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How To Build A Door: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Do you want to build your own door because you’re not sold by pre-made doors? I’m here to help with all you need to consider and how you can make your standard one.

How To Build A Door

It’s essential you know what materials and components you need before you start. All materials have different benefits, and it depends on where you want the location of your door to be.

You then need to measure it so it can fit into your frame without any issues.

Type of Door

How many types of doors are there? This isn’t a trick question. Architecture changes, and so does the style of the door.

So you need to consider what type of door you want, and the material you would then use to make it. To help you, I’m going through a few of the different options available.

Wooden doors are the most popular option for both doors and frames. Most interior doors are wooden, and you can find them in various styles. You can also paint them if you’re not sold on the wood’s original color.

Depending on your choice of wood, this option can be both lightweight and affordable.

Fiberglass is also a popular choice for front and side doors. These types of doors can look like wood and are also energy-efficient.

Metal doors are also great for conserving energy. They’re usually made of steel or aluminum, and you can paint them to suit your home’s aesthetic.

You can insulate them with a layer of insulating foam, as they have a hollow interior. Like fiberglass and wood, metal doors are popular options for front, side, and back doors. 

Glass doors are best for bathrooms, especially shower doors. They’re also an excellent choice for kitchen cabinets. Invest in double panes for more insulation if you want to use glass doors for your back or side doors. 

While these are the most popular materials, you should also consider the style of door you want to build. Do you prefer French doors? Or are you interested in Dutch doors?

Maybe you want sliding doors leading to your patio. You need to think about the style of each one. 

Door Components

Doors are more complicated than they seem. Before you build your door, you’ll need to look at what makes it. You might assume you’re working with a door, handle, frame, and hinges, but there’s more.

To help you, I’ve put together a list of component terms to understand.


The head is at the top of the door frame, otherwise known as the door header. They usually face straightforwardly and have a stop at the lower edge. It may also have weatherstripping so your door closes.

A little under the head is your top rail, the top of your door panel. 


The threshold is at the bottom of your door frame, where you pass to get through your door. Inside is the door sill. Your bottom rail is the section of your door panel that moves throughout the threshold.

These need to have a proper seal so you can weather-seal it correctly.


When looking at a door and its frame, you think there’s a limited amount of hardware. But there’s a lot more than meets the eye. 

You have the door hinge, which ensures the door opens and closes. You also have a horn and holdfast, which binds your door frame to the wall. When you’re securing your door, you’ll need king and jack studs.

These will secure it to your house frame. Just remember, before you do this to check your building codes. 


On either side of your door, you’ll find door jambs. They’re also sometimes called hinge jambs or strike jambs. The name depends on which side of the door you place them.


Sometimes you would call margins rebates. They are the spaces between your door and its frame. You’ll find margins have specific types depending on where they’re put. There are hinge, strike, top, and bottom margins. 

These are only a few essential components, but I hope you can see how complicated doors can be. Of course, there are other components for other styles of doors, but let’s focus on your standard one for now.

How To Build A Door 

When you build a door, the first thing you need to do is gather your materials. Find the type of material you want to use to build your door and get your tools. For tools, I recommend: 

  • Chisel
  • Planer
  • Table Saw
  • Sander
  • Mortise and Tenon Joint
  • Wood Glue
  • Primer
  • Paint

Once you know which type of material you want to use, choose a handle and lockset.

Now you know which tools you’ll need, you want to lay out your door plans. Measure your old door or the opening where you’ll put it. 

You’ll need to build the panel, rails, and stiles first. Usually, stiles are between 4 and 5 1/2 inches wide. But your rails depend on the size of your door. When building your panel, add an inch to the height and width. 

  • Next is joinery. Connect your boards to the joints, and ensure they’re strong enough to handle your door. It would be best to have a half-inch wide groove along the rails and stiles, so your panels can float in your frame. Remember, they will expand and contract depending on the weather.
  • Put your door together. Do this before you connect your door to its frame. You can use wood glue to connect and fit your panels to the door.
  • Add your hinges and lockset. You’ll need holes for your handle, locks, and latches. These should be 2 1/8 inches wide and 2 3/4 inches from your door’s edge. 
  • Finally, sand and paint your door. We recommend sanding your door to remove any rough edges. You don’t have to paint your door if you have no plans to, and you prefer its natural color. 


Building a door is more complicated than it initially seems. Many of you may start this project assuming it will be a simple case of installing a door into your frame.

If you need any help with this project, we suggest you consult a professional for any advice you’re unclear of.

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