Door Frame Replacement: Cost, Types and Step By Step Process

door frame replacement

The door frame is a crucial part of the door structure that provides the framework and support to the entire door structure. The usability of your door depends on the frame; hence it is vital to regularly maintain the frame by repairing or replacing damaged parts as soon as they get spoiled. If you want to know about door frame replacement, then keep reading.

You might wonder if it is possible to replace just the door frame or even a part of the frame without bearing the cost of replacing the entire door structure. Yes, it is possible to replace just the door frame and reuse the old door panel if it is in good condition. 

This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to remove an old or damaged door frame and install a new frame. Before we get to that,  let us learn the meaning of a door frame,  parts of a door frame, and types of door frames.


Door Frame

A door frame is a structure to which a door panel is hinged. It is the border of the door from which the door panel is hinged or hung.

A door frame might look relatively straightforward; two vertical jambs and a horizontal part, but it is not that simple. A door frame is composed of various components. These components include:


The header or top rail, the head is the uppermost horizontal part of the door frame. It is the part attached to the lintel of the wall opening.


The bottom horizontal part of the frame prevents the jambs from bending. In modern doors, the sill is omitted because it usually obstructs movement and floor cleaning. If present, the sill is traditionally fixed to the ground and covered; that way, the floor acts as the sill.


The horn is the horizontal projection from the head and sill of the frame. It is usually 12 – 15cm long and enables the frame part to be embedded firmly into the wall opening.


Performing the same function as horns, these are usually z-shaped projections placed at intervals from each jamb, which enables the frame to be fixed firmly to the wall opening. There are usually 3 – 4 holdfasts on each post, about 20cm long. 

Door Jambs

A jamb is a vertical member of the door frame that supports the hinging of the door to the frame on one side and the opening and closing of the door on the other side.


This is the part of the frame that sits on the sill or into which the sill is embedded. It performs the duty of protecting your home’s water and air infiltration.


If a door frame includes a window, a transom is a horizontal crossbar that separates the window from the door. In some designs, it could be situated over the door frame, which acts as the head of the frame.


This part attaches the door to the frame. It is from this part that the door is swung open and closed.

Door Jamb VS Door Frame

Most people mistake the door jambs for the door frame, but this is incorrect. The door jamb is only a component of the door frame. A door frame comprises two jambs, the head, and the sill.

It is one of the posts on either side of the door that forms the vertical part of the door frame.  It is from the jamb that the door is hinged to the frame; the opposite jamb holds the striker plate that controls the opening and closing of the door. 

The door jamb is an essential part of the door frame; it determines the height of the door frame.  If this part is not correctly fabricated, the door frame will not fit into the wall opening. Both jams have to be of the same height and made to be plumb; perfectly aligned at 90 degrees so that other parts attached to it; like the bolt, would be correctly aligned.

Types Of Door Frames

Now that we have learned the parts of a door frame and established the difference between a door frame and a door jamb, let us know the different types of door frames. The following are the common types of door frames:

1. Inward Opening Door Frame

When choosing a frame type, it is pertinent that you check the direction in which the door would open. Most door frames are inward opening; the door swings open into the space of the room or chamber. It is commonly used for interior doors and consumes wall and floor space.

2. Outward Opening Door Frame

The opposite of an inward opening frame, this frame type swings open outside the room or chamber. It is perfect for homes with little room space. It’s mainly used for exterior doors like garage doors.

3. Open Door Frame

The open has just two jambs and a head. The main difference between the open door frame and the others is that it does not have a sill. It is perfect for interior rooms as it does not restrict movement and floor cleaning.

4. Closed Door Frame

This frame has the complete composite, including a threshold. It is the opposite of an open door frame. The sill and threshold seal the home from air, dust, and water infiltration.

5. Door Frame With Glazing Panel

In this frame type, there are windows with glazed panels on the door’s sides, top, and bottom. The windows, usually made of glass, allow light into the home and provide a visual connection between the inside and outside of the house as it is commonly used for exterior doors. The door frame with glazing panels is not only attractive but classic; you should use this for your main entrance door.

6. Fanlight Door Frame

This frame includes a decorative overhead window above the door panel. In addition to the primary parts of a door frame, a fanlight door frame has a transom that separates the door from the top window. It also has glazed panes; the main difference is that the window is only at the top and is shaped in the form of a parabola hence the name “fanlight.

7. Sidelight Door Frame

The sidelight door frame has a decorative vertical window that runs from the head to the sill of the frame allowing light into the home. It also has glazed panes and is a classic design for your front door.

8. Pocket Door Frame

The pocket door frame is specially designed for pocket doors. This frame is embedded in a cavity made in the wall, so the door opens by sliding on a track into the wall cavity. This frame type is perfect for interior rooms with small spaces like the bathroom, closet, and utility room.

