Introduction

Interior Door Tout
Photo: Kolin Smith
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A door that's good for slamming has got to have some heft to it. Not a hollow-core, filled-with-cardboard, I-can-punch-my-hand-through-it kind of door. A real door, made of solid wood or MDF or at least a nice veneer with a core of thick wood pieces.

Unfortunately, the land is rife with hollow-core doors. The darling of the developer and the bane of the homeowner, these lightweight partitions don't do much more than block light. Sound echoes off their tinny shells and seeps right through them.

Lucky for you, we have the fix. In a week-end, you can replace one of those impostors with a genuine door, the way This Old House technical editor Mark Powers shows here. Not only will it look better, but it'll sound better, too, muffling all manner of intrusive noise. And, ah, the way it feels—heavy, sturdy, and ready to slam shut with a resounding thud.
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    Tools List

    • folding ruler
      Tape measure and folding ruler
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • bench plane
      Bench plane
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • wooden mallet
      Mallet
    • drill
      Drill/driver with auger bits
    • centering punch
      Centering punch
    • ratcheting screwdriver
      Screwdrivers
    • hand clamps
      Clamps

    Shopping List

    1. DOOR

    Measure the width of your opening, jamb to jamb, in three places (top, middle,bottom) and the height, threshold to jamb, in three places. Note the largest of each and use these as a guide to buy the door.



    2. KNOB SET

    A set for a cylinder lock should include two knobs, a spindle, and two round escutcheon plates. For a mortise lock with a bolt, two escutcheons or a long backplate with a keyhole may be required.



    3. LOCKSET

    Choose between a cylinder lock (a tube-shaped ;acthset with a lock on the knob) or a mortise lock (a rectangular set with a bolt and a skelton key). You can reuse an old lock, but a new mortise lockset might be worth the cost (less than $20) just for the mortise-cutting template that comes with it. Before buying a mortise lock, make sure the distance from the spindle hole to the keyhole matches the one on the backplate you choose, and that the lock body isn't too thick to fit your door.



    4. HINGES

    You will likely need three to hanadle the weight of a solid-wood door or solid-core door. Many doors come with instructions that indicate the size and number needed.



    5. LOCK INSTALLATION KIT

    If necessary, for drilling for a cylinder lock. Tool companies make these kits, which come with two different hole saws that attach to a drill, along with a jig to guide where the holes go. Some kits also include a drill-mounted router bit and jig for carving out shallow mortises for the lock's faceplate and the strike plate.



    6. WOOD SHIMS

    To hold the door in its opening as you check the fit and mark for hinges.