Step-by-Step Instructions for Installing Pre-hung Doors

If you’re building or renovating a home, installing your own doors is a great way to save a little money. Many builders and homeowners prefer pre-hung doors because they are convenient and fairly easy to install. Unlike a slab door, a pre-hung door is already attached to the frame. All you need is a rough opening to install it in, a few tools, and a little bit of know-how. Although slab doors are a little less expensive to purchase up-front, pre-hung doors can save you time and effort during the installation process. Following these steps will help ensure that you install your pre-hung doors correctly:
  1. Gather Your Tools
Pre-hung doors can be quite heavy, so you should recruit at least one other person to help you install them. Before you begin, gather up the following tools: tape measure, finish nails, shims, hammer, nail punch, utility knife, circular saw (or jigsaw), level, and screwdrivers. You may not need the circular saw, but it will come in handy if you need to trim your doorjambs. Wood putty is important to have on-hand when you are ready to hide the nail holes in your installed doors.

  1. Prepare the Door Opening
Before you attempt to hang your pre-hung door, you should first prepare the rough opening by trimming any excess drywall that may prevent your door from hanging straight. Next, check the floor at the bottom of your rough opening with a level to ensure that it is straight. If it is not, make sure you mark any areas that will need shims.
  1. Remove Door From Packaging
Carefully remove the door from its packaging, and make sure you remove any shipping clips that may be attached to the door. Take a few moments to inspect the door from all angles to ensure that it is not damaged in any way and that it is the correct size. Measure the width and height of the door frame to confirm that each is a ½ inch smaller than the width and height of the rough opening. If the door is not as you ordered it, do not install it. Instead, work with the manufacturer to get the problem corrected.
  1. Position Door and Shims in Doorway
Have someone help you hold the door in the rough opening while you use a level to line up the hinge side of the jamb in the opening. Position two shims between the rough opening of the doorway and the door jamb, approximately two inches from the top and two inches from the bottom of the jamb. This will temporarily hold the door and jamb in place while you adjust them as needed. Next, move to the latch side of the doorjamb and repeat the same simple steps you just completed on the opposite side. It is not uncommon for the spacing between the door and the jamb to be inconsistent in some areas, which is why it is important that you have plenty of shims on-hand to make adjustments as necessary.
  1. Check Your Work
At this point, it is imperative that you check and double-check your work to ensure the door is level and has enough room to open and close properly. If you find anything amiss, use additional shims and nails to make adjustments.
  1. Secure Door
If everything looks good and your door opens and closes properly, it is time to nail the doorjamb in place securely, making sure you nail directly through any shims to hold them in place.
  1. Finishing Touches
Congratulations on successfully installing your pre-hung door! The final step is to make your door look presentable. Use a nail punch to push nail heads beneath the surface of the wood, then fill the nail holes with wood putty and install your door hardware per the manufacturer’s instructions.

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