Door frames are also classified based on the type of materials; hence we have:

  • Wooden door frame
  • Glass door frame
  • Metal door frame
  • Aluminum door frame
  • Vinyl door frame and so on

Door Frame Replacement

The door frame is an essential part of interior and exterior doors. It provides the framework and structure of doors and enables their usability of doors. Door frames must be repaired or wholly repaired, usually made of the same material as the door.

Because the usability of a door depends on the frame, there are some common problems you would face regarding a faulty door frame. If you notice the following signs, then you need to get a professional to see your door frame for immediate repair or replacement:  

1. Stickiness When Open And Closing Door

There is no better time to ask for a replacement than after you notice that your door gets stuck when you try to open or close it. This could be due to a misalignment of the jambs, loose hinge screws, or a fault with the striker plate. Ask a professional to evaluate the cause of the problem to determine if you need to repair just a faulty part or replace the entire door.

2. Sagging Of The Door

If you notice that your door sags on one side, it means that it is held firmly to the frame. In this case, you might need to replace the hinges or the entire frame. Ask a professional for advice.

3. Your Door Makes Noise

If your door makes noise when opening and closing or even drag on the floor, it means your frame needs repairs or replacement. This problem could be due to stiff or worn-out hinges and the wrong alignment of the door. Get a professional to look and tell what the problem might be.

4. Your Door Has Drafts

If you notice uneven areas in your frame that leave gaps for air entering the house, especially during the winter, you need to get the frame repaired or replaced.

Replacing a door frame is as costly as you think; neither is too difficult a task to handle yourself.  If you are quite a handyman, you can save costs and enjoy the satisfaction of replacing your door frame yourself. All you need is the right tool, and you can finish the job in a few hours. 

How Do You Replace An Existing Door Frame? – Step by Step

If you notice some of these signs, you must repair or replace your door frame. It is possible to replace just the frame without replacing the door itself if it is in good condition. You do not need to hire a professional to do this; all you need are the right tools and some grit to complete the door and save some money. 

You would need the following tools to replace your door frame successfully:

  • A screwdriver
  • Protective goggles
  • A pair of safety goggles
  • Crowbar
  • Spirit level
  • Plumb line
  • Wood Chisel
  • Screws
  • Hacksaw
  • Emulsion
  • Claw Hammer
  • Nails
  • Some spare wood
  • Sealant
  • A new door frame kit
  • Mortar
  • Utility Knife
  • Power drill

Now that you have gotten all the tools you would need, let us get down to the step-by-step guide on how to replace a wooden door frame:

Step 1: Remove The Door

  • Use a power drill or screwdriver to unscrew the hinges holding the door to the jamb. Have someone support the door while you unscrew it to avoid a possible accident.
  • Carefully remove the door from the hinges and place it aside. Then unscrew the hinges from the jamb.

Step 2: Take Out The Trim

  • You must take out the trim to access and remove the frame first. Use a utility knife to remove the caulk holding the trim to the wall, reducing damage to the wall.
  • Create space around the door using a hammer to tap the chisel’s edge into the wall.
  • Once this is done, use the crowbar to carefully pry away the trim from the wall. You can place a small wood between the trim and all as you pry it off to avoid too much damage to the wall. 
  • Set the trim aside if still in good condition to be reused later; if not, measure the trim to get a suitable replacement.

Step 3: Remove The Shim

  • Shim are small pieces of wood inserted between the trim and the rough opening that helps to align the door frame correctly. Displace the shims using a hammer and chisel.

Step 4: Remove The Striker Plate And Other Hardware

  • Sometimes, the pins holding the striker plate might be so long that it runs into the rough opening. In this case, removing the striker plate and other hardware, like the latch hole, is necessary to remove the entire frame successfully.
  • Use the power drill for popping off the striker plate and other hardware from the jamb.

Step 5: Remove The Frame

  • The most straightforward frame to remove a damaged door frame is to cut its jambs into halves; this provides a point of insertion for the crowbar.  Use a hacksaw to cut each jamb midway, and then use the crowbar’s flat side to carefully pry loose the jambs from the wall.

Step 6: Mount The New Frame

Let’s assume you have already picked a frame that fits the door opening. 

  • Mount the frame into the rough opening; it should fit easily. Starting with the jamb, mark points where you would run nails. Maintain a 450mm interval between points until you get to the header.
  • Using the spirit level lever ensures that the jamb is plumb. A bubble at the center of the lever shows that the frame is upright.
  • Next, drill holes in the marked points, run the nails into these points, and recheck that the jamb is plumb.
  • Repeat this process for the latch side of the jamb. Ensure that both posts are plumb.

Step 7: Mount The Door

  • Mount the door into the frame opening. Starting with the hinge side, insert shims around the door between the door frame and wall to ensure that the frame is aligned correctly.
  • Next, screw the hinges in the proper position to the door jamb. Ensure that the door is well aligned. Next, attach the striker plate and latch it in its place.
  • Using a utility knife, cut off the excesses of the shims. Ensure that the shims are flushed with the wall.

