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pl1338 11-01-2010 11:41 PM

slab doors... How difficult is this gonna be?
I have this rental property. It's an old house, three doors to the BR's are ruined, and they were nice solid 6 panels! Anyhoo, the trim and stuff is in great shape so I went and bought some straight, doors with no mill work done to them at all. I've done alot of remodeling, but this is one area I've stayed away from, hinges and door knob holes have never appealed to me. But in this case, I do not want to tear out all the trim and the walls are plaster etc. That mess would be too large for me to deal with this late in the game, the house is nearly ready for tenants and I want to get them in ASAP!

So any suggestions on lining up the holes and hinges etc.

Thanks for any help!


Bonzai 11-02-2010 12:43 AM

Re: slab doors... How difficult is this gonna be?
So is it basic slab doors you've bought? Are they cheap hollow core doors or solid wood or what?

Why do I ask? Well because with most cheap slab doors from Home Depot and Rona they cut costs nowadays by only reenforcing a small section of the door where they expect the door handle to be ... If your handle needs to be lower or higher than this to match the existing door frame then you may need to add some reinforcement wedges of your own and glue in place. To make the door handle/lock holes you can get a jig (Irwin make one which is sold at Home Depot). Hopefully you still have the old doors to match things up. You may also need to trim the doors slightly depending on flooring hight. Sometimes it's actually less of a pain in the butt to buy a pre-hung door and spend a bit more for a decent product that has more material to work with (cheap slab doors have very little allowance for trimming) and normally pre-hung doors are already fully machined.
For hinge recesses the best tool is a router ... There's an Irwin jig for this too.

I replaced several doors for a client recently ... He insisted on buying the cheapest possible hollow core slab doors himself, but by the time I had trimmed all of them and done the machining not to mention 5 coats of paint it would have been cheaper if he had followed my suggestion of buying better quality pre-hung doors especially as the old frames were mahogany and it took 4 coats just to prime them!

FYI - if you know what you're doing the existing trim can be pried off easily enough without damage, existing door frames removed and trim reinstalled once new pre-hung doors are installed.

pl1338 11-02-2010 08:27 AM

Thanks for your help bonzai, I do have the old doors. the doors I bought are the cheapest I could find. I realize they are skimping on materials and figured on the trimming, but the old doors are all broken out around the handle and latch area. These didn't have modern handles on them, they had the old insert style latches, which nothing is left of those. I actually considered somehow cutting the latch/handle area of the old doors out and replacing that part of it.

The reason I wanted to leave all the old trim alone is because it would tear up plaster and this is a project I really did not want to get into. I have already put three doors in this place, front, rear and a utility room, all were pre-hung. While I agree it is much easier and everything would match up nicely, I was hoping this wouldn't be as difficult as I am thinking in my head?

At any rate, Thanks again for the suggestions, I'm going in!

I'll check in later to let you know how this all turns out... Confidence level is not high at the moment. First its time for some good 'ol Mikky D's coffee!

BigJim 11-02-2010 08:58 AM

I'm not trying to rain on your parade but replacing just the door in an existing jamb is sometimes very tough to do as the house settles or the other door wasn't square or many different things. That was one of my least favorite things to do. Most of the new doors will be narrower than the older ones unless they have changed in the last 10 years so be aware of that. The hardware you described is a full mortise lock, if you are trying to go back with a full mortise lock on a cheap hollow door you really are going to have your work cut out for you.

I do understand you not wanting to remove and replace with a new jamb as it would really be tough to get the new jamb and door into the opening without messing up the plaster.

You might want to get another cup of coffee for later, you will need it.

Jay123 11-02-2010 09:53 AM


Originally Posted by jiju1943 (Post 527244)
I'm not trying to rain on your parade but replacing just the door in an existing jamb is sometimes very tough to do


I know you're in a hurry JPL, but this is an excellent video for anyone wanting to learn how to hang a door, covers both slabs and pre-hung.

pl1338 11-02-2010 07:02 PM

Well fellas, It's like this...

I took a long look at those babies, the slabs were three inches taller than the originals, I knew the hollow doors would not last long with the bottoms cut off...

I went ahead and cut out the destroyed sections, put a 2x4 piece in there, glued and screwed, now tomorrow I will drill the holes. It really doesn't look all that bad. A little putty, that's right, auto body putty, and a little sanding, no one will ever know the difference.

Anyone ever done this before? All the trim and plaster stays intact.

I took a few pics but can't figure out how to get them on here?

Jay123 11-02-2010 07:09 PM

I've used bondo plenty of times, works real well and machines well too (perfect for when you mess up the last flute on a fluted long as it's getting painted). :whistling2:

As far as pictures I have an account at where I upload photos to, then post the link here.

pl1338 11-02-2010 07:32 PM

pl1338 11-02-2010 07:32 PM

pl1338 11-02-2010 07:33 PM

Jay123 11-02-2010 07:34 PM

Good idea, bondo will be perfect for that.

pl1338 11-02-2010 07:36 PM

As you can see these things were not gonna be used without some major repair. Thats where the saw and a 2x4 comes in.

Thanks for the tips on photo bucket, I had an old account there and it still works! So here you go. All three doors were the same way, so all three are waiting for final drill and installation of the handles tomorrow.

Keith Mathewson 11-02-2010 07:53 PM

The door where you patched in a piece of 2x4 no longer has any structural stability. You need to put in a piece from style to style or over time the door will flex and and the panels will work loose.

Jay had a good suggestion, buy Gary Katz's dvd on hanging doors. It covers how to hang new doors in old, out of square and level jambs.

Either do the job right the first time or you'll get to do it twice.

Jay123 11-02-2010 07:57 PM

...or maybe pocket screw the 2x4 on both sides to the stile...maybe 3 per end, for a total of 12.

Keith Mathewson 11-02-2010 08:03 PM


He cut out nearly the entire stile on the strike. You now have an endgrain to endgrain connection,There is no way that patch will hold up. Now if the entire style were replaced....

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