crucial in ensuring the process runs smoothly.

Getting the Hardware Right

Make sure you have all the right equipment for installing your door. This goes beyond having a drill and a leveler. If the hinges and screws you’ve purchased for the installation are too small, problems will occur. If they can’t bear the weight of the door, the door will shift and sag, causing the frame and surrounding wall to eventually crack. If this does occur, it can be costly to repair—and you may need to replace the entire door over again if it gets damage.

Consider your Floors

Many people overlook the floor when installing a door. It is natural for most people to level the door by aligning it with the floor, however the floor itself may be uneven. The door is still hanging off the wall and must be supported by the appropriate accompanying fixtures. If a door is installed at an angle, it puts unnecessary pressure on the hinges and jambs, and this can also cause the door to shift and sag, leading to more serious damage if the problem isn’t addressed.

The following tips are regular installation practices common among the professionals. They catch some of the common mistakes early on, saving you time and money on future corrections and repairs:

Make Sure your Leveling Job is Perfect

Make sure the wall, the frame, and the door are plumb. Plumb is a door-savvy technical term that means everything is vertically leveled. The most important part is making sure the door is plumb with the wall. Fix any walls that aren’t level before installing your new door, because this becomes a much harder fix once the door has already been installed.

The Installation Process

Once everything is properly leveled, it is important to follow a specific order for installation. The hinges and shims should be installed right away—a mistake common among amateurs and DIYers is to install the mechanisms to the door rather than the wall first. Installing a shim backwards leads to a loose fit and is the main reason doors seem to swing open and closed on their own, leading to avoidable wear-and-tear on your brand new door.

Hiring someone to fix a poor installation job is more expensive and more time consuming than having it done right in the first place. Installing a door is a delicate process, and it’s normal that, occasionally, things will go wrong—especially if it’s your first time doing this kind of renovation. You can always consult with an expert and save yourself a headache down the road by hiring a professional from the get-go.

Professional installation technicians are better equipped, and know what to look for before and after installing a door. Ottawa residents have a wide variety of window and door professionals to turn to when refurbishing their home.

Scroll to Top