Are you unimpressed by the boring doors in your home? How about your front door that everyone and his mother sees? Don’t worry. Transforming a plain door into an awe-inspiring one is simple. Today, we will discuss several simple techniques on how to build a door so you can easily transform your house into the home of your dreams.

Doors DIY – Everything You Need to Know About How To Build A Door

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Before we get into how to build a door, let’s look at the basics of a door. Building your own doors can be a very rewarding project for any DIY enthusiast. However, there are things to keep in mind to make sure you are building a quality door that will last you for years to come. And one that looks good in its place.
This may be the perfect project if you have an odd size opening that makes buying or ordering a door. To fit more expensive and more of a hassle than you would like to deal with. It’s simple to make the door exactly how you want it. It also allows you to make sure that the door fits better than any door you could buy. When you make your own door, you can make it slightly larger than the opening they are to fit. And then upon finishing it, sand or plane it down so that there is the perfect amount of space around all the edges, with no gaping or binding.
For your hinges, putting them on to the door first, rather than the jamb, makes installation a lot easier. These hinges usually sit 8 inches from the top of the door, 9 inches from the bottom, and in the exact center of the door. Set the door in place putting small blocks underneath to raise it to the appropriate level at the top, which is about 1/8 inch. Then you can mark where your hinges need to sit on the doorjamb, install them. And put the door into place by banging the pins in, connecting the two halves of the hinges.
It’s super important that you have the intended lockset before you build your own door. Some of these handmade doors are thicker than a standard 2-inch door. And therefore need a lockset that needs modifications or special hardware to make it work correctly.

What Do I Need?

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For most wooden door projects you will find nothing more than the material to build it with. A large workbench or space to construct it and some simple tools. Some nails and a hammer, screws and a drill, some wood glue. And maybe a saw or two to cut your wood pieces to needed size are the basics necessities for how to build a door.


Every door requires some basic hardware. Hinges are an absolute must. Usually, you will need three heavy-duty loose pin butt hinges. These easily found at hardware stores for a few bucks depending on the design and finish. You will also need either a doorknob or handle to open and close your door with. A simple handle or pull may be used for screen doors or simple interior closets where a lock is unnecessary. However, front or main exterior doors on a home or garage should have a lock. Besides the actual lockset, you may need a hole saw to make the lock hole. A large drill bit to cut the latch bolt hole, and a chisel to flush mortise the latch bolt. This chisel will also come in handy to make the door ready for the hinges.

Here’s A Video About Amazing Woodworking Tools Used in Building Doors

A Personal Touch

Like any DIY project, there is the option to personalize your door. This may mean that you want to acquire a sander and some paint and/or stain. Whatever finish you give your door, it is always a wise choice to apply varnish to protect the wood from moisture and eventually rotting and warping. Cover every inch of your door in this. Water and moisture will find the smallest uncovered space and use it to destroy your beautiful project.

Remember, that, unlike the hollow store-bought doors. These DIY wood ones will be sturdy and therefore, quite heavy. You will want to make you have an extra set of strong arms around to help with moving the door.

Instructions, Tips, & More

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While the basic premise is the same, techniques on how to build a door will differ depending on what type of door you would like to construct. Let’s discuss several options at your disposal.

The Batten Door

red barn door - how to build a door

This design is most often found on barn doors. However, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular ones to incorporate in any home or office. It’s simple and easy to construct. This style of door is built using one row of parallel boards that hold together by perpendicular and diagonal battens. Batten doors are made even easier. And more weathertight if you use tongue-in-groove boards or shiplap. However, it’s important to note that using wood glue or similar adhesives on this door style are not recommended. You find that with the use of such things the boards will expand and contract at different rates than the battens will.

This cause your door to warp and twist, making for an unsightly addition.

