Having served the door replacement needs of South Florida for years, we’ve seen how replacing an exterior door can make even an old home feel fresh and secure. The process begins with a simple measurement, but as straightforward as it sounds, learning how to measure a door correctly requires a few considerations that are only sometimes obvious.
Keeping the following pointers in mind is essential to when trying attain accurate measurements for a replacement door. Ensuring a highly robust door fits properly is the first step in maintaining good front door security, where consistently smooth latching is more than a convenience.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
At a minimum, you’ll only need three essential items:
- A tape measuure
If you have a laser measuring device, that’s perfect but completely optional. You can also use a level to ensure you’re holding the tape measurer perfectly horizontally and vertically.
A few pointers are also in order: we won’t measure the existing door. That’s because your new door will (or should) come with its own hinges, latching mechanism, and other hardware that will likely affect the door’s exact position in space. Also, write all measurements in both inches and millimeters to save time when comparing door options.
Measuring the Door Width
Face the door so it opens away from you. Make a note of which side the hinges are on and whether they’re located on your side of the door or away from you. Exterior doors are supposed to have the pin located on the inside to prevent tampering.
For the actual measurement, run the tape measurer from left to right at three locations across the door opening’s width:
- Towards the top
- At the middle
- Towards the bottom
This is to ensure you know whether the door frame itself is level. If it’s really uneven, it may require rework or replacement by a professional.
If you have a sliding glass door, measure from the fixed glass frame. In other words, measure it as though the existing door isn’t there. Note that you’ll need to replace the secondary, non-moving glass frame.
The same points are true for bi-fold doors and French doors. In the latter case, each new door will use the total measurement divided by two. With Pivot doors, make an additional measurement at the center of the pivot point.
Measuring the Door Height
For the height of the door opening (not the door), we’ll take two measurements: one near each vertical frame. To ensure the most accurate readings, use a securely positioned stool and ask for help. If the door frame is particularly uneven, it doesn’t hurt to (A) measure along the frame itself, (B) take an additional, fully vertical measurement, and (C) request guidance from an experienced door installation company.
Measuring Door Thickness
As mentioned, there are some cases when homeowners must also replace the door frame. This might be true even if the existing frame is perfectly straight, such as for thicker, more secure replacements. In most cases, security doors are designed to integrate into existing doorways, but there’s no guarantee that your old door was made to industry standards.
Measuring doorway thickness requires two measurements:
- The thickness of the actual door
- The thickness of the door frame’s recess, where the door rests when closed (aka the “rebate”)
The two measurements should match. If they don’t, you might need further assistance to assess whether you’ll also need a modified frame or if there are custom door options available.
Take a Look at What Replacement Doors Best Fit Your Home
For highly specialized hurricane impact doors and garage doors, such as from Eco Window Systems, the door may come with specialized hardware with unique spacing requirements compared to standard, non-secure doors. CGI and WinDoor are also excellent impact-rated doors that have withstood some of the fiercest live-action storm tests in the world.
Elite Impact Glass is the preferred source of top-rated security windows and doors in South Florida and the surrounding island communities. For further questions about how to measure a door – or to book a free consultation and have it measured by a seasoned expert – contact us for assistance.
Image source: AstroStar via Shutterstock