Introduction: Shed Door Replacement / Upgrade

You have seen those ubiquitous metal sheds all over the place. Some are used as garden sheds others for storage shed. I have one I use for my ranch feed and saddles.

The doors of many of these sheds are a foam core door with a vinyl shell. They are functional, but they are not very durable, and they are definitely nothing to look at.

In this Instructable, I will show how I changed my old, wore-out, foam core shed door with an old solid wood exterior home door giving my shed a much more rustic appearance.

I do not have a shop full of tools, so I try to keep it all as simple as possible, but steps could be modified with proper wood working tools.

Step 1: Materials

A majority of the materials I used in this project I already had. I was given the old door and all the lumber used, but I will itemize what I used for this.

It should be noted, that some of the measurements may vary with your needs. I was working to replace a door that was 71 inches by 48 inches. The door you are replacing may be a different size, as is the wood door you are replacing it with.

  • 1 –solid wood exterior door – Solid wood is best, because it may need to be cut down to fit the shorter door frame.
  • 6 – 1” X 6” by at least 72” boards (This is what is needed for my frame, but I had to make due with the lumber I had.)
  • 1 ½ inch wood screws
  • 3 inch wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Gate latch
  • 3 heavy duty hinges (Optional)
  • A couple of scrap pieces of 2x4 to attach door #2. (Optional)


  • Saw with wood blade
  • Saw with hacksaw blade
  • Screw driver or drill with driver bit
  • Wrench
  • Tape measure
  • Clamp
  • Pencil

Step 2: Remove the Old Door

Most foam core shed doors’ hinges are actually part of the entire frame itself and thus the hinges cannot be removed from the frame.

This step was easy for me. The screws holding the hinge plate to the door were already stripped out the door itself. The door was already removed.

If you are not so lucky to have your door already off the hinges, then I recommend just removing the screws from the hinge plate attached to the door itself.

Remove the spring catch on the top of the door also.

Step 3: Scavenge the Old Door

The door itself has a metal frame around the edge. This edge will be removed and used to frame the edges of the new door. The purpose of this is first, it is the exact size of the opening, so it serves as a perfect size guide for your new door. Second, it has a lip on the outside that will help seal edges of the door tightly against the frame. Third, it already has the holes marked for attaching the hinges.

With the wrench, unscrew the edges from the door to remove the edge.

You may need to remove the door handle to remove the open side of the edge.

One edge was seriously bent from backing into it with a truck, so I had straighten it out by clamping it to a board and pounding it back into shape.

Step 4: Prep the Wood Door #1

In most cases the wooden door will be too tall for the frame. So, you need to cut some off. You can take a little off the top or a little off the bottom, or if you are particularly ambitious, you can take a little off the top AND a little off the bottom. Me, I went with a little off the top. Just to keep it simple and I liked the look of the bottom of the door better than the top.

  1. Measure the inside of the door frame opening.
  2. Mark the wood door the length of the inside door frame opening.
  3. To make sure you have the most accurate, you can line up the metal edge removed from the old door against the new door. You already know it is the exact size of the inner frame.
  4. Cut off the extra wood.

Step 5: Add the Metal Edging

  1. Align the edge that had the hinge along the long side of the door.
  2. Make sure the ends are lined up.
  3. Attach the edge with the 1 ½ inch wood screws.
  4. Align the top edge metal to the top of the wood door, joining the corners of both metal strips.
  5. Mark the edging where it lines up with the edge of the wood door.
  6. Clamp the edge to a sturdy board and cut with the hack saw along the line. Keep these cut offs.
  7. Repeat with the bottom metal edge on the bottom of the wood door.
  8. Now attach the top and bottom edges to the wood with the 1 ½ inch wood screws.

Step 6: "Door" #2 Prep

You have the good looking wood door all set, but it is not wide enough to fill the entire door frame. This is the step where you make a second “door”.

This second door can be an actual door with the optional heavy duty hinges, or it can just be a decoration to fill the space, which is the way I went.

My shed door opening is 48" wide. The wood door I installed is only 31" wide. My second door will need to be 17" wide. The 1x6 boards actually are 5.5" wide, so the door will be three boards wide.

