Can You Replace A Door Frame Without Replacing The Door?

The door in your home is more than just an entrance to your comfort place; it's your first line of security. So, it can become problematic if it starts showing signs of degradation. And most often, the cause of this damage is the door frame. Repairing it can be troublesome since it's where the door is hinged. So, you wonder if replacing the door frame without replacing the door is possible. We did the work to bring you the answer.

You can replace the door frame without replacing the door, provided that the door is still in good shape. Accomplishing this task does not necessarily require you to hire a professional and spend a ton of money. With a lot of patience and the right tools, you can make your door open and close up again smoothly. 

Now that you know you can replace the door frame alone, the next question is: how can you do it on your own? Accomplishing a challenging task without outside help is exhilarating, after all. Keep reading because we'll give you detailed instructions in this blog.

Handyman installing door with an mounting foam in a room. Worker assembles the door frame, Can You Replace A Door Frame Without Replacing The Door?

How easy is it to replace a door frame?

Replacing a door frame is not easy because this task is generally characterized as medium to difficult level work, especially when you don’t have the skills, a lending hand, or the tools. That’s why you will find yourself in a better mood if you let a professional do the job. 

But if you’re a patient and unrelenting do-it-yourself kind of guy, then this is just another challenge you can take on. Just remember to have the following tools beforehand:

  • Protective gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Claw hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Crowbar
  • Utility knife
  • Wood chisel
  • Spring return or pocket tape measure
  • Galvanized nails
  • Emulsion
  • Sealant
  • DPC Strips

Door Frame Replacement Guide

Step 1: Remove the door, trim, and shims

With the right tools prepared beforehand, start by removing the door from the door jamb. Get someone to support the door, and proceed to loosen the hinges using a power drill or a screwdriver. Set the door aside and discard the hinge pins from the door jamb. 

With the utility knife, remove the caulk that adheres to the trim. Afterward, look for an opening where you can insert a crowbar. Then, slowly and carefully pry away the trim from the frame until it’s completely removed. To avoid damaging the wall, insert a small flat wood in between the wall and the trim. 

Once the trims are removed, look for the shims, which are flat pieces of wood usually found between the jambs. Knock them off the jambs using a hammer and a chisel. 

Step 2: Measure the current door frame

Get your spring return and measure the door frame first. This will serve as your reference when creating or buying a door frame. Refer below to get the right measurements for the width, height, and thickness of the frame. Use the measurement dimension you prefer. 

  • Width - Extend the tape measure from end to end of the door. Get the measurements of the upper, middle, and bottom parts of the door. 
  • Length - For measuring the length of the jamb on both sides, place the tip of the tape measure on the floor and then extend to where the jamb ends. 
  • Thickness - We are referring to the thickness of the jamb here. Position the tape measure horizontally, and simply measure the actual width of the door jamb from the wall. 

Step 3: Remove the door frame

Using the handsaw, cut anywhere the door jamb at a downward angle. This will make the removal process easier. Cutting through the door frame instead of directly prying the whole jamb will help minimize the damage on the wall. Afterward, remove nails left behind using the claw hammer for safety reasons.

Step 4: Installing the new door frame

Assuming you’re done creating or buying a new door frame, you’re now ready to put it in place. The installation process is basically just the reverse process of the first three steps, less the second step. 

Get another person to help you position and tack in with galvanized nails the door frame on the door opening using a power drill or the hammer. Once done, insert shims on the opening of the jamb. Specifically, you need to add the shims at the top and on the sides of the door jamb. 

Put the screws in place after adding the shims and proceed to insulate the edges. 

With all the other parts installed, you can now nail the new trim or add back the old one if it is still in good shape. Then, finish the installation process by caulking the edges of the trim and let it dry. Once dry, you can re-install your old door. And you’re done repairing the new door frame. 

How much does it cost to replace a door frame?

Construction handyman installing the interior door molding

On the other hand, if you’re not a very capable do-it-yourselfer, you can call in a professional to do the work for you. Just prepare for the costs. 

Door replacement can cost you around $40 to $440, depending on the extent of the damage, the type of door frame, and the amount of labor. Let’s take a better look at the different costs with respect to the three factors.

  • French door frames - $210 
  • Sliding door frames - $100 - $240 
  • Pocket door frames - $40 - $280
  • Pre-hung door and frames - $100 - $440

What is the difference between a door jamb and a door frame?

By now, you have come across the terms door jamb and door frame in the steps above. You might be getting confused on these two terms, so we’re going to clear that up now. 

The main difference between a door frame and a door jamb is their role in the main structure of the door. A door frame is what holds every part of the door, including the jamb. The door jamb, as part of the frame, serves as a surface that holds the hinges to keep the door in place.

When should a door frame be replaced?

As you have seen above, door frame replacement will take a lot of effort and money. So, unless necessary, keep your current door frames. 

But, regardless if you’re prepared or not, certain situations can really push you to replace the door frame, such as the following:

  • When the door frame is all banged up and bound to fall off. This can result in difficulty opening or closing the door. Worse, the door may stop functioning altogether. 
  • When air and cold seep in despite the house being closed off. A door frame that needs replacing can have cracks and gaps in them already, which can render your insulation useless. 
  • When termites start to gnaw at the door frame. This can cause the door frame to rot and disintegrate, which may result in more severe damage. Upon noticing, immediately consider replacing the door frame or calling in a professional. 

The door frame serves as the sole structure or framework that holds or supports the door. Thus, keeping the door frame in its prime or replacing it with a new one when the situation calls for it is essential. 

In Summary

Keeping your doors stylish and functioning should always be on top of your priorities. Conduct periodic inspections of all the doors in your home, preferably every 3 years, to keep track of each door’s condition. And if you find that the door frames need replacing or repair, know that you can certainly replace them on your own by following the steps in this blog. 

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