Your front door. Not just a style piece, your front door is the guardian of your home. You rely on it to be safe and sturdy, keeping out what you don’t want while letting in what you do. Your front door needs to be the best that it can be, and if your current door isn’t up to snuff, you might want to consider replacing it.
Additionally, there are a multitude of situations that could arise and leave your front door compromised. A natural disaster such as an earthquake or flood could leave you with the need to replace it. A robber or vandal could try to enter and leave it damaged. A car could crash into the door.
In either situation, you might want to consider building your own front door. Building a door for your home doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little know-how and some effort, you can easily replace a broken or hollow door in your home with one that you built all on your own. Not only will it look nice, but most importantly, you will have constructed a door that you can trust to be safe and secure.
This is a simple way to enhance the look of your home while using the very tools you own in your home workshop. So, let’s get started constructing your very own DIY door for any room in your home. Follow this step-by-step guide for complete instructions on how to build your door from start to finish.
Step 1: Gather All Your Tools and Supplies
The first step in your DIY door project is making sure you have all the supplies that are necessary to build your door from scratch. You may need to make a stop at the lumber store for a few solid pieces of wood, but other than that most of these tools and supplies should already be a part of your woodshop.
Gather up all of the following tools and supplies to ensure you can complete your DIY door project without delay or confusion while you work. Having the tools, you need on hand will make it easy to have what you need at a moment’s notice and allow you to build your door with confidence and ease. Here’s a list of everything you need to construct your DIY door:
- Table saw or Bandsaw
- Safety glasses
- Glue (waterproof preferred)
- Silicone caulk (waterproof preferred)
- Caulk gun
- Wood varnish
- 18 ft. long hardwood (oak, cherry or walnut) at least 1.5 inches thick
- 30 ft. long hardwood that is 3/4 inches thick
- Multiple grit sandpaper
- Steel wool
- Paintbrush or clean cotton cloth
- Wood molding pieces
- Optional: router saw for fine details
One of the best ways you can rest assured that the door you are building is safe and secure is by using high quality, hardwood for your door construction. Oak is the most common hardwood used in the northern hemisphere, but cherry and walnut are also hardwoods and are a little more elegant ( and expensive).
Step 2: Cutting the Door Frame
Now that you have gathered everything you need to start building your DIY door, you are ready to start the basic cuts needed to make the stile pieces that will come together to form the door frame.
Start, by cutting the two 84-inch stile pieces that will serve as the outer frame that will run from the top of the door to the bottom. Use your table saw or band saw to make these cuts and make sure to wear your safety glasses for protection.
In addition to the side stiles of your door frame, you will need a bottom rail that is 8 inches wide and a top rail that measures 3.5 inches wide. These rails will serve as the top and bottom frame of the door you are building.
After you cut each piece using your table saw, be sure to begin lining the stile and rail wood pieces up to ensure a good fit. They should fit together neatly and create a square that is the size of a standard door opening. It should have dimensions of approximately 36 x 80 inches. This will ensure it will fit your door jamb and function as it should to secure your home.
Step 3. Constructing the Mullions and Stiles
Next, you will want to progress to cutting the inner rails. These wood pieces need to measure 2.5 inches wide. You can easily cut two rails the exact dimensions required using your table saw for accuracy.
You will also need two vertical mullions (vertical element that forms a division between units of a window, door, or screen) that also measure 2.5 inches in width. Your table saw can cut the mullions with ease. Wear your safety glasses at all times when using your table saw and incorporate a table saw fence if you have one to assist with a more accurate cutting of the wood pieces.
Step 4. Putting Your Door Together
Now that you have all the wood pieces you need to construct your door; it is time to glue the joints for added strength. Use your waterproof glue to create the joinery in the corners of the frame.
You will want to use a flat surface to keep your door steady as you work. Start by assembling all the mullions and stiles required to fit the door together. Assemble these pieces together one-by-one ensuring a solid fit all the way around your door.
