You can make the most of a room’s space by rehanging the door on the opposite side of the frame. It only needs a few basic tools and some careful marking and measuring.
Fitting a new internal door is a straightforward job that makes a dramatic difference to the look of your home.
Don’t alter a door so that it opens into a corridor or hall as this can be a hazard if the door is opened quickly.
Removing the door
Open the door at right angles and put wooden wedges underneath for support and unscrew the hinges from the frame. Chip away thick paint with an old screwdriver or craft knife.
Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying chips of paint.
Unscrew the hinges from the door.
Cramp the door on its side and chisel away the thin strip of wood next to the existing hinge recesses.
Always keep both your hands behind the blade when using a chisel.
Making good the hinge recesses and reposition the door
Repair the door edge by gluing a thin strip of wood in the old hinge recess. Plane and sand flush, then fit the hinges on the opposite edge to their original position.
Put the door in the frame so that the outward side is now on the inside of the room. Check the fit and plane or saw away any waste wood – ideally, there should be a 2mm gap all around the sides and top of the door. If there is thick carpet in the room, you will need a larger 5-10mm gap at the bottom. Using this option, the handle will not need to be moved leaving an unsightly hole. But, if the door has been painted differently on both sides, the colour scheme will be wrong.
Refit the door facing the same way and fit the hinges and handle on the opposite edges. You will need to make good around the old hinge and lock positions but won’t need to retrim the door to suit if the opening is out of square.
Marking the hinge positions
Raise the door on timber wedges until it is in the correct position and mark the new positions for the hinges on the opposite stile. Remove the door and use a combination square to extend the marks to the face of the frame and mark the thickness of the hinge.
Marking and cutting the hinge recesses
Tap around the outline of the hinge with a chisel. Make sure the bevel of the chisel is facing towards the waste wood. Make a series of cuts across the wood at 5mm intervals – try to make the cuts the same depth as the thickness of the flap. Chisel along the line on the face of the door to remove the chips of waste wood. Check the hinges fit flush with the edge and fix with one screw per hinge, so that you can make adjustments easily.
Unscrew the spring latch and turn it upside down so the catch will work properly. Unscrew the keeper from the frame and swap it to the new opening side. Mark the position for the keeper by closing the door and turning the latch.
For more detailed door-hanging instructions, refer to hanging a door
Making good the frame
Cracked or over-size screw holes in the frame should be filled with pieces of timber dowel, coated with pva glue.
Fill in any gaps left on the frame or door with small blocks of wood cut to size and glued in place. Sand smooth when dry.
You can use the same technique to make a door open outwards rather than inwards but you must remove the stop beading all around the edge of the door. When the door has been refitted, hold the beading firmly against the new closing position and fix in place with panel pins.