Installing a Prehung Interior Door
Unless you're a master carpenter, it's easiest to install a prehung door. Fitting a slab door into an existing jamb is an involved process in which it's easy to make mistakes. A prehung door comes with all the precision work done for you. The door's hinges fit snugly into mortises in the jamb; the holes and mortises for the handle and for the strike are cut just right; and the jamb itself is neatly assembled. Once the rough opening has been prepared, the prehung door simply slips in.
- REMOVE THE OLD DOOR AND JAMB
- PULL THE OLD JAMB OUT OF THE OPENING
- LEVEL THE HEAD JAMB
- PLUMB AND SHIM HINGE-SIDE JAMB AND NAIL HINGE-SIDE JAMB TO THE STUD
- COUNTERSINK NAIL HEADS ON LATCH JAMB
REMOVE THE OLD DOOR AND JAMB
Remove the old door and jamb. Open the door, and support it temporarily by wedging a few shims underneath the bottom. Use a pry bar and hammer to pop out the hinge pins, then pull the door away. Pry away the moulding using a scrap of wood to keep from marring the wall. Use a reciprocating saw with an 8-inch utility blade to cut the nails holding the jamb in place.
PULL THE OLD JAMB OUT OF THE OPENING
Starting at the bottom, pry both the side jambs toward the middle of the opening. Pry the top jamb down and pull all three pieces out at the same time. Pull out or pound flush any nails that remain in the opening.
LEVEL THE HEAD JAMB
Unpack the door, and remove the fastener that keeps the door shut. Slide the door into the opening, taking care to keep the jambs tight against the door as you position it. Make sure the door swings in the direction you want and centre the door in the opening. Hold it in place by temporarily shimming between the framing and the top door jamb. After the shims are in place, level the top jamb as shown in step four.
PLUMB AND SHIM HINGE-SIDE JAMB AND NAIL HINGE-SIDE JAMB TO THE STUD
Plumb and shim the hinge-side jamb. Slip shims from either side of the door between the bottom of the hinge jamb and the framing to bring the jamb into plumb. Hold a 4- or 6-foot level against the jamb and tap the shim gently until the level reads plumb. Nail the hinge-side jamb to the stud. Drive a nail through the bottom of the jamb, into the shim, and partway into the framing. (Leave part of the nail exposed in case you have to remove it.) Install intermediate shims. Check again to see that the hinge jamb is plumb. Shim behind the hinges from both directions, sliding the shims in and out as needed to fill the space between the jamb and framing without flexing the jamb. Drive a nail through the shims into the stud, but don't set it until the jamb is plumb and flush.
COUNTERSINK NAIL HEADS ON LATCH JAMB
Plumb and shim the hinge-side jamb. Slip shims from either side of the door between the bottom of the hinge jamb and the framing to bring the jamb into plumb. Hold a 4- or 6-foot level against the jamb and tap the shim gently until the level reads plumb.
ADJUST, NAIL, AND CUT THE SHIMS
Nail the hinge-side jamb to the stud. Drive a nail through the bottom of the jamb, into the shim, and partway into the framing. (Leave part of the nail exposed in case you have to remove it.)
MOUNT THE HARDWARE AND APPLY TRIM
Mount the hardware and apply trim. Install the door handle and the strike plate. Cut and install the door trim.
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Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 1 hour
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