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Old 06-16-2009, 11:47 PM   #1
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New prehung front door not right

So, I had this installed by a local contractor. It took them like 9 hours to install this door, why the F- it took so long I have not a clue. But after 9 hours I'm not at all inclined to have them anywhere near my house again.

So, problem #1 the bottom hinge had to be shimmed so that it would line up in the door frame properly and close without hitting or rubbing.

Problem #2 - the top corner opposite the hinges is not square but the three other corners are perfectly square. As well all sides are perfectly level/plumb with according to my 4' level.

Problem #3 - the top corner opposite the hinges does not quite meet up with the seal of the door, however the rest of the door meets the seals perfectly.

Problem #4 - when I close the door the lock/latch on the knob does not go all the way into the hole for the latch, the smaller piece of the latch stays stuck on the striker plate unless I push on the door and force it closed and into the latch hole.

I'm starting to lean more towards a defective prehung door and frame as opposed to an installation error but I'm curious if anyone has any ideas or suggestions for me to try.


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Old 06-17-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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Ok, well I think I answered one of my own questions. Apparently the deadlock part isn't supposed to go into the hole in the striker plate, I guess every house i've ever lived in and door i've ever had wasn't done right.

However, related to that is that I cannot easily lock the deadbolt unless i've pushed the door into where that deadlock mechanism is inside the striker plate. Also closing the door to that level helps shore up the huge gap in the top corner there.


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Old 06-17-2009, 06:03 AM   #3
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Can't say what took so long, but it sounds like things are not plump/level/square. It could be your house, but no house is plumb/level square. That is something remodelers get used to, you work around the problems. Regardless of how bad the walls are, the door has to be plumb/level/square, or it won't work right. I have had a few occasions where the door I was hanging was built wrong, but that is rare. That said, there should be not reason to change the door construction. The house construction, however, may need some correcting. But it does, indeed, sound like this is not the guy to do it. Why did you hire him, what were his qualifications??
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:51 AM   #4
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I would take a framing square and check the corners of the jamb AND the door. Then I would lay a long straight edge along the door. It wouldn't be the first door to roll out of a factory out of square or twisted/warped or bent. That could be why it took 9 hours, if the installer was trying to make a screwed up door work properly. Also sounds like the deadbolt strike isn't aligned properly. And you are correct, the small plunger on the latchbolt is NOT supposed to enter the strike plate hole.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:09 AM   #5
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Well, the qualifications of these guys who did the work typically work on multi-million dollar homes in the area. Maybe my house was just too cheap to do a good job. The other problem might have been the fact that the real owner was on vacation and his son was managing the job, so much for hiring a company with 30 years of experience.

But anyways, back to the door itself. From what I can tell everything is plumb and square. The door itself appears to be square and flat and all corners of the jamb are square except for the top one.

Here's some pictures.

This one is hard to see what it is but it is the outside edge of the door.

This is side/edge of the jamb for the corner that is out of square.

Last edited by lofar; 06-17-2009 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
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If the jamb was out of square it should have been obvious before installation and a replacement unit should have been acquired. A new unit should never need to have a hinge shimmed. My guess would be that be they didn't follow proper installation procedures or the rough opening was not square or big enough to allow for proper installation.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:22 AM   #7
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It appears to me that the right side pictured (high side from square), the jamb is higher than the hinge jamb. To make up that they did not install the threshold level, that lock side jamb is higher. To keep a good reveal, they shimmed the bottom hinge, which would tighten the large gap at the top. Stand on a ladder outside holding the level under or over the head casing to check for level. My guess is it's not, the lock side is higher. Be safe, G
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:39 PM   #8
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I took a closer look at the door this afternoon. Loosened all the screws and pulled all the shims out. I found that the hinge side was actually out of plumb by probably 1/8th to 1/16th of an inch over 4 ft. I adjusted that as best I could and the door now seals at the top much better but I noticed that some of the gap has shifted down to the bottom of the door but neither the gap at the top or the bottom is as bad as the gap at the top used to be.

For the top, I managed to shim down the lock side of the door a little bit but it's still not square however I was able to lessen the amount of shimming required on the lower hinge which was pretty huge before.

I am happier now than I was, but I still can't lock the deadbolt without pulling/pushing the door in maybe 1/16th to 1/32nd of an inch.

But overall the door closes a lot easier than it did before. I may fiddle with it a little more this weekend and see if I can get it square on that end but I'm not entirely sure how I can do that, the shims I have in there on the top are pretty tight and one of them actually snapped off on its own under the pressure.

