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A door latch being unscrewed from a door jamb

Overview

A solid door jamb is what helps your door open and close correctly. We'll teach you how to remove a broken jamb and replace it. You'll also learn how to properly level a jamb and set it firmly in place.

Steps

1Remove the door strip and hardware off the door jamb

Unscrew any latch plates, chains, bolts and other door hardware. Then use a chisel and hammer to pry the door strip away from the door jamb, starting from the bottom. As the timber starts to come away, put the claw of your hammer on either side of each nail to support the timber as it lifts off. Once the strip is off, pry out any nails that are left.
A door latch being unscrewed from a door jamb

2Remove the architrave that is covering the door jamb

The architrave comes off in a similar way to the door strip. Start with your chisel down near the floor and pry the timber off. If you come across any stubborn nails, try prying the architrave half off, then push it back down. Now you can use your claw hammer to pry the nail out. If your nail is really stubborn, wedge the blade of your wrecking bar underneath the architrave and use leverage to push it off.
A door jamb being pried free from the wall with a claw hammer

3Remove the door jamb

Use your wrecking bar to pry the jamb off. Once again, start down the bottom and work up. When the jamb is most of the way off, remove it from the top plate by pulling it towards you then moving it from side to side until it comes off in your hands. Now use your nail nippers to pull out any nails that are still there.
A door jamb being pried free from the wall with a pry bar

4Prepare for the new door jamb

Cut the timber for the new door jamb to size. In this case, we have to cut a notch in our top plate for the replacement jamb. Set the jamb in place and mark the lines for the notch. Then, using a multitool and a chisel, cut the notch out.
A notch being cut out of a wall to make room for a new door jamb

5Prepare the packers for levelling out the door jamb

Place the new door jamb in the notch and mark out positions for your packers. Normally, the best place for packers is 100mm from the top and bottom of the frame and where the door hardware sits. Now make enough packers for the door jamb by snapping strips of masonite to length. 
A bare wall being measure for a replacement door jamb

6Nail the top and bottom packers for the door jamb into place

A quick way to work out how many packers to use is to pack out from the wall to the notch in the top plate. Then nail them in place where you've just marked. Now place your spirit level between the top and bottom positions, and pack out the bottom until it's level. Once you have enough packers in place, nail them into position.

A packer being nailed into place for a new door jamb

7Install the new door jamb

Slide the jamb into place and hold it against the packers. Then make sure the jamb is flush with both walls and temporarily nail it at the top and bottom. If you only drive the nails half in, you'll find it's easier to make adjustments later on
A new door jamb being nailed into place

8Nail the middle packers for the door jamb into place

Insert the same number of packers into the middle, and half nail them into place. Then use your spirit level to check the door jamb is vertical and make any adjustments. Once everything is right, hammer those first three nails in and add a second nail on the other side at each level.
A completed door jamb repair

9Check the jamb is sitting correctly before reinstalling the door strip and architrave

Use your spirit level to check the jamb one more time. Then make sure the door closes properly, and that the gap between the jamb and door is even down to the floor. Finish the job by reinstalling the door strip and the architrave.
A Bunnings member with a goofy face using a spirit level to check the alignment of a new door jamb

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.