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Old 04-24-2007, 10:57 PM   #1
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Mystery Metal Door Jams

My husband and I are hoping to replace both the interior and exterior doors of our home which was built in 1953. The homes of the neighborhood were built in mass production during the Hanford Project and are all very similar. A lot of the homes have at least updated exterior doors... not too sure about interior doors. Ours has neither. The weird part is that both the door and the jam are metal so while we thought removing the old doors would be a no brainer, it has instead turned into a headache. I am curious if anyone has ever come across these metal door jams anywhere else, and if so, how the heck do you get them out of the wall. I talked to my dad about it and he said in some industrial projects he has seen they will install one piece metal door jams and then build the walls around them. We're talking trim and everything. Poking around with my chisel through several layers of paint, I fear that this is the case with my doors. However, I can't help but think that there has to be some sort of trick to getting these things out. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you.


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Old 04-25-2007, 06:28 AM   #2
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I don not know for sure what the design is for the metal framed doors that you have.

I do know that modern commercial and industrial steel framed doors are usually installed primarily in two ways.

1.) Stationary installation: Attached with metal tabs/screws located under the door's metal framed casings. The tabs are welded to the frame. Removal of the sheetrock/plaster around the frame is necessary. Frame is also attached with 'reverse plates' located under the door jambs themselves - facing the towards the threshold of the door opening and attached to the floor using tapcons or concrete screws. These are usually also cemented or mortar patched over to create a smooth threshold surface.

2.) Knock-Down installation: Attached at the lower end of the steel casing using small screws. Virtually at the very bottom of the casing area, on each side of the casing. Sometimes these may be located recessed in the inside of the door jamb - again, at the very bottom of the jamb. Once these screws are removed, the two jambs are then pried off the walls and moved towards the center of the door opening. As they come into the center, metal tabs become exposed at the top corners of the header section (steel frame)....These separate and the 2 jambs are then removed. The center steel header frame is then removed last. The frame is made up of those 3 pieces.

In both cases the door is obviously removed first.

I do not know if this is the same installation as you have, but it gives you a start...

Good luck


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Old 04-25-2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Could be poured in frames where as your Dad says they are put in as the wall is going up and anchored into the block wall.

If thats the case, they can be replaced if needed but its a gut job and you'll need to work with a door company to get a replacement frame and door versus a big box. The new frames would face bolt with fixed sleeve anchors which can be puttied over and painted.

Do you know what type of wall construction you have?
[ie brick, block, wood etc.]

How bad are the doors and frames?

For the amount of work your looking at if the frames are salvageable, it might be best to stick with doors even if its a custom.
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:35 AM   #4
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The walls are wood/sheet rock. My husband, after hearing the ideas for how the doors were installed in the first place, has said "if that's the case I can get those out with my saw..." which somewhat scares me. Considering just sanding and repainting the interior jams and replacing the doors only. The exterior doors however are fairly decrepit and will definitely need replacement. Whatever happens, I'll try to post back to let you folks know what happens. I appreciate the input.
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:19 AM   #5
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I tore metal door jambs out of my 1952 house here in Anchorage. There were slotted screws holding the internal clips together, but they were so painted over that you never would have found them without a sledge hammer, which by the way, was the best method for getting them out, but a sawzall works great too. I replaced with pre-hung wood doors with no problem, they fit right in the same opening. If you're re-doing the doors, I reccommend going all the way and replacing the jambs as well. The hinges for these doors were uncommon as I remember and just replacing the doors was not an option.
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