Fitting an external door is not very different to fitting an internal one, both are shaped to fit and require hinges. However, there is quite a bit more involved with external doors, due partly to the fact that they are much heavier, making it harder work lifting and manoeuvring. There is also work involved that would not be required with most internals, these include glazing and the fitting of locks and other security devices such as bolts, chains and a door viewer. There are also weather bars and thresholds to fit, as well as in the case of a front door an aperture for a postal letter plate. In addition to this, because an external door is exposed to the elements, consideration must be given to the type of paint that will be used to protect it.
When choosing a new front door the first thing usually considered is how the door will look when fitted. There is nothing really wrong with this approach as long as security is also kept in mind, as there is the possibility of security being forfeited for the sake of style. Glass in an external door is a popular decorative feature, and allows light into an otherwise dark hallway, but it can also be seen as a weak spot by the opportunist, for this reason I would suggest avoiding it where possible.
Door thickness should also be considered; 44mm is the traditional and recommended size, rather than 40mm.
It is also a good idea to check the way the door has been constructed as there are two methods used, again the traditional mortice and tenon joins are superior to the dowelled version.
The most popular choice in external doors is the Panel door; they are strong, attractive and come in a wide variety of styles. The only drawback being that they can be difficult to paint due to having many recesses and moldings and if the right amount of care is not taken, a less than satisfactory paint job could result. Because the panels are recessed rainwater can lodge in the corners and if not properly sealed, water ingress can occur at these points effecting the door joints.
Because doors come in standard stock sizes, you simply need to check your existing against the door chart provided to ascertain the size you need. You will more than likely find that your existing door is slightly smaller than the standard, this is quite normal, and it simply means that the door has been reduced to fit that particular door frame. This is in fact the ideal situation, as not all door frames are square and for a door to be a perfect fit it will need to be shaped. I should stress that the amount that can be safely taken off a door is minimal, so choosing the correct size to start with is very important.
Having decided on the type of door, you will need to plan and consider materials and procedures. To begin with, do you have all the necessary tools and are they up to the job? I've included a chart of tools that you will definitely need as well as additional tools that will make the process easier, but are not essential. Two trestles will also be required to carry the door while working on it, as well as a couple of timber wedges for raising it when adjusting the height.
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