How to Reverse a Door

Once Chris and I decided that we would go ahead and reverse our bathroom door to make it swing to the left, it was time to actually reverse it.

Obvisouly, the first thing we had to do was take the door out of the jamb. Since that was done months ago, we went ahead and removed the hardware from the jamb

As we were removing the hinges we found and old matchbook someone had used to shim to door

pretty cool.

We measured to see where our new hinges should go on the OPPOSITE side of the jamb (we normally would have tried to save the hinges, but they were kinda messed up and covered in a number of layers of old paint and crud, so we just picked up some new ones for pretty cheap)

After we measured it, Chris got the router and carved out the proper rectangle (at the proper depth) to fit our new hinges on the new jamb side

After we switched the hinges to the other side, we filled in the spots were the hinges use to be with bondo and then sanded them down (we still have another layer to fill it in properly)

We also had to change the hinges on the actual door. While they stayed on the same side of the door, they had to switch from hugging against the blue side to hugging the white side

(you see the hinge is hugging the far side of the door and there's that little white stripe between the camera and hinge? Now the hinge hugs the other way and the strip of white is on the other side. That may have just confused you more, I'm not super great at explaining things sometimes.)

Once we got the hinges reversed and reversed the hardware on the door, it was time to take the door outside and sand it down.

You may have never noticed it, but doors are beveled towards the INSIDE of the jamb, meaning that when you close the door, the side that's hinged is actually not perfectly square, but is instead sanded down on an angle to lead the door into the jamb in order to let it close properly.

See that little pop of light coming through between the door and the combo square?

That little bit of light is where the door is sanded down so that it can slide into the jamb and close properly. Because we revesed the door, we had to reverse the sanding so that the door could close in the jamb the OTHER way.

Chris got out the belt sander and got to work (I don't have one of him sanding the door down in the right spot, just the top, whoopsie)

(and we ALWAYS make sure to wear our masks when sanding down anything that was painted because our house was built in the 1920s so there's a good chance the paint has lead in it).

It took a few times of trial and error to make sure that we had sanded down enough so the door could close properly (a few times it creaked and came within about 2-3 inches without shutting). That's where a lot of Chris' sighs and eye rolling came in. I mostly stayed silent since I made him do it, hehehehe :)

But now the door opens and closes just how we want it to!


Anonymous said...

Nice. Thanks for the walk through --- encouraging; i hope to do a similar reversal on an exterior door.

meryl rose said...

glad to help!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. It's 2014 now and proves your post is eternally helpfull! Mostly the part about the bevel on the door edge...that's the kind of thing I usually find out after a bitter struggle And an ugly ending! Thanks! JESS

meryl rose said...

Glad to help Jess! It continues to prove to be our most popular post to date, so hopefully it helps lots of folks out! :)