Home renovations require time and energy, but there are quick, simple improvements you can make that will dramatically upgrade the appearance of your home without breaking the bank.
Installing a pre-hung door is one such task. Though not an intricate process, installing one does require some carpentry skills as well as someone to help lift heavy objects.
Measure the Rough Opening
Installing interior or exterior doors requires knowing the size of their rough opening. This structurally-framed space will accept the door you will install; its dimensions are determined by measuring from stud to stud and header to floor.
Your door should ideally be at least 2 inches wider than its rough opening to allow room for you to adjust and secure its placement properly. This additional space provides extra wiggle room when installing your new door, providing space to shim its frame properly and ensure you can affix it securely to its frame.
Know if the door will swing left or right by studying how your hinges are installed – one side should contain screws while the other connects to a latch plate. After gathering this information, measure the head jamb opening; it should be level; use a long level to double check.
Remove the Existing Door
Before installing your new door, first remove the old one from its frame. As this task requires considerable physical strength and weight of doorframe and door, make sure that someone helps. Place large pieces of timber at each corner to help ensure it remains plumb as you lift and carry.
By taking this opportunity to inspect your interior trim and casing, take this chance to carefully measure its width between framing members as well as from sill to top trim; compare this measurement with those required by your prehung door to ensure it fits securely.
Once the door has been removed, its frame must be prepared for its replacement. A utility square should be used to check that existing hinge mortises are at a 90-degree angle and mark new cut lines for hinges using a utility knife – providing much more precise lines than pencil.
Shim the Jambs
Check your trimmer studs using a level or plumb bob to ensure they’re square to the wall. An opening that is out-of-square by more than a few inches makes installing prehung doors difficult.
Shim the hinge jamb using shims if it is lower than the latch side. Place a 4-foot level on the floor in front of an opening, slip shims underneath until its bubble centers itself, then secure them using finish nails.
Repeat this process for the latch jamb, and shim it until it is flush with the floor. Now that both jambs have been shimmed to ensure proper fit, take time to consider swing direction and location of handle; this information can help ensure you purchase an ideal door that fits perfectly; additionally it can assist with determining left or right handedness as buildings settle over time, potentially causing doors to swing incorrectly or latch incorrectly.
Install the Door
Pre-hung doors come complete with doorknob cutouts and frames, making installation much simpler than installing slab doors; however, they can still prove challenging if their frames don’t lie level and plumb.
An effective way to check is to place a level across the floor where the sill will rest and if it isn’t level, add shims until the bubble centers itself. Or place another level on top of your hinge jamb to measure its height.
Pre-hung doors may cost more than slab ones, but their installation takes only one step instead of two – saving time and avoiding frame construction issues in new construction or extensive room remodel projects. Installing exterior doors yourself may prove too heavy; to ensure perfect alignment each time, have someone assist with this step-by-step installation project.