How Do You Install a Pre-Hung Door?

Pre-hung DoorDo you want to know how to install a pre-hung door? At first glance, hanging a door may seem to be one of the simpler home improvement tasks, but it can prove challenging. The challenge lies in the fact that a door’s action calls for precision. If it is not installed correctly, a door may have problems latching. It may also not clear the jamb and may not swing smoothly on its hinges. As a result, hanging a door can require a fair amount of carpentry skill. The tips below can show you how to install a pre-hung door with only a few basic tools and a little home improvement knowledge. “Pre-hung” means that your new door will come with a door frame.

  • Tools You Need:
  • A 4-foot level
  • Shims
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Insulating foam
  • Hammer
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Pin punch
  • Hammer
  • Drywall saw

Step 1: Remove the Old Door and Door frame

Shut the door. Use your hammer and a pin punch or nail to remove the hinge pins then take the door out of the frame, according to Family Handyman. Remove the door trim. Use a reciprocating saw in the gap between the frame and rough opening to cut any nails or screws that are holding the door frame in place. Try to avoid damaging the frame studs. Pull the old door frame out of the rough opening.

Step 2: Check Your Rough Opening

You will need to measure the height, width and depth of your rough opening. The height of your new door should be half an inch less than the height of the opening. It should also be 3/4 of an inch less than the width of the opening. This extra room is there so that you can shim the door to ensure that it is positioned properly.

Make sure that all sides of the rough opening are plumb and square. This is especially important if your house is an older one and is an big part of learning how to install a pre-hung door. Adjust the sub-sill with shims if necessary. You may have problems getting the door to latch if the sub-sill is not level. Sometimes the drywall will run into the opening in which case you will have to use a drywall saw to adjust it. Once all of this has been handled, it will be time to hang the door.

Step 3: Cut the Door Frame

The sides on your new door frame will be longer than necessary. This is by design so that you can adjust as needed. If the floor is not level, you will need to make one side of the door frame shorter to fit the floor.

Step 4: Position the Door

Lift the door frame into position. It is very important for your new door frame to be installed plumb and level. Use shims at the top of the door frame along with your level to help get it perfectly plumb. If possible, get someone to hold the door frame while you insert the shims. Shims eliminate the need to rebuild the door to get it to fit the rough opening.

There should be a consistent 1/8 inch gap between the door frame and the rough opening. Adjust the door’s position in the opening until you have that consistent gap. Insert shims at the points where the hinges will be located. Drive the hinge screws through the shims. Make sure that the gap between the door frame and the rough opening on the lock side is still even. Add shims at the location of the lockset and deadbolt.

Step 5: Check to Make Sure that the Door Operates Smoothly

Open and close the door a few times to see if there are any problems. Adjust if necessary. Make sure that the door is making even contact with the doorstop. If it is hitting unevenly, adjust by pulling or pushing the frame until it hits evenly. Once everything is working smoothly, remove the visible part of the shims by scoring them with a utility knife and then breaking them off. This will keep them from being seen after installation.

Step 6: Seal Gaps Around Frame

You can do this with foam minimal expansion foam insulation. Use a putty knife to remove any excess insulation before attaching the trim and the hardware.

Related Resource: Install a Screen Door

While this can be an advanced home improvement project, a pre-hung door will eliminate much of the guesswork and skill needed for a door installation. By learning how to install a pre-hung door, you can add to both the value and the security of your home.