Installing a Pre-Hung Door

Q:The door to my laundry room is in pretty bad shape. Painting it won’t help because some of the wood is cracking and falling off. How do I replace the door?

A: (James Young, DIY Home Improvement expert) Replacing a door is not that difficult, so you may want to start from scratch by pulling the whole door out and reinstalling a pre-hung door.

If you want to replace only the door — using an ordinary slab-door — keep in mind that you may have to mortise the door and hinges, and you may also have to make holes for your doorknobs. Installing a pre-hung door is probably simpler. These may cost a little more, but they’re much simpler to install. Here’s how to do it.

  1. If there’s a problem with the door as well as the door-jamb, unfasten the hinges, remove the door and use a pry-bar to remove the old door-jamb.
  2. On a split-jamb pre-hung door, the jambs are already pre-mounted on each side of the door, sandwiching the door itself between (figure A).
  3. Remove the inner jamb temporarily, and position the door in place. Use a carpenter’s level to ensure that the door is installed evenly and plumb.
  4. It’s easier to work on installation with the door closed. Use wood shims to hold the door and door-jamb plumb and steady as you work.

Figure A

Figure B

Figure C

Figure D

  1. With the door held securely plumb, use an air-nailer to nail the door-frame to the surrounding studs. Nail directly through the frame and shims (figure B) all the way around the frame so that it is secure.

Safetey Alert: Always wear eye protection when working with power tools.

  1. Once the frame is nailed in position, use a utility knife to score (figure C) and break off the shims. Repeat the process all the way around the door.
  2. Position the inner jamb back in place, line it up evenly and nail it secure in the same way (figure D). Install the nails in the inner jamb on the same plane as the ones used on the outer one so that

Figure E

Figure F

the inside and outside nails are fastened through the same shim in each case.

  1. Once the jamb is nailed securely, remove the rubber stopper from the pre-drilled doorknob hole (figure E). This was placed there prior to shipping to help hold the parts together, making the door easier to work with.
  2. Important: If you want to paint or stain the door, wait until after the door-jamb and frame is hung. Remove the hinges, take down the door itself and lay it flat to paint.
  3. This prefabricated door makes installation easier, and the doorknob holes are already pre-cut (figure F).


Taunton’s Build Like a Pro: Windows and Doors: Expert Advice from Start to Finish (Build Like a Pro)

Model: 1561584835

Author: Scott McBride (April, 2002)

To order this title from, click here.

The Taunton Press Inc

Newtown, CT 06470

Phone: 203-426-8171

Fax: 203-426-3434


Installing and Hanging Doors (For Pros by Pros Series)

Model: 1561586358

Author: Gary Katz (August, 2002)

To order this title from, click here.

The Taunton Press Inc Newtown, CT 06470

Phone: 203-426-8171

Fax: 203-426-3434


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