Step 8: Insulate The Gaps Between The Frame And The Wall

  • Spray foam insulation into the spaces between the frame and the wall. Strictly follow the instructions in the guide that came with the foam insulation for better results. Allow it to dry before attaching the trim. 

Step 9: Replace The Trim

  • Nail the old trim back if it is still in good condition. Apply caulk around the edges where the rim meets the wall and allow it to dry.  You can spray a painter’s putty that matches the color of the trim to seal nail holes in the trim.

Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide or ask a professional for help if you encounter any issues.

Door Frame Replacement Cost

The average cost of installing a door frame is $200 – $400. Here is a cost breakdown:

  • Cost of a door frame: $40 – $80
  • Labor: $175 – $300
  • Miscellaneous including insulation, shims, or caulks: $20 – $25

Since a large portion of the cost goes to labor, you can save cost and do the replacement yourself.

Factors Affecting Door Replacement Cost

Several factors determine the cost of replacing a door frame. Some of these are:

1. The Extent Of The Damage

One of the most significant factors determining the cost of replacement is the extent of the damage. For instance, if your door is sagging, you might need to tighten or replace the hinges. On the other hand, if the frame is entirely rotted, you will need a new one. 

2. The Cost Of The Hardware To Be Replaced

The current cost of the hardware is another determining factor. Getting new hinges is cheaper than getting new trim. Getting a new one would not take too much from your pocket but if you need new trim, get ready to bear the additional cost.  

3. Location

Most companies add a delivery fee to the cost of a frame when purchasing a new one. If your area is farther away, it means a higher delivery charge.

4. Whether You Intend To Pay For Labor Or Do It Yourself

As we mentioned earlier, a large portion of the replacement cost, about $180 – $300, goes to work. If you are pretty good with handling home repairs, you can save costs and do the replacement yourself.

5. The Type Of Door

The type of door is another determinant of the replacement cost. It is far cheaper to replace a wooden frame than a metal door frame. Also, the door style is essential; for instance, replacing the frame of a French door or Pocket door would be more costly than replacing the frame of a flush or panel door.

6. Whether It Is An Interior Or Exterior Door

Due to its build, sturdiness, and features, replacing the frame of an exterior door is more expensive than replacing that of an interior door.

However, you must overlook the cost and replace your door frame once it begins to rot to avoid problems like your door getting stuck and refusing to open.

How Do You Fix A Rotted Door Frame?

Depending on the extent of the rot, you might have to remove the rotted frame and install a new one.

  • To assess the extent of damage, press hard into the wood to see if it is spongy. Then cut off the rotted part.
  •  Measure the gap size left to determine the thickness and length of damaged wood: this would help decide if you can use a wood filler or replace the entire wood section.
  • If the gap is small, use a wood filler and allow it to dry. Dust the area and paint it to match the rest of the frame.
  • If the gap size is long, cut timber to size and replace it. Then finish by painting the wood to match the rest of the frame.

Prevention is better than cure, do not overlook any sign of rot, as repairs are cheaper than an entire replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost To Have A Frame Replaced?

The average cost of getting a new frame and installing it is $200 – $400. The total cost depends on damage if you replace just a part or the entire frame, the type of door, hardware needed, and labor cost. It will take about three hours for a professional to remove an old frame and fix a new one.

Can You Replace Just A Door Frame?

Yes!!! If the door is unaffected and in good condition, you can reuse the old door panel and get only the frame replaced. You can accomplish this task with a step-by-step guide, the right tools, and some grit.

When Should A Door Frame Be Replaced?

Once you notice signs like sagging of the door, noise while opening and closing the door, stickiness when opening or closing the door, or drafts in your door, you might need to replace your door frame. Invite a professional to evaluate these signs and determine the damage’s cause and extent.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Wooden Door Frame?

The average cost of replacement of a door frame is between $200 – $400. Wooden door frames are typically cheaper to replace; you would spend about $200 or less to replace a wooden door frame.

How Much Should I Charge To Replace A Door?

The labor cost to replace a door is between $40 and $ 70. A skilled and licensed professional would charge $70 and above, and it will take about three to four hours to get the job done.  

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Door Jamb?

The jamb is essential to the frame and the entire door structure. The cost of replacing a door jamb ranges from $180 – $280 per opening. The price depends on the post size and the door frame type.

How Much Does It Cost To Reframe A Front Door?

It is typically more expensive to reframe exterior doors like the front door. It will cost an average of $225 to replace the frame of a front door. A French door frame would be more expensive to reframe than a patio or panel front door.

Can You Replace A Door Jamb Without Replacing The Door?

Yes, if it is in good condition, you can have a faulty jamb, or any other part of the door frame replaced without necessarily replacing the door panel.

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