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Interior Doors

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    © Mark Saville 2006  

Install pre-hung pine interior doors


The first step is to fasten the head jamb to the side jambs if your pre-hung frame comes as a knock-down. Use screws not nails to fasten the side jambs to the head jamb. Pre-drill the side jambs to make sure the screws don't split the jamb. Screws make a much stronger connection and will help keep the frame together when placing it into the opening and shimming around the top of the frame.


The photo below shows the door frame placed in the opening and you should have about 1/4 to 3/8 inch around the frame to the rough opening for shimming the door and frame. With a standard door adding 2 inches to the width and height will provide the right size rough opening

door frame inThe next step is to make sure the head jamb is level. This will make sure that the final installation will come out right. If the head jamb is not level and you plumb the side jambs, your door frame will be out of square and the door won't fit properly. If the head jamb is out of level then you need to place a shim under the side jamb that is low in order to bring the head jamb into level. The photo below is an example of what we're talking about. By missing this first simple step I've seen many installations take twice as long because the installer started by plumbing the side jambs.



The next step in installing your pre-hung pine door is to plumb the hinge side of the frame placing shims at the top of the frame and behind each of the hinges. The jamb must be plumb as well as straight and this is where a six foot level is a must for installing doors properly. A four foot level is just not long enough to do the job right You can make a six foot straight edge and use your four foot level with that if you don't have a six foot.



plumb the hingeside of the door
Plumbing the hingeside of the door frame.

The last step is to place the door in the frame and shim the latch side using the door itself as a guide. Wiht the door in place you can easily get the correct margin between the door and the jamb to get a perfect installation. At this point you can also check the margin at the head jamb and adjust the shims that you placed behind the hinges if need be. Once you gat all the margins perfect and have shimmed the latch side you can cut the shims off and install the trim.





© Mark Saville 2006 Reprint prohibited.

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