The national average cost for an exterior door installation ranges between $1,500-$8,000, but most people pay an average of $3,500 to install a new front, back or side door. How much you ultimately pay to have an exterior door installed depends on a number of factors, like whether or not you need to buy a new door, or just need to hire someone to replace your old door. Sizing, material, and hardware (knob, lockset and hinges) can also add to the overall cost.
Changing a side, back or front door can be a great way to improve your home's curb appeal, better insulate your home and improve security. But, it's also the entrance to your home – and you don't want to skimp on a subpar installation.
To help you figure out the price of your door replacement or installation, this guide will take you through common costs you can expect for door installation. (Note that we won't cover the cost of a new garage door installation. See more about garage installation costs.) You'll also find tips on where you can make smart decisions to save, so you can get a realistic estimate on how much you'll spend to install a new front, side or back door.
What's in this cost guide?
- What impacts the cost of an exterior door installation?
- Do you need to buy a new door?
- Do you want to add windows or glass panels?
- Do you need to buy a pre-hung door?
- Do you need to buy hardware?
- Will you replace an existing door?
- Is it a sliding door?
- Is your door and frame standard or custom dimensions?
- What's included in an exterior door installation cost?
- How can I save money on the cost of an exterior door installation?
- What should you ask before hiring a contractor?
Not every exterior door installation is the same -- and neither is the price. A number of factors, from door material, size and type, to frames and add-on features, can impact how much you ultimately spend.
The price of a new door is a considerable part of your overall door replacement cost. Door costs start at about $150 for a very basic steel or fiberglass door, but can run up to several thousand dollars. Other common materials for an entry door are wood, aluminum or a combination of several. Fiberglass and steel doors tend to be cheaper, while wood and aluminum doors are more expensive.
When choosing what type of door to buy, also consider the long-term maintenance and potential door repair costs down the line. If your door will be more exposed to the elements or sun, or you're concerned about safety, you'll want a sturdier material for your door replacement. You may also want to consider adding a storm door.
Steel doors can also be less expensive in the long run because, as you might expect, they won't crack or bow over time like doors made from wood. They're also very secure and fire-proof.
Fiberglass doors, which sometimes come in a wood grain finish that gives you the look of a wood door, are also very low maintenance. They resist scratches and dents, and won't rot over time. Fiberglass is also known to provide more insulation and security than a wooden door.
A wooden door is an attractive option for any entry door. However, unlike steel and fiberglass, you will have to finish it and you may need to repair it as years go by. To reduce the likelihood of door repairs down the line, choose to use a wooden door only if it's in a place that's protected from the elements. If it's under an awning or porch, that can reduce damage over time.
For wood doors, you should also opt for a solid core door (as opposed to a hollow core) as they'll be sturdier, less susceptible to expansion / contraction during weather changes. Hollow-core doors cost less, but are better for interiors.
If you buy an unfinished door, it's easier to refinish and paint it before installing the door -- as the paint will dry more evenly when laid flat. Of course if you don't want to deal with painting the door you can always opt for a pre-painted door.
Glass panels are often added to a front door to allow more natural sunlight at times. If you want to add windows, glass panels or lights to the front or side of a door, that could increase your overall costs to $300 - 1,200 or more, depending on how difficult it is to make these changes. It's important to keep in mind the insulation savings could help offset the cost if you choose to use low-E glass.
The price of your new door can also be more expensive if you purchase one that is pre-hung, or already mounted onto a frame (also known as a casing, and includes components like a door jamb and threshold). The price of the door tends to be $50 to $200 higher for pre-hung because, as the name implies, the door is already hung on a frame complete with hinges and hardware.
Doors that are not pre-hung are called slab-doors, They do not include hinges, hardware, knobs or a frame (jamb, siding, etc.). They are much cheaper than pre-hung and offer some design flexibility, as you will be able to pick out all the hardware individually.
If you only need a door replacement, and not a door and frame replacement, you will save money on door costs. But, even though the average cost of a slab door is initially cheaper, you could spend more in the end. This is because you'll need to purchase the hardware, knobs, hinges and frame in addition to the door.
It also costs more to install a slab door than a pre-hung door. With this in mind, spending more upfront for a pre-hung door could actually save you money on the installation cost, which is generally 30-50% less than a slab door.
Prices for door hardware starts off at less than $50 for a simple, low-end knob set but can run up to several hundred dollars -- especially if you want a high quality lockset. You'll also want to make sure you're buying the right hardware for an exterior door, since not all interior door knobs come with locks, and may not be as sturdy as you'd like for the entrance to your home.
There's also a chance your door already comes with the hardware you need to fully install it. Make sure you know what the door comes with before you buy it, so the installer can quote you an accurate estimate of materials and labor for the job.
Installation cost is also affected by whether the door is part of new construction or is a replacement as part or a home remodel. With new construction, it'll likely be wrapped up in the total cost. If you want to replace an old door, you may be able to repurpose existing parts, like hinges and frame, therefore bringing down the overall cost.
Regardless, you'll have to pay attention to building regulations. Be aware of any building code requirements or historic preservation rules that may limit your choices when picking out a new door. Even if you had your eye on that cheaper steel door, regulations may require you to purchase a wood one to fit in stylistically with the neighborhood or building.
Other codes might require you to get a fire rated door. This type of door also adds to your overall cost.
Sliding doors and bi-fold doors are a little more complicated to install and will cost more. For sliding doors, your cost will go up if you have more than two panels.
The standard and popular door sizes are widths of 30, 32, and 36 inches with a height of 80 inches. The standard thickness is 1 3/4 of an inch. If the measurements of your existing door or opening do not match these numbers, your door and frame may be a custom size. This will raise costs.
Installing a custom door will raise the cost of your replacement door, since it could be difficult to find the right size or you may need to have one custom made. It can also increase labor costs, since it might be more complex and time-consuming for your contractor to install.
A contractor should quote you for both the material and labor costs for your door replacement. If you want your contractor to purchase a door for you, they can include the price of the door and hardware (hinges and knobs) in their total cost. The total cost will also include the labor cost to:
- Remove the old door
- Install locks
- Install the new door
Most contractors who do door installation are also locksmiths. Installing or replacing your door involves several steps, all of which are included in the overall rate.
The most inexpensive way to replace an exterior door is to use the existing frame and buy a replacement door that fits it. Ideally the existing hardware is in good repair and can also be used.
For instance, Second Wind Consulting & Contracting, a contracting firm in La Jolla, California, charges about $300 in labor to replace a door and use the existing door frame. They charge about $400 in labor to change both the door and its frame.
Before you hire someone to install your door, ask the following questions:
Can I have a free estimate?
Ask for an estimate before commissioning any work. Be prepared to tell the prospective contractor what the new door will be made from, what kind of building the door is being attached to, and whether you prefer pre-hung, slab, or if you would like to use the existing frame. The builder may also want to know the size of the door and the entryway to the house to provide the most accurate estimate.
What are your previous experiences with installing doors?
When trying to find somebody to help you with a door replacement, keep in mind that tasks like window and door replacements are not considered a specialty skill like plumbing or electrical work. The labor to replace a door requires the installer to have the basic carpentry skills of sawing, measuring, drilling and securing fasteners.
At the same time, a door must be centered, shimmed and correctly suspended in its frame or you will have problems with opening, closing and locking the door. A search for door contractors should take you to general contractors, carpenters, and handymen.