I'm going to replace all 6 of my interior doors. I've replaced a door
once, and bought just a door (i.e. not pre-hung). It came out okay -
but just okay. I'm thinking that to do 6 doors I'd be better off
getting pre-hung. I'm not crazy about replacing casings for 6 doors,
but I also think my chances of getting all 6 to fit and close properly
aren't good. (I'm a decent carpenter but not a professional.) What's
the collective wisdom on this?
If you do not have the skill set, and the chisels and saws, for finish
trim work, and this is a one-time project, prehung is definitely the way
to go. Prehung also has the advantage that you can do most of the
finishing out in the garage and not mess up the house, and only need to
do a little putty stick and maybe a few tiny paint touchups, once they
are installed. If you get split-jamb prehungs, finish them while pulled
apart, lest you get a bare stripe after they are installed.
Take one door out, down to the rough opening (the studs and header), and
measure size and wall thickness (assuming all 6 are the same size, of
course.) That is what you will need to choose the new doors.
Start at the hinge side, get it vertical with shims, and pin it. Then
using the closed door as a guide, shim and pin the latch side. Once you
have a warm fuzzy that the door operates properly, install the rest of
the fasteners, stopping frequently to make sure door still works
smoothly. Be careful not to over-tighten any screws. Then install the
remaining trim to cover the shims. By the 3rd door or so, you will have
the hang of it. Hanging pre-hung doors is the first thing they stuck me
on as a kid, once they took me off sweeping duty, because it is so easy.
I was much older when I did my first...three children, one of whom
knocked the door down trying to get to a sibling. Just a normal
squabble, but the door was not fastened in place other than by the
finishing nails holding the trim in place!! There are many ways to
learn how NOT to do things :o)
I have seen that myself, even on an upper-end 'custom' house. My old man
would have sent me home without my hammer if I ever tried that on a site
he was responsible for. 12d or 16d finish nails through jamb and shims,
into the stud, at at least 4 points on each side, BEFORE the casing was
nailed down. Set the nails. Solid-core and exterior doors got screws,
suitably hidden, and the strike plate and some of the hinge screws got
replaced with longer ones, so all the load was not on the jamb.
The casing is the easy part, jambs are harder.
It is easy to hang a "pre-hung" door improperly (just ask my
ex-father-in-law). Things still have to be perpendicular/parallel etc.,
wedges still have to be used. And used *properly*.
If you remove the casings, will you then have to redo the baseboards? Patch
and paint the walls?
I replaced my interior doors (from hollow luan to solid pine). I used slabs
as opposed to pre-hung. I think it is easier than pre-hung.
It is easy if you follow these steps to get consistent results:
Mount hinges to the door WITHOUT mortising them, and then hang the door to
get the height adjustment.
Then scribe around the hinges with a knife, chisel them out, and re-hang the
door with mortised hinges.
Then mark for fit along the edge. Invest the time to make a "saw board" and
bevel the door edge at 5 degrees (see link below). You can also handplane
with a bench plane.
Then and only then cut the door knob.
The worst mistake is to pencil around the hinges and bolt plate, and then
cut with a chisel. Looks like crap. Mount the hardware, Scribe the line
with a sharp Stanley knife, remove and chisel. This way there's no need for
a special jig/router to get a nice cut.
You also may need to add a middle hinge if going from hollow to solid.
Cut/chisel those into the jamb the same way.
On Sun, 6 Jun 2010 11:00:34 -0700 (PDT), Test group SBA
Never forget to pull the nail from the jamb that holds the door in
place (LOL) for shipping. Some doors have a nylon bolt that is removed
from the door knob opening after install. Those are easy and can be
done after the door is installed. Forget that nail and you need to
pull the jamb out for another try. Once that nail is pulled things can
twist around, you can damage the jamb.
I prefer to have a helper on one side of the door and can tell me if
the things are "looking good". The helper can shim and check level /
square / plumb as you check the other side. Use long levels.
I've installed doors in a matter of minutes (hanging) and others that
caused a fit to get right.
Guys this is all great advice. (I can't believe someone hung a door
with only the trim nails! Yikes!) Yes, when I did my one and only door
last year (my dog ate it!) I thought to hang it on the hinges first,
to make sure I got the spacing right, but then I marked it with a
pencil, routed most of it out, and finished with a chisel. But I like
the idea of using the Stanley knife! I think after hearing all this
I'll go with just doors, not pre-hung. For one thing, I'll save a
couple of hundred bucks over getting pre-hung doors (and 12 pieces of
casing). I can use the $$$. And depending on the weight of the doors
I'll consider putting in a 3rd hinge - another good piece of advice
that I wouldn't have thought of.
I don't hang out on this group much but whenever I do, I'm
consistently impressed with the quality and quantity of advice.
With moderate carpentry skill I successfully replaced 8 interior doors
without replacing the casings. I did invest about $150 in a low end
router and hinge mortising jig. Using the old door as a template, I
mortised the hinges with no problem. The tough part was ripping the
doors to the right width -- each one required about 1/4 inch removed. I
used a circular saw and straightedge clamped to the door. After doing
the first door each subsequent one took about two hours.
I already have a router (a wireless Linksys) (yes that was a joke) and
I have an electric plane that I've used exactly once in 2 years - when
I installed the door my dog ate. (I'll put on a 5-degree bevel as was
suggested earlier.) So I think I'm good to go tool-wise. Anyway, I
don't buy tools so I can get projects done; I take on projects so I
can buy tools.
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