How to Rehang a Door
There may be occasions when the way in which a door opens is not the most convenient. Switching the hinges from one side to the other may provide a more attractive view of the room as the door is opened or allow better use of the wall space. Alternatively, making the door open outward may create more useful space. However, never have a door opening outwards on to a stairway.
Switching the hinged side
When switching the hinged edge of a door from one side to the other, you will need to cut a new mortise for the latch and drill new holes for the door handle spindles. The old latch mortise and spindle holes can be filled by gluing in small blocks of wood and lengths of dowel. Leave the blocks and dowels slightly proud of the surface, then plane and sand them flush when the glue has dried. If you reverse the door, you will be able to use the old latch and door handle spindle holes, but the latch itself will need to be turned around.
You will need to cut a new slot for the striker and striking plate (keeper) on the other side of the frame, and fill the old recess with a thin block of wood stuck in place. Again, make this oversize, planning and sanding it flush once the adhesive has dried.
You will also need to chisel out new recesses for the hinges in both the door and the frame; if the door is reversed, you may be able to use part of the old hinge recesses in the door and need only fill the unused portions. Fill the old hinge recesses with thin blocks of wood glued into place and sanded flush.
If the door has rising butts or other handed hinges, these will need to be replaced.
After rehanging the door, the light switch may be in the wrong place if it is in the room the door opens into. There are two choices here: reposition it on the other side of the door (means running a new wire) or move it across the wall so that it is outside the room, but more or less in the same place (little or no new wire, but possible problems securing the switch mounting box).
When rehanging a door, it can reduce the amount of work required if you reverse the door – that is, turn it so that the side which faced inwards now faces outwards. This is very true when changing the hinges from left to right or the other way round. There are, however, two problems with doing this. The first is that the two sides of the door may be painted in different colours, which will mean a complete repainting job.
The second is that the door may not fit properly the other way round. Doors and frames can both move slightly over time and while the door will operate perfectly well fitted one way it may bind or catch when fitted the other way.
In to out
When making a door open outward, you will be able to use the same latch and handle positions if the door is hung from the same side of the frame. You will have to reverse the latch, but will be able to make use of parts of the hinge recesses in the door. However, you will need to reposition the striking plate and make new hinge recesses in the frame.
The one extra job will be to move the door stop, unless this is positioned centrally in the frame. Moving the door stop needs care to avoid splitting it – slide a chisel in behind the stop and lever it out. Remove the sides before the top, starting in the middle.
When repositioning the door stop, hang the door first, so that you can be sure that the stop fits snugly against the door all round. You can use the same nails to secure it, but reposition them and fill the old holes before repainting.
If you change the side of the frame from which the door is hung (as well as changing it from in to out), you can retain the existing door hinge, latch and door handle positions, although new recesses must still be cut in the frame for the hinges and striking plate, and the old ones filled.
To prevent the paint from chipping when you remove a doorstop, run a trimming knife blade along the joint between doorstop and frame to cut through the paint.