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How hard is installing a new exterior door?

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I want to replace the door to my patio with one that has glass in it. We are trying to do repairs and improvements ourselves, but are very inexperienced. I asked a handyman about this job, and he said it can be difficult to match the new door to the frame (meaning where the lock goes, I think) and he prefers rebuilding the whole door frame.

To have the handyman do it will cost a good bit. Is it really as challenging as he made it sound? Could a couple of inexperienced people successfully change out this door? What would it involve?


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To a carpenter, it isn't challenging, but to a homeowner it can be. We have had doors hung onto existing frames, and the doors always require modification to get them to fit (door frames are rarely square, doors are too tall for existing thresholds, etc.). Plus lining up the holes for the existing latch and locks and notching out for hinges isn't that easy. For simplicity, a pre-hung is usually best, but that requires ripping out the current frame.

I would pay the extra to have it professionally installed...in a few years you won't even remember what it cost. But if you don't do a good job yourself, in a few years you will probably have to have it redone.

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I was thinking of similar issues for a front door - I was going to go the solid door route and drill out everything myself to match the frame. Now that I think about it the frame is pretty yucky so maybe I should flip my idea around! The garage door (to the backyard) has a weird attachment at the bottom where the previous owner probably ran in to a fitting problem - not the worst but probably worth it to do it right the first time around..

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