Bruce W. Maki,
Installing this custom-made pre-hung interior door is not any
different from installing a store-bought pre-hung door. That
was the intention behind the article on Custom
Hanging A Door... avoid the traditional headaches of
trying to align hinges while holding a heavy door in the vertical
||This is the rough opening. We first put a 4'
level against the side framing studs to see how far
out-of-plumb they were. The left side was about 1/4" off.
Out-of-plumb door openings are so common in house
construction, one must assume the worst when planning this
type of project.
|The assembled custom-pre-hung door.
||On the left jamb (the hinged side in this case),
the bottom was too far inward. This became our starting
point... the worst-case point on the hinged jamb.
We tacked two thin strips of shims to the jamb. (Two
strips because when they are laid out in opposing directions,
the net result is a parallel shim.
If the framing lumber had been twisted, (See another door
installation article for this example) we would have arranged
multiple shims in some other fashion to create a bearing surface
that was perpendicular to the walls.
|Then, we added another pair of shims halfway up
(close enough that the 4' level would reach) and adjusted them
until the level was perfectly plumb.
Then another set of shims was added at the top.
Some professional carpenters use extra-long levels, 6' or
sometimes 6'-4", to lay out these shims. An extra-long level
certainly makes the work quicker, and less prone to error, but we
would not use such a level often enough to justify it's price.
||The door was set in place. (Having a
helper hold the door in place is a good idea.)
|On the other side, the gap at the top was
uneven. This was caused by the floor being slightly sloped.
We raised up the low side with a shim, until the top jamb
||On the other side, working on the hinged jamb...
we adjusted the door position until it was plumb... and the
jamb edges were reasonably aligned with the drywall surface.
If the jamb edge sticks out too far at any point, it will
complicate the installation of the trim. However, if the
hinged jamb is not plumb, the door will swing on it's own and
bang into things.
|We drove in a 2" finish nail through the
top shims. A pneumatic nailer helps because drives the nails
so fast there is no chance of the jamb slipping out of place
while the nail is driven. Movement of the wood can be a big
problem when driving nails by hand.
While holding the door perfectly still, we drove one or two nails
at the other mounting points (i.e. the shims).
||At the striker side, we installed shims between
the jamb and framing. Then we checked the jamb for plumb and
made sure the door-to-stop-trim gap was uniform. Sometimes you
can't get both things to cooperate, so a compromise has to be
If the gap is not uniform, the door will hit on the top (or
bottom) first, and will be flexed as it is forced shut.
Normally, if the hinged jamb is plumb, the striker jamb will
automatically have a uniform gap as it is plumbed, unless the
door is skewed (twisted).
|We nailed the striker jamb in place, and removed
the temporary sticks that held the pre-hung door together.
(The door cannot be opened until those sticks are removed.)
||The final step was to cut off the shims with a
||The completed door installation. After this
point the door was removed (by driving out the hinge pins) and
given a coat of oil-based primer and latex semi-gloss paint.
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What's New Project
- 4' Level
- 2' Level
- Pneumatic Finish Nailer
- Nail Set
- Pre-Hung Door