Last edited by lofar; 06-17-2009 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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Can't say exactly why it took them 9 hours but sometimes the job or the day just isn't right. I never judge a job (okay there are exceptions) that someone else has done (again I say there are exceptions, LOL) unless I have walked in their shoes. The idea of installing a door is plumb and even reveals HOWEVER sometimes the house prevents you from doing that and you have to adjust the RO a bit. That is when extra charges and other not so fun stuff come into play. The hinge side however is essential to be plumb between jambs not out 1/8" I just finished a trim job where I had to cut sheetrock and plumb the jamb both ways and and and. It was a mess but in order to make the job work this is what I had to do. However, sometimes there is nothing you can do and you take what you can get.

I would guess that if the contractor has experience building multi million dollar homes they are not hacks. However the guys that did the job I am unaware of their credentials.

I have a question for you did you ask them in a gentle tone how the job went for them? Have you asked them why the hinge side jamb is out 1/16th to an 1/8? Did you ask them why they shimmed the hinges? Did you tell them that although you are not a contractor but that from what you know and exterior door installation should not take 9 hours to install and what the problem was that took them so long? Did you talk to them at all and let them know that you are unhappy with the way the door operates? Again, like I said if you choose to do this please do this in a non confrontational way. You mentioned that the owner was out of town when the install occured have you spoken with him and asked that he come out and look at the install? You adjusted the door now you have "altered" the product and have opened an opportunity for them to balme the problems on you.

I would put things back the way they were and call the owner and explain your concerns to him. Not all of these projects go like we see on tv. I in no way am intending to undermine your abilities or knowledge level but some people assume that HGTV is reality but we don't see all the details of those jobs we just see the parts they capture for the show.

Also was the door you purchased a cheepy or was it a good door? Some of the crap I see on job sites that the homeowner bout for $99 are the WORST doors and they are slapped together somewhere in malaysia and shipped over here for people to purchase them and claim that they are great doors after all there is no difference between a $99 door and a $500 door, right?

I always communicate with my clients the problems I see while the job is in progress so that when the project concludes there are as little suprises as possible. I also talk wiht them at the conclusion of the project to see 1) if they are happy and 2) to identify any problems that they may have or problems that may exist. Call the owner and talk with him and see what can be done. Don't try and fix it yourself let them do that and if all else fails then you can make the adjustments.

Let us know how it all turns out.

Good luck and be safe!

James- Owner, Paragon Renovations
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:38 AM   #10
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If the door has compression weatherstripping, the action you described sounds about right to close the door.
The install sounds half assed. It sounds like the jamb legs are not in the same plane, which would explain the gaps at the corners.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:00 PM   #11
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Thank you Paragon for the insightful reply.

I did call them Tuesday afternoon after I posted this. The owner/dad answered but basically didn't want to deal with me, said that his son did the job and he would have him call me back. No call back yet.

As for why he had to shim the hinges, I don't know. I think i'm going to chaulk it up to inexperience and an improper install. He didn't really seem to want to work on that door any longer, at one point to get the door to fit properly he told me he was going to try to shave the bottom of the door. At which point I quickly pointed out that the door looked like it was sagging and that it didn't need to be shaved, just aligned correctly. That was about when he stuck the shim in the hinge.

The door certainly wasn't a $99 cheapie special. It was about $350.

In working with the door I'm sort of starting to see the mistake(s) and problems they had with it on my own. First, the rough frame is definitely not square or plumb what so ever which translates to the interior drywall and the exterior siding and trim not being plumb either. From the looks of it they were more concerned with getting the reveal the proper depth all around as well as getting the casing and exterior trim to lay flat against the door. In the process of leveling out the hinge side of the door the top hinge corner now sticks out about 1/8th of an inch past the siding, as well there is now a 1/8th inch gap between the drywall and the door frame on the inside and I don't think pushing the door in will help any because the bottom of the door meets both the drywall and the siding properly it just slopes outwards from the siding as you go up the door so obviously the drywall and siding are way out of plumb. I am probably going to have to chizel out a section of the exterior trim or shim the trim so that it will lay flat against he door and probably find something/way to fill in the gap in the drywall as well.

As far as how the job went from their perspective, I'm sure there were struggles because by the time it was over I think he wanted to get out of there just as much as I wanted him to get out of there.

And yes the door does have compression weatherstripping so that might be ok with the lock.

GBAR, from what I can tell the threshold is infact level or pretty damn close. If I had to guess I would say at worst the threshold is 1/16th or less off level on a 2 foot level. Which kind of brings me back to a problem with the door not being square at the top, maybe the door jamb on that side is ever so slighly longer than the jamb on the hinge side.


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