  • Use pine or cedar boards. These types of wood are less prone to rotting and naturally resistant to the damage that a door will come into contact with. Measure your door space from side to side determining how many boards you will need. Rip each board into equal width, so you don’t end up with a skinny oddly sized board on one side just to make them fit. This will give the door a much more professional look. Assemble the boards leaving them longer than needed. Next lay out the exact vertical measurement of the finished door using a pencil and framing square. Nail or screw in the horizontal (top and bottom) battens to each board. Then nail in the vertical battens. Now you can trim off any excess length from the top and bottom of your door to make sure it is square and fit in your opening properly.
  • Next comes the diagonal braces or battens. The first of these will go from one corner to the other completely. However, the second one is called a “broken brace,” as it is cut into two pieces that fit onto either side of the first brace. When these are in place, secure them with nails or screws from the back side of the door. Draw faint lines with your pencil when doing this to ensure that the screws or nails are in a straight line.
  • For extra strength and durability, you may attach the same pattern of battens to the back of the door. Keep in mind that this will also add to the weight of the door and depth of the edges. Therefore, make sure your hinges are strong enough to hold up under such weight and that your door frame is deep enough to house your door. After the door is complete, it is always important to recheck all of your measurements. You may find that there is sanding or trimming required for the door to fit perfectly.

The Layered Door

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This style of door is stronger than the batten door. It’s three full layers of thickness ensure this and also add to its weight, its resistance to warping and its rigidity. The layered door, unlike the batten, can also have a window placed into it. Since it is made of three layers, you will see these differences on the edges unless you make other arrangements. The most commonly used methods of hiding this are to either have your outer layers be longer and wider than your core and use a filet to fill the space or to use a covering band around the entire outer edge. If you go with the outer band choice, make sure that all three layers of your door are 3/4 inch smaller in height and width than the finished door.

This will leave enough space to add this band later and still allow your door to fit into your space.

  • Cut your plywood to fit the opening, making sure that if you are using a band to make sure it is 3/4 inch smaller. Then you may add the first outer layer of boards. These can add to the door in whatever design you desire: horizontal, vertical, diagonal or even in a chevron pattern. You may use wood glue or something similar here if you would like but you will want to use a waterproof construction adhesive usually found in tubes to ensure your door lasts a long time.
  • Then its time for nails or screws. These may protrude a little through the back because the back layer will cover up those points nicely. Then add your layer to the back of the door in the same manner. Once finished, you can glue and clamp the filets in place or nail on your covering band, depending on which method you decided on.
  • After the glue has set, you can make a window opening if desired and then install it.

Screen Door

Rainy Wooden Boardwalk Through Screen Door Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation - how to build a door

If you live in a hot, humid climate, you understand summer comes with bees, wasps, mosquitos and a host of other flying pests. But it’s so beautiful on your porch. What are you to do? Build a screen door.

This will protect you from insects so you can sit in your rocking chair and sip sweet tea, lemonade or beer.

  • Build the frame of the door. Depending on the style of door you choose, this could be simple, or it could be complex. The most basic of these doors is a simple outside frame usually made up 1×8″ and/or 1×6″ boards and one or two inside horizontal braces. These braces break the screen into two or three separate pieces, depending on the style of the door, for more durability and strength.
  • When piecing together your door, leave the outside vertical braces or battens a little longer than your finished door. Then secure your horizontal braces into place using glue and nails or screws. Measure to make sure that your door is square and will fit into your opening. Then you can trim off any excess length from the top and bottom of the door. After checking again that your is square and fits well, you can sand the door and add paint or varnish. If you will use any molding to cover up the screen edges and staples, you can add paint or varnish to them.
  • When everything is dry, you can attach the screen to the door. Unroll the screen in the opening made for it and cut it slightly larger all around. Then staple it into place around the edges. Next nail in your molding. Using a small nail gun makes this process much faster and smoother. Lastly, attach hinges and a doorknob or handle and you are ready to hang it up for use.

How to Build a Door – The Conclusion

New steel three bolt door lock - how to build a door

Now you know how to build a door. Learning how to build a door on your own isn’t as difficult or daunting as it may seem. You rarely need a lot of specialized tools or years of experience. These three simple choices should prove that. However, there are so many more options than the ones we talked about today. Some may require more skill and/or the use of advanced tools and machines, but all are a beautiful addition to any space. Whether you are trying to cover an opening for a simple indoor closet or making a large entryway to the home of your dreams, there is a project out there for you.

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