  1. Measure the length of each of the 1x6 boards to be the height of the inside frame. Again, using the metal edge as a measure guide will insure the proper length.
  2. Cut 5 of them to length. (Note – Since I am using scrap lumber, a few of my 1x6 boards were not long enough to be used, but I used a couple to reach the 71 inch length. I didn’t worry because there will be a cross beam on the front to secure the two separate pieces. I measured my “scrap” pieces to joint at the cross. As my dad used to say, "Do as I say, not as I do.")
  3. The 6th 1x6 will be used as the horizontal cross pieces. A strip along the top, a strip along the mid area, and a strip along the bottom. These strips will match the cross pieces on the wood door.
  4. Measure the height of each horizontal cross strip on the wood door.
  5. Adjust the saw guard to 45 degrees to cut the pieces in a beveled slant to more closely match the decorative beveled slant of the wood door.
  6. Cut off pieces from the 6th board the same measurements as top, middle and bottom.
  7. With the remaining sections of the 6th board, cut two 12 inch lengths and one 16 inch length that will serve as support braces on the back.

The list of cut boards should be as follows:

  • 5 – 1x6x71" boards
  • 1 – horizontal top cross with bevel on one end
  • 1 – horizontal mid cross with bevel on both ends
  • 1 – horizontal bottom cross with bevel on one end
  • 2 – 1x6x12" rear support braces
  • 1 – 1x6x16" rear support brace

Step 7: Door #2 Build

Now that all the pieces have been cut, it is time to assemble door #2.

  1. Lay down three of the 1x6x71" boards.
  2. Lay one 12" rear support brace horizontally across all three 1x6x71" boards near the top and another 12" rear support brace near the bottom about where each of the front horizontal crosses would be located.
  3. Lay the 16" rear support brace horizontally across all three boards near the middle of the door just like the top and bottom, except offset it a couple inches to the side of the door that will open. This offset will serve as an additional doorstop for the wood door.
  4. Attach each support brace with the 1 ½ inch wood screws. This will make a plank about 17" by 71".
  5. Carefully flip over the plank.
  6. Line up the remaining two 1x6x71" boards on each side of the plank.
  7. Attach them with the 1 ½ inch wood screws.
  8. Attach the horizontal top cross with wood glue. (Mine was too small to use a screw to secure it.)
  9. Measure the vertical distance from the top cross to the mid cross on the wood door.
  10. Line up the horizontal mid crosses between the two boards. Space them the vertical same distance measured on the wood door.
  11. Attach it with the wood glue and secure with 1 ½ inch wood screws.
  12. Attach the horizontal bottom cross to bottom of the door with wood glue and 1 ½ inch screws.
  13. Now door #2 looks similar to the original wood door.

Step 8: Door # 2 Framing

Remember the short metal edges you cut back in step 5.6? You will need them here.

  1. Line up the top metal edge along the top of door #2. The top piece will have the square cut end that lines up with the square cut end of door #1.
  2. Attach it with the 1 ½ inch wood screws.
  3. Repeat the steps with the bottom metal edge.
  4. Line up the side metal edge onto door #2 so the angled ends form a square, just like on door #1.
  5. Again, attach the side metal edge to door #2 with the 1 ½ inch wood screws.
  6. Stand up both doors next to each other and observe your work.

Step 9: Hanging the Doors

This step is pretty straight forward. It is easier if you have an extra set of hands to hold the doors in place.

Using the old door’s metal edging makes it easy to line up the screw holes for the hinges. There is no guess work to make sure it is lined up.

Attach the hinges with the 3 inch wood screws.

Door #2 would be a bit more challenging if you chose to allow it to open with optional hinges. I opted not to hinge it at this time, so I attached it directly to the inside wood frame of the shed using just a couple pieces of scrap 2x4 I had laying around and the 3 inch wood screws. I do plan on hinging it later, but not at this time.

Step 10: Latch It Up

The final step is to install the latch with the lever on door #1 and the catch on door #2.

That is all there is to it.

The door swings open and closed easily. It fits in the door frame exactly as the original foam core door had.

It gives the mundane metal shed a little more of a rustic look. I thought about even painting the bare wood side the same as the red door, then distressing it to look worn and faded, but that will be a project for another time. For now, I am please with how it turned out.

I hope this inspired you to repair your shed with an upgrade and a new look.

And as always, thanks for checking out my instructable!

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