Installing a pre-hung door can make any task quicker and simpler, from replacing old doors to adding brand new ones.
First, measure the rough opening. This includes measuring its dimensions (height and width of door studs as well as depth of trim or molding).
Removing the Old Door
Before installing a pre-hung door in your house, the old one must first be taken down. This process can be done using various tools depending on what needs to be accomplished and the resources already at hand; although basic tools should suffice. Having someone help can make this step a lot simpler!
At first, you must remove the molding and frame. Since these parts can be difficult to dismantle on your own, consider hiring a handyman or contractor to assist with this step – they will know exactly how to take them apart without harming other aspects of the door opening.
Once the molding and framing is removed, you can begin dismantling the old door. This step may prove challenging depending on its age and complexity; to help ease its removal. Having assistance on hand for this step can be invaluable.
To remove the door from its frame, use a pry bar and hammer to unpin its hinge pins. With these out of the way, simply pull gently on its hinge pins until your door comes loose from its frame.
If the frame is in great condition, you can reuse it for your new door. Otherwise, if its condition deteriorates significantly, you must take steps to completely disassemble and dispose of it.
Install shims into the opening to ensure the door can be properly aligned. Shims should be spaced out every 12 inches across the frame and adjusted so they create about an 1/8-inch gap between door and jamb.
Finally, test-fit your door into its opening. This step is crucial, as if the door isn’t leveled and plumb it could prove challenging to get it fitting properly.
Once the shims have been installed and tested-fit into their openings, you can begin installing your pre-hung door. For best results, use a level to draw plumb lines on both sides of the opening to ensure the door is correctly aligned.
Prepping the Opening
Installing a pre-hung door is an effortless way to make your house more appealing, quick and cost-efficient process.
Before installing the door, however, its opening must first be prepared – an essential step that may prove challenging in older homes.
Preparing an opening starts by taking several steps. Remove old doors, molding and frames; scrape away existing caulk to clean as much of it out as possible from around the opening; clean off as much caulk from inside as you can from within; scrape away any excess caulk to ensure as thorough a job as possible of cleaning out and opening as you can.
Next, measure the rough opening size of your door and ensure it fits within its framing in its opening. If it does not, re-framing must take place prior to hanging your door.
As part of your door installation, it’s also essential that the interior and exterior sides fit tightly inside their jambs. One way of doing this is tapping cedar wedges between both sets of jambs – either interiorly or externally – on both sides of the door.
Once your door fits securely inside its jambs, use shims to level it. These thin pieces of wood should fill any gaps between it and wall framing in order to achieve an even surface that meets both.
As a general guideline, it is wise to set the shims approximately 1 / 2 inch on either side of the door to equal its width of opening. After placing them, use your level to ensure they are plumb and square.
If the door isn’t plumb and square, it won’t swing freely. To adjust for this problem, add some wood to its jambs so as to fill any gaps between panels.
Re-framing an opening before hanging a door is often both time-consuming and expensive, if that is your preference. A more convenient approach may be purchasing a custom-sized door from which the hinge mortises can be cut to match existing jambs, and then have it installed professionally.
Hanging the Door
Pre-hung doors can be quickly and easily installed due to having their frames attached; however, some preparation and expertise may still be required in order to complete this job successfully. If this is your first experience hanging doors, enlist the services of an expert instead.
Before purchasing and hanging a pre-hung door, take measurements of your rough opening in the wall in order to establish its dimensions. This will help you decide on the appropriate door size and style.
Once measured, carefully remove the trim molding (molding) and take down the old door entirely. Be wary when doing this in order to protect the drywall.
Make this task simpler and safer by asking a friend or partner for assistance. They can prevent fingers getting caught on doors as well as decrease any risk of injury from doing the task on their own.
Once the door has been taken off of its hinges, tip it toward you with its top edge against the threshold and use its weight to open and close all other hinges until all are lined up correctly.
If any of your hinges are low, use a pry bar to lift it until all other hinges line up with it. Once this has happened, drive one hinge pin into which ever one lines up first before tapping in any remaining pins.
Repeat this process at each hinge jamb. If your door is out of plumb, add shims between its casing and wall studs until it is even. Nail doubled-up shims onto each jamb at every hinge location to secure it and ensure stability of your door.
Before hanging your door, double check that your wall and trimmers are level using a level. If they’re not plumb or square, shim the casing behind each hinge location until they’re flush with each other; then drive 8d finish nails through both to secure it in place.
Finishing the Job
Installing a pre-hung door requires taking several precautions to ensure everything is level and plumb, as well as checking that its hinges are hanging correctly and that its balance within its frame.
To complete your door replacement correctly, it requires some tools and some practice. First, remove the old door from its frame and lay it flat. Next, assemble all necessary installation tools such as hammers, pry bars, flat or Phillips head screwdrivers, chisels and wood shims.
Once you have assembled all the tools needed, measure the rough opening where your door will reside. This should be approximately 1 1/2 inches larger than standard door size to ease installation and avoid future complications.
Now that you have taken measurements, it is time to choose the appropriate pre-hung door for your opening. Most standard pre-hung doors come in sizes of 30 inches or 36 inches but there may be variations available as non-standard widths as well.
Make a choice between hollow core doors or solid core doors; hollow core will be less expensive. Solid doors may require painting or staining depending on your taste.
Step two involves gathering shims and finish nails for assembly. A nail gun may be useful for fastening the shims to the door and framing, while for fastening finish nails to them a finish nailer with 2″ 16ga nails may provide the best result.
Shims can be purchased at any home improvement store and used to shim the door between jamb and studs so that its frame lies flat against the wall.
Utilize a level to measure each side of the door before adding shims if necessary; repeat until all surfaces are level and plumb.
Once satisfied with the result, fasten the shims securely to both sets of door studs using your level to check that they are in the appropriate places.