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Old 02-16-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
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Problems Installing Pre-Hung Interior/Exterior Doors


I'm trying to improve my pre-hung door installation methods.

I always seem to run into problems when installing prehung interior or exterior doors. I can plumb up my hinge side just fine, then shim/raise the latch side to ensure an equal gap at the top, then shim and secure the latch side to ensure an equal gap, but I often find the rough opening itself is twisted or something. My prehung door jambs are flush with the finished walls (allowing me to put the trim on without problem), but when closing the door, the bottom latch side of the door would be flush with the latch side jamb (which is good and normal), but the top of the latch side would be sticking out, indicating the jamb is twisted somehow (even though it is flush with the finished walls).

Why does this happen, and what's a good way of preventing/fixing this?

What other problems do you run into when installing prehung doors, and how do you prevent/fix those problems?
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:33 PM   #2
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Hi hello,
When you say you plumb up the hinge side, is that just on the inside of the frame or do you check the plumb on both sides of the wall?
A twisted frame is one of the most difficult to work with but carefully use of that level can detect it. Example, the hinge side may be perfect, but the latch side leans in or out. When you find this, if there is no way the framing can be adjusted then you must make the latch side of the door perfect, even though it does nofit the frame perfectly. Then you modify your trim or add shimming to cover the frame to wall. Since the bottom of the frame has to somewhat match the baseboard I usually make it good and leave any difference at the top, but every door will be different so you need to make that choice on site.

For new construction I have often walked around with a 6" level to look for framing mistakes that can be corrected long before the doors go up. Installing them on old construction is the biggest challenge.

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Old 02-17-2016, 08:24 AM   #3
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Before installing I start with check how level the floor is.
If the floor is off the whole door will be off.
Most often it's as simple as setting a long enough to span the opening level and lifting one end it until it's perfect and measuring the distance from the bottom of the level to the floor and removing that amount from the high side on the bottom of the jamb.
On outside doors the thresholds need to make 100% contact with the floor, not be just shimmed on one side.
That would allow the threshold to bend or flex.
Next I check the hinge side jamb with a 6' level to see if it's plumb and flat.
Often times in an older house I have to add some plywood blocking to get it even close to being plumb.
Any shims need to be near the hinges, over shimming on just one side can twist the jamb and cause issues with the whole door.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:54 PM   #4
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Some rough framing can be adjusted with hammer or sledge hammer - as long as youre not cracking the drywall, etc. If resetting the framing is a problem, if it's going to be a problem with finish molding, etc, you can reset the stop molding or hang the door out of plumb (and twist the hinge so it stays).
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:39 PM   #5
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For interior you normally get 1/2" (around here where we are most often blue board and skim coat 5/8") of soft stuff on each side. I normally hand the door plumb and if the frame is out of whack I split the difference between the two sides. Then whacking the plaster I. The right places will let your trim set just fine. On the other side, the trim can just sit on edge on the plaster and the other on the jamb. Ron
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