6 Ways You Can Mess Up a Door Installation

6 Ways You Can Mess Up a Door Installation

December 12, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
replacing and installing door

Whether you are replacing your entry doors for practical or aesthetic reasons, you should ensure that you get the right door replacement for your home. 

Replacing your sliding glass doors in San Diego might seem uncomplicated to some homeowners. The truth, however, is that there is more to the door replacement process than just removing your old door and installing a new one. If you're planning a door replacement project and you don't want to make mistakes that can cost you hundreds of dollars, you should leave this task in the hands of experts.

Considering new sliding doors in San Diego as part of your home renovations is completely reasonable, especially if you're looking to up the property value of your home. While many might consider door installation a simple DIY project, unless you have extensive carpentry experience or are well versed in using electric tools, taking on the project yourself might not be the best call. That's because there are many ways you can mess up door installation. For situations like this, it's likely a better option to consider hiring a door replacement service

Below are the most common door installation problems seen when it comes to installing a door. Take a look below to see if you've ever struggled with any of these!

Unevenness at the Top

As the industry's top cause of warped doors, uneven reveals can cause significant long-term problems with a door. The reveals must be parallel to ensure proper operation and long life for the door. If the reveals are uneven, the door will build up pressure over time and warp as the moisture level changes. If a door is hanging with even tension across all three hinges, it will operate properly for years to come.

Using the Wrong Hinge Screws

The right screws, or 3 ½" screws, keep the door stable over time. Too small of screws can allow the door to migrate over time, which can cause it to rub or scrape on the floor or not shut at all. When the screws have been tightened improperly, the door will experience uneven tension and will eventually warp.


Even if you double-check your measurements, there's a chance your new door will fit a little too snugly. It's hard to measure down to the exact millimeter, after all. If your door is too big, you can trim it down to make it fit. But many people tend to over-trim their doors, making them fit too loosely. Only trim a small amount at a time and proceed with caution and care.

Overtightening the Screws

If the screws you use are not long enough, your door will eventually start to move down, resulting in it grazing the floor, and it may not close properly. If screws are too tight or not tightened properly, your slab could begin to warp over time due to the uneven tension.

Having the correct size of hinge screws matters because they hold the door in place. If you decide to DIY, we recommend some sturdy three-and-a-half-inch screws. Seeking an installation manual will help give you a better idea of the required tools and materials for this project.

Ill-Fitting Door Trim

There are some things you can reliably guesstimate, but doors aren't one of them. Correct measurements are crucial to achieving a proper fit. To get the measurements you need, take a tape measure and record the length, width, and thickness of your door and the dimensions of the door frame. For pre-hung doors with a frame, pry off the original framework and measure the entire opening.

Out of Level Sill

When you install a door, the sill also needs to be level, much like the foundation of a home. The sill provides the base for your door, so the door will not be level if it's not level. Take the necessary steps to ensure a level sill before you start the installation. With all of these common mistakes in mind, it will be much easier for you to install an interior door properly. No matter the type, size, or location of the door, all of these concerns should be addressed before or during the installation process. Make sure you have all the necessary tools to perform the perfect installation. Proper installation and high-quality doors ensure that they will last for years to come. 

By starting without a level sill, it's practically impossible to end up with an excellent result for your door installation. The sill is the door's foundation; if it is out of level, the problems compound over the height of the door and become much more difficult to troubleshoot. 

Putting the Shims Backwards

Shims are small wedges of wood that help keep your door level while installing. They're placed between jambs and the rest of the frame. If you place the thick end of the shim toward the hinge pin, it will allow it to close properly. We recommend applying hinges and shims first to ensure a proper installation. Any issues with shim location could result in the door not fitting properly in its frame, which will lead to inevitable damage.

When installing a door, the thick end of the shim should face the door's hinge pin. This helps it swing shut properly. If the shims have been installed backward, the door will begin to resist before it is completely shut. Putting door shims in backward can also contribute to a door that swings open or shut on its own. 

Signs That Your Door Wasn't Installed Properly.

There are many different ways to determine whether or not your door was installed properly. Listed below are some of the most common signs that homeowners should be aware of.

Crooked Door Panels

If you can look at your door and see that it does not fit perfectly into its frame, you've got a crooked panel. Damaged hinges and loose screws are common installation mistakes that cause the door to be crooked. A cracked door frame or door jamb can also be the culprit.

Creaking Sounds

Even if your door isn't visibly crooked, it still might have been installed incorrectly if it doesn't open and close silently. Squeaking every time it's used is a sign that there is friction in some of the door parts. This is usually caused by poorly aligned hinges or frames.

Difficult Operation

Doors should not just operate silently but also smoothly. If your door needs more than just a gentle push to open or close, or if it swings, it was poorly installed.

Floor Marks

To make sure your door was installed properly, you should also check the floor around the entryway. If you notice any scratches or lines that match the direction your door swings, that's a sign that the lower edge is not perfectly parallel with the floor.As a result, it's hitting the floor when used and causing the marks.

Air Leaks And Increased Energy Bills

Does your home often feel cold, even when you have the heater on? Bad door installation might be the reason.


When there are air leaks around an improperly installed door, your home will be drafty and cold. You'll also likely notice an increase in your energy bills since so much heat is being lost through gaps in the door.

Air leaks that result in expensive energy bills are often the result of a poorly installed pre-hung door. A pre-hung door comes packaged within its frame, and it's an installer's job to set the door in the wall and seal the cracks to prevent drafts.

If the installer did not do a good job of installing the door and sealing these cracks, more could develop between the doorframe and the wall, causing drafts and increased airflow.

There are DIY options to draft-proof your door. But, it's still better to look for a long-term solution, especially if you don't want to keep paying ridiculously high energy bills. Recognizing that the draft is probably the result of bad door installation is the first step!

Why You Need to Hire Professionals for Exterior Door Installation 

Door installation, particularly the installation of exterior doors, is not a DIY task. Homeowners should hire quality door contractors. Regardless of your experience with home renovation, leave this job to professionals. Your front door is the first line of defense for you and your family, and there are many other reasons to call pros!

Save You Time 

Professionals who provide installation have the job down to an art. They will work with your schedule and complete the task efficiently thanks to their knowledge and experience. Even if you are adept at DIY repairs, saving money on labor is a bad idea. You will probably regret your decision halfway through the job. Replacing a front door has many nuances that professionals can only handle. Save your time, energy, and effort!

Remove Debris 

Installing a new door requires removing the old one. Professionals will take care of disposal for you. They will leave the job site in the best possible condition.

Professional Experience

When it comes to home renovation projects, nothing beats a professional installer with background experience. Professionals will know exactly how to measure the space so that you get the door with the precise specifications needed and will often have connections to home improvement retailers who will give you optimal pricing for the materials needed. While hiring a professional might cost a bit of extra money, there's huge potential for saving money in the long run as your door installation will likely last longer, and you'll save on your materials costs.

Install Your Door Properly 

Front doors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be made of wood, steel, or fiberglass. Every material and model requires special installation. Heavier doors need stronger brackets.

Installers know what tools to bring and how to fit your door properly. They will ensure you get all of the insulation benefits that go along with the door. Due to DIY miscalculations, your door may not fit the frame properly, exposing your home to heat and cold.

installing door jamb at home

Even if you have the best replacement door, you might still experience energy loss and other issues if it isn't fitted properly. In addition, without precise measurements from the experts, you might end up with a misaligned front door. To ensure that it will function properly and live up to its full potential, you should trust only the experts to install your new door. 

One of the best things about hiring a professional is that they will be able to ensure the door is properly fitted to the frame. One of the main challenges that non-professionals have with door installation is that ensuring the new door is properly fitted to the frame can be a huge challenge. With a professional door replacement service, your heating and airflow won't suffer due to an improperly fitted new door. 

Address Security Concerns and Ensure Safety 

Every homeowner wants their front door to be as safe and secure as possible. Professional installation ensures correct opening, closing, and locking. Installers will check all critical elements like a peephole, alarm system, and camera installations. This will give you and your family peace of mind, as you will have confidence that your home is secure from the outside world.

Exterior doors are heavy, big, and difficult to transport. DIY installers can get serious injuries from trying to lift and carry them!

If you're interested in having any of your doors replaced, you should check out some of the amazing services we have to offer at US Window and Door. Our expertly trained professionals will work with you to ensure that your door replacement takes place as efficiently as possible. Schedule an free in-home estimate to learn about how we can install your new doors!