Hanging "Pre-hung" Interior Doors

First let me thank all of you for being so helpful to this newbie homeowner. I hope someday I can become a full fledged Mr. Fixit and help others here too. :-)
My hollow core interior doors need to be replaced.
Is it easier to hang "pre-hung" doors rather than "blanks"?
If so, how do I remove the old door frames?
Any help you can give me might keep me from getting into a jam.... (pun intended) <g>
tia jg
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On 11/29/2004 11:13 PM US(ET), Jostled Giblets took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

Unhung - don't have to take off the jambs, but do have to cut new butt hinge recesses (either with a router and hinge template, or sharp wood chisel and a tender touch), may have to do some minor trimming if the door doesn't fit. Prehung - don't have to cut hunge recesses, but do have to remove moulding around jambs, do have to cut the nails between the jamb and framing (best done with a reciprocating saw), do have to plumb the new door and jamb, do have to shim between jamb and framing, do have to put moulding back up (if you haven't broken a piece, then it's off to HD ).

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Jostled Giblets wrote:

Why would you remove the old frames? are they badly beat up? removing the frame and attaching a new frame is far more work than just changing the door. You can buy door with or without the lock hole pre cut, but you will likely want to cut your own hinge mortises. Are they rounded hinges or square? Ronded are easy, square require some chisel work. You will need a router and a router guide for cutting the hinges and you will need a circular saw with a good blade and a straight edge for cutting the top, bottom, and side. Most of the work is just laying the old door on top of the new door and marking the position of the hinges and the ends (top and bottom) of the door. You also need to cut a 5 degree slant on the side of the door opposite the hinges. Besides, if your house is very old, a new door may have to be cut down a bit to fit, e.g., a 30 inch door may have to be cut down to 29-3/4" or maybe the house has settled and the door needs to be 30 inches at the top and 29-1/2 at the bottom.
You think that's a lot of work, try putting up a pre hung door. With the cost differential between door "blanks" and pre hung doors you can buy any tools you need to hang new door blanks.
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Jostled Giblets wrote:

Being as I am set up for this and do this daily, your mileage may vary.
I charge the same for either method of changing out a door. More labor and less materials for the blank, vice versa for the prehung. Generally, I can change out door with a prehung unit in about 30 minutes. A blank takes about 2 hours.
With the prehung I pull the trim opposite the door side, cut any nails and pull the door unit. Being careful to save the trim, this takes about 3 minutes. I then bring in the prehung unit, set it into place and check for fit and possible problems. If none, I pull out the jamb and install trim on the door side, set the door into place and nail it off plumb and square. Shim the hinges and strike side and install trim on other side. Change the lockset from old door to new. Finished.
With a blank, I first check the door for fit (square and plumb). IF the old door fits well, I will pull the hinge pins, take the door outside and use it to mark the hinge locations. I mortise the hinges with a chisel for just one or two doors, but if I am doing many doors, then I will set up a router with a hinge template that is adjustable. After changing out the hinges (you will probably need new screws for this, unless the door is not very old). I will hang the new door in the jamb and check it for fit. Sometimes it fits well, but most of the time you will need to adjust the jamb, or plane the door. Mark the door if it needs to be planed down and haul it back outside for the work. Take it back inside and rehang it, check it again. If everything fits, mark the lockset location on the door. Drill out the lockset hole and the latch hole, mortise the latch plate, change out the lockset and you are done.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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I, like Mr. Allison, do this everyday. If you have a choice it is much easier to hang a prehung. Carefully remove one side of the casing. Sawzall off any nails from the jamb to the studs. Loosen the other side casing from the jamb only. Sawzall any nails between the casing and the jamb. Old jamb will now fall out. Stand new unit in opening, shim and renail. The only thing that takes longer, than a slab only, is the small amount of extra painting/finishing you will have to do to the new jamb and casing nail holes.

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When we replaced our door in our last house, my wife took the doors to the local door shop and they used them as templates for the new doors, cutting them to length where necessary and mortising the hinges in the right place. We then rehung the new doors in the old frames. No mess, no fuss, cost about $40-$50 per door, including door.
Good investment, in my opinion
--
Jim Sullivan
seattle, washington
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