Off-the-shelf door replacement - easy?
July 25, 2010 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Can I replace a 28-inch-wide interior (closet) door with a new one off the shelf at Lowe's or Home Depot, with no carpentry required? Or would I need to rout out the hinge areas and align the knob with the existing hit plate?

Basically, my neighbor needs a new closet door. I think about just showing up with a door, but I'm not into doing a lot of carpentry for this project. Is it likely that a new one would "just fit"? Are hinges placed in standard locations on the door? Not interested in buying a pre-hung door with a frame - don't want to replace the frame (did that once).

We have identical, but reversed-floor-plan, condos, so I'm sure her closet door is similar to mine - standard, 28-inch wide, hollow core.
posted by amtho to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Odds that it will 'just fit' are not good.
posted by jon1270 at 3:51 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

It'd be easy to check. Just sketch out and measure the relative positions of the hinges and the lock mechanism and check the ones you buy against a standard one at the store.
posted by Brockles at 3:53 PM on July 25, 2010

Hanging doors is hard, at least it was for me.

It isn't just where the hinges are, it's that if the building is more than a year old that 90degree angle up in the corner, isn't going to be exactly 90degrees anymore, the new carpet isn't going to be exactly the same height as the original carpet and might not even be evenly stretched out through the opening. These kinds of thing might not bother carpenters very much, and maybe using a plane to shave a part of an edge seems like no big deal to those with experience, but they were a big pain to me. I think that's why hardware stores have so many pre-hung doors; it is often easier to tear down the wall and start over.
posted by Some1 at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2010

find a local Door Shop. take the old door to them. They will make you a new one that fits like the old one.
Screw HD.
posted by patnok at 4:23 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I replaced a closet door roughly that wide a while back. It didn't take long to realise that the hassle involved meant that getting a carpenter to make a new door was a bargain once you factored in things like a) it would have taken me a day or long to b) do a pretty bad job. which c) would then have required a carpenter. My new door looks very nice.
posted by rhymer at 4:23 PM on July 25, 2010

Response by poster: Door shop? There's such a thing? In Chapel Hill or Durham?

It, so simple. It's a big rectangle. The frame and hinges are already in place...
posted by amtho at 5:14 PM on July 25, 2010

Best answer: try your yellow pages..look for a lumberyard with a door shop. Or a secondhand/surplus place. trust me I am/was a door prof. & every time you do a slab replacement it's different. lots of spec. tools required etc.
posted by patnok at 5:39 PM on July 25, 2010

mods deleted an earlier comment i made
posted by patnok at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2010

Best answer: No. There will be carpentry required.

Now, mind you, I've done it, and it's not rocket science, but if you're looking for no carpentry, that ain't it. By the way, though I own a router I used a chisel for the mortises since I felt I had better control and I didn't want to but a template for something I'd rarely use.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:07 PM on July 25, 2010

Best answer: The door shop near me is a millwork outlet. They can take a door blank and mortise for hinges and drill for the knobset based on the dimensions of the old door.
posted by llc at 9:37 PM on July 25, 2010

If the pre-mortised hinge slots fit your existing hinges then you are In Like Flynn. If not, you're going to have to work at it...and only you know what you can do and whether it's worth it to go the "point and pay" route instead.

A few years back I replaced every interior door in my house except for the one on the oven. And every damn one of them looks like I did it in the dark, at a dead run. :7( Normally I am a careful guy when using tools, and I even had a plastic jig I'd bought -- by door #3 -- for the purpose, but there's still problems: extra tall holes, unlevel holes (requiring shims of ceral box cardboard), jagged edges (a whoops! with the router), rounded edges (nope, a belt sander ain't going to work), and even one door where I cut in on the wrong side of the door. Ugh. And doors aren't cheap, either, so my screw-ups will be on display for years to come.

(As a note to future readers, consider a solid door for the bathroom even if all your other door are hollow-core. 'Nuff said.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:57 AM on July 26, 2010

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