Hanging Doors

This is an excerpt from the Book called “Interior Walls, Framing, Dry walling, Trimmingby Des Moines, Lowa. Continue reading to learn more about Hanging Doors, thanks to the author.

After drywall is hung and finished land perhaps painted it is time to hang the doors in their openings. This is when you find out just how good a job you did framing. Walls and openings that are not plumb and square make the job of hanging doors a challenge. 

In days gone by hanging doors was painstaking work left to one of the top carpenters on a job. The jamb door frame had to be joined and assembled, the pieces and the door mortised for the hinges and the whole thing had to be fixed to the opening. These days, with prehung doors the task isn’t nearly as tricky. It still requires some precision and skill, but it is easily within the reach of most do-it-yourselves. 

Many interior remodelling jobs involve the addition of closet. For closets, bypass doors and behold doors are convenient, space-saving alternatives to regular swinging doors. They are also easy to install since they simply hang from tracks and don’t need to fit as precisely as a swinging door.

Door construction 

Today most doors are constructed in one of three ways. The least expensive are called “hollow-core,” so named because their inside structure consists of corrugated cardboard. Their exteriors can be flush (flat) plywood or hardboard that’s melded to look like raised panel doors. 

In the midprice range are “solid-core” doors, which have a wood fibre core covered with a veneer of wood or paintable hardboard. You’ll pay a premium for solid wood doors. These have wooden rails (crosspieces) that surround solid wood panels.

Door construction 
Door construction 

Reusing Doors 

The job does become more complicated when you want to reuse doors that are not prehung. They may have been salvaged from the remodelling job, or they could be sued doors that you have acquired from another source. But why bother to reuse a door? For the same reason it is worth recycling almost anything: You’ll save money over buying new doors, particularly if you want solid-wood, raised-panel construction, and you may be able to match details to other doors and trim in your house. 

Check you work often as you install doors. Keeping the jamb plumb is especially important.  

Pre-cut wood shims are a must for hanging doors. They are sold in packages at home centres and hard ware stores.  

Installing A Prehung Door 

Working with a prehung unit takes a lot of the demanding precision work out of installing a door. Hinge mortises and holes for the lockset and strike are already cut. But you still need to work carefully for best results. One of the most important things you can do to make installing doors easier is to make sure your framing is well-made. A rough opening that is plumb and ware is far easier to deal with than one that isn’t. Keep double-checking as you build and take the time to fix mistakes as they occur, rather than hoping they will be hidden by the next step. 

If you are hanging a door in an older house, keep an eye on the big picture. Before setting the nails, step back and look at your work. Even if you have plumbed the door if the wall or floor is off level or plumb, you may want to align the door frame at least a little bit with its surroundings to make sure it looks right. For example, if the wall earns slightly, match the jamb to the wall. It won’t be noticeable as long as the door doesn’t learn enough to open and close by itself. 

  1. Tap out the hinge pins with a screwdriver and hammer. Remove the door. Slip the frame into the doorway and check the head jamb for level. If isn’t, shim under the jamb on the low side. Measure the shimmed space; then remove this amount from the opposite jamb. 
  2. Check that the jack stud on the hinge side of the opening