You don’t have to be a tool expert to put in a door. Pre-hung doors are easy to install, but what about going frameless? Is that a beginner’s project? Well, you do need to know some tool basics. Beyond that, there are several styles of easy to hang doors that don’t need a frame. I’ll walk you through the options and the tools you need to get the job done right. However, you should know that not all doorways are well suited to frame-free doors. For example, if you’d need to set hinges directly in plaster, you need to look at pre-hung doors or consult a pro.
Steps to Create a Frameless Door
Adding a door with no frame to your home is an aesthetic choice. Mostly, this style is used on internal doors. Follow these seven simple steps to hang several different door styles, including saloon, standard, two way, and track doors.
- Use a stud finder to make sure your doorway has a proper in-wall frame. Although most doorways have a framework inside the wall to support them, you should always check. This frame is not the external doorframe and is hidden inside the wall.
- Measure your doorway. To buy or make a door that fits, you need to know the exact size of the space.
- Use a level to check whether the floor and top of the opening are straight. This matters less if you plan to install saloon-style doors.
- Collect your tools and parts. You’ll need a drill, screws, your door, and hinges. Door styles that fold up accordion-style need a track instead of hinges. Similarly, doors with ninety-degree hinges may need a stopper at the top. However, those with two-way or three-hundred-sixty degree hinges don’t need this feature.
- Install your track or hinge and drill holes for locks if necessary.
- Hang your door(s) and shim as necessary.
- Admire your work. You may need to adjust the door, so it swings correctly, depending on the style.
The whole process should take less than half a day, including the time it takes to buy your door parts. It’s a fast DIY project. Adding a frame, particularly one you cut yourself, adds a lot of time. Moreover, some people don’t like the look of door frames. Luckily, you don’t need them to hang a door, especially an interior door.
Types of Frameless Doors
You have several options for frameless doors inside your home. Track doors, like sliding closet doors and accordion doors, need to be leveled carefully, so they don’t drag on the floor. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that saloon-style double swinging doors are level, so they look right and close properly.
For the more ‘normal’ looking doors, it’s less important to hang them level than it is to shim correctly. Sadly, many doorways aren’t perfectly level. Hence checking, and shimming to make sure the door has the correct range of motion is far more important than a perfect angle.
As homes age and shift, the frames can also move. This leads to door frames, floors, and windows becoming off-level. Unfortunately, lousy construction can also be the culprit for slanted structures. Either way, you need your doors to swing open and shut smoothly.
Tools For Door Hanging
Hanging your frameless door is simple. Better yet, you don’t need very many tools to accomplish this simple DIY project. Once you’ve chosen your door type measure twice to be sure you have the right size for your door. After that, most of the process is intuitive. You need to mark where your track or hinges belong.
Install track at the top and sometimes the bottom of the frame. Or you may need to install the hinges on the door. Then line up your hinges if necessary and hang your door. You might need to shim a swinging door. That means putting in skinny wedges beneath the hinge edge to make sure the door swings appropriately.
A good measuring tape is essential. Not only do you need it to measure door size, but also for marking where hinges or tracks belong on the frame.
I recommend the eTape16 Digital Electronic Tape Measure. Most standard measuring tapes have a small offset that makes it hard to gauge distance accurately. A couple of millimeters can make a huge difference. Using the eTape16 will get you the exact length every time. You’ll be surprised by the accuracy and how many uses you find for this tool. Click here to get eTape16 on Amazon now.
Hopefully, your doorway has a frame in place to hang a door. However, you need to know before you buy a frameless door. To check for wall studs, you need a high-quality stud finder.
Check out the Tacklife Stud Finder 5 in 1 from Amazon. Not only can you check for studs, even when they’re deeper than usual, but you can also check for moisture and wires. No one wants to get electrocuted hanging a door. You’ll appreciate the easy to read LCD screen. Click to learn more about Tacklife Stud Finders.
Older levels can be frustrating. Finding the perfect balance that puts that bubble in the middle of the liquid takes a steady hand. Instead, you should opt for a digital laser level because they make the job fast and straightforward.