You will want to apply your waterproof glue to each joint, making sure to use a generous amount for solid adhesion. Use clamps to secure the joints until the glue has dried thoroughly. Tighten the clamps and let dry.
Step 5. Cutting The Door Panels
Once the glue is dry on your door frame, you are ready to move to the construction of the panels that will give your DIY door a decorative touch. You have a couple of options when it comes to adding panels to your DIY door. You may choose to add wood panels to the surface of the door or fit glass pieces between the rails and stiles of the outer frame.
If you choose glass, you may want to opt for safety glass as an added precaution. For this door project, we have opted for wood panels.
To get started on the panels, you will need to remove all the clamps that were affixed to the joints of the door frame. The raised panels that you will be constructing here will fit between the stiles and the rails of the door frame that you have constructed and glued together.
You can cut your panels in two ways. You have the option of using thicker wood for single-raised panels or pairs of panels made from thinner wood.
Cut the panels to fit in the desired space you have allotted in between the stiles and rails, and that appeals to you. You can cut these panels with your table saw, using your table saw fence as a guide.
You can also add more intricate details using a router saw. A router saw will allow you to round or bevel the edge of your door panels for a more detailed appearance to your DIY door. Get creative and use your router to add a personal touch to your panels.
Step 6. Attaching The Door Panels
Once you have cut the panels to fit your door frame, you will need to attach these panels to your door frame. Molding can help give you a more finished look around the panels and help hold the panels in place. Use nails and glues to secure the panels to the door and the wood molding.
For added protection and to act as a layer of insulation, you will want to run silicone caulking along the inside of the wood molding. This will prevent drafts into your home from the outdoors. This will also work to hold your glass panels in place should you opt to go with them instead.
Step 7. Waterproofing the Door’s Surface
You now need to protect your door from the elements that it will encounter on a daily basis. This means that you will need to add a layer of protection to its exterior surface. Adding varnish will prevent it from warping against the changes in temperature that it will experience over the course of its use.
You will begin this process by sanding your door’s surface. Use 100-grit sandpaper to evenly sand the door. Work your way down to 220-grit sandpaper for a fine and smooth finish to your door’s wood surface. Take your time as your sand as you want to make sure to hit all areas evenly for smooth feel to the wood.
Once you have evenly sanded your door, you need to apply varnish. It is best if you use a ratio of wood finishing varnish and mineral spirits that is roughly 50:50. Use a paintbrush or a clean cotton cloth to evenly apply the varnish to your door. You do have the option to choose a colored varnish that can add an attractive touch to your door and help it blend with your home’s exterior.
When you have applied one coat of varnish thoroughly, be sure to let it dry. You will need to apply two more additional coats to the surface over the first layer for maximum protection on your door. Once these varnish coats have dried, use a fine-grade of steel wool to finish the look and surface.
If you are opting to paint your door after it is completed, you can use a clear varnish and add a high-quality paint over it. The varnish will add a layer of protection to your door, and the steel wool finish will allow the paint to adhere, giving you an appealing DIY door that is meant to last.
You have now completed your DIY door project and are ready to start using your newly constructed door in your home. All that is left is to hang these doors in your home and begin using them as you see fit.
Not only are these DIY doors easy to construct but they will look beautiful in your home. Most importantly, you have built a solid front door that you can count on to be safe and secure. Your new front door will stand up to the elements and protect you and your family.
Dolores | April 30, 2018
A video demonstration going through each step would be helpful.
Larry | July 30, 2018
Ok. Now you have a solid door to keep anyone from entering, however, windows are pretty easy to get through! All said, I’m prepared anyway for a burglar. My shepherd will provide DNA in the event I should die, however if I happened to be in harm’s way I will not bethe only one injured. Sloagan I live by; I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.
Russell A Palmer | April 30, 2018
The door you describe here is a very expensive door, using the hardwood you specify. As far as it preventing even the SWAT it will not do that. They have some very heavy door busting irons, which if the door does not break, the frame to wall joining will. Besides, who is in need of blocking out SWAT TEAMS? Don’t break the laws, and they will have no reason to break the door.
Bill in Idaho | April 30, 2018
Russell – NOT SO. City Cop SWAT Teams Break Down Doors of Innocent Citizens Daily. When the enforcers Break the Law, then there is No Law !
Robert Pickard | April 30, 2018
A chainsaw and 2 minutes will get anyone with desire straight through your exterior wall.
Willowa | May 2, 2018
So will a stick of dynamite, or a tank. For heavens sake people, just some ideas to keep your home as safe AS POSSIBLE! Nothing will keep out the determined, et al!!!
Bill in Idaho | April 30, 2018
Hello, Allen. Without a 100% STEEL Doorframe (Top and Sides) – It won’t matter a whit what material and weight your actual Entry Door is. For the Frame, Use 2″ X 6″ Square (Actually Rectangular) Tubing from 11 or 12 Ga. 1024 Steel Sheet – Mig Welded at the Joints. Use 1/2″ HRS steel Draw Rods through 2 Studs L & R – and through the frame header on top. – 3 rods per side spaced evenly and threaded or welded through the steel frame. The hinges (3) and Shot Bolts (2 Interlocked – aka “Draw” Bolts) Need to be Tempered steel. The door’s backstop/ Sealing Rim can be mild steel. The sill plate material is Not Critical. The Door Frame will Need to be True, Square, and Vertical. NOW – A Strong, Tough Entry Door – Will Mean Security. Bill
Tom | April 30, 2018
It’s a whole lot easier to get into a house through a window. Why bother with trying to break down a door?
Willowa | May 2, 2018
Maybe because it’s harder to get a group (swat, ms13…) through a window than a door!
Tom | May 2, 2018
One person can break through a window and open the door from the inside to allow others to enter. It would’t take that much longer.
Armin | April 30, 2018
That’s also kind of what I was thinking reading some of the replies. To me the weak point of any door is the frame if you want to actually beef up the door itself. It wouldn’t matter how strong you make the door if you don’t also beef up the frame at the same time. To me the strongest type of wooden door would be something like a butcher-block door using your lumber of choice. Glued and bolted. With a peephole. Or even some kind of double-door system. Obviously it would be pretty heavy so you would have no choice but to make the frame stronger. Install more and heavier hinges and then do the same with the locks on the adjacent side. Match the locks to the number of hinges. Which is inconvenient to lock and unlock but great security. Or some kind of a locking bar type of system that when you pull the bar up it would unlock multiple latches at the same time and lock them all on the way down. The locking system is only limited by your imagination. I’m not all that fond of metal doors unless you’re talking about a single piece of metal plate an inch or more thick. If they can’t bash through it, something like a SWAT team can always cut through it with an acetylene torch. In a shtf type of situation any beefed up door like that puts time on your side. In peace time I suggest checking with your local by-laws before reinforcing your door. Just one last word. If you’re going to reinforce your door I also suggest you upgrade your windows.
Doyle Lonnigan | May 1, 2018
Come on guys it isn’t swat teams you need to worry about…it’s your fellow man and neighbors. When the shtf and it will, a simple metal jamb widely available on the market installed on lock and hinge side of any standard jamb will do the job nicely especially when your out of the house. The best and cheapest for when your at home is a simple $ 20.00 door bar that fits up under the door handle based off a simple putting a chair up under the handle works very well.. The whole idea here is to take away the” element of surprise” and allow you time to react and protect yourself and loved ones. When you take away that element you stand a lot better chance to grab your gun and stop the threat period! And if you keep your windows locked they will have to break the glass again giving you time to react . These kinds of people rely strictly on the element of surprise and when you limit that you stand a fighting chance you otherwise don’t have to protect and defend which you have a legal right to do and that includes deadly force. Remember…when seconds count- cops are minutes away! Be vigilant,be safe and know your rights.
Willowa | May 2, 2018
One of the major point of all of this is, most normal front door won’t keep out a good, healthy cat (don’t get excited all you fault finders, it’s just an expression), so here is some help! Don’t like it, don’t do it!!