I suggest a high-quality Tavool Self Leveling Laser Level from Amazon for this task. The easy visibility makes door hanging a cinch. Not only is this model easy to use, but it’s also highly visible. You won’t need to adjust bubbles in liquid anymore, and that saves time. Click here to learn more about Tavool’s laser level.
Using a screwdriver to hand-drive your hinges is painful. You need strong hands, and even then, your screws can end up diagonal instead of level. Use a drill instead for fast and accurate installation.
The Black+Decker 20V Max Cordless Drill is ideal for door installation. You don’t have to worry about a cord getting in the way while you work. Plus, Black+Decker is a well known and trusted brand with outstanding customer service. The lithium-ion battery in this model can hold a charge for a year and a half, which is impressive. Click here for availability on Amazon.
Hammer (for shims)
If you’re installing a swinging standard door, you’ll probably need to shim the hinges. Doing this makes the door swing correctly. You don’t want it to scrape the floor or bang the top of the frame. Luckily, shimming is extremely easy. All you need is a slender, small piece of wood, or pre-made shim to level the hinges, so the door fits the doorway.
It’s okay to have thin gaps around an internal door. However, you’ll want to use weather stripping if you’re hanging a door that leads outside. Otherwise, you may have leaks or space for insects to get inside.
Pick a superb framing hammer like the twenty-one-ounce hickory Proferred T49001 from Amazon. Don’t let the name fool you. An excellent framing hammer is the right tool for construction work, even when it’s just hanging a frameless door. Learn more about the T49001 by clicking here.
When Do You Need a Frame
Technically every door needs a ‘frame,’ but for our purposes, we’re not talking about the frame inside the wall. Presumably, your doorways are adequately constructed, and you have wall studs framing the door. This gives you wood to sink your screws into beneath the paint.
Should you discover your doorway is not ‘framed’ by wooden boards inside the wall, you cannot hang a frameless door there. In some cases, you can hang doors in brick or stone walls without the ‘frame.’ however, that is a more advanced project. You’d need a special kind of drill and more knowledge than the average beginner has to sink screws into the wall.
If your stud finder indicates there is nothing inside the doorway, you will have to add a frame. Either the invisible in-wall frame or a more standard looking framed doorway works fine for this. However, if this is your first time, you may want to install a pre-hung door or hire a professional to prepare the area.
Door Frame, Trim, or Molding
When we talk about frame-free doors, there’s some confusion about the terminology. Doorways have a frame inside them that isn’t visible. The external, decorative ‘frame’ is what we mean here.
To make matters worse, there are other ways to say ‘decorative frame’ in the home-improvement language. Some people call it time. Meanwhile, others refer to that picture-frame like addition as molding. Don’t let the language confuse you. All three terms are correct.
Should you find yourself discussing the issue with, for example, the staff of a home improvement shop, there’s an easy workaround. Simply let them know you are trying to put up a frameless door. Also, taking pictures will help.
Removing a Door Frame
Sometimes, to achieve that ‘frameless’ look, you’ll need to remove the trim around a doorway. The process is straightforward. You lever underneath the edge with a prybar or hammer. Work slowly down the length, and don’t try and pull the piece out until you’ve loosened it from end to end.
Once you’ve done this step, you’ll have a mess on your hands. Throw out any molding and sand the paint around the edges. After that, you may need drywall repair putty to smooth out the surface. Follow the directions to smooth and dry the putty before applying a matching coat of paint.
Most importantly, do not attempt to hang your door until the drywall and paint are both fully set. Have patience. Drying may take a couple of days. Moreover, you should not do this during high humidity or the rainy season. If you absolutely have to work in wet weather, you’ll need a dehumidifier or the putty and paint may not set properly.
If you know how to use basic hand tools and a drill, you can hang a frameless door. Pre-hung doors and framed doors are very similar, but they won’t give the same visual appeal. Even if it’s your first time DIYing at home, this is a great, simple, and easy project that gives you great results.
For more details on how to shim a door hinge, watch this video. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make your frameless door swing perfectly. You may even want to adjust the other doors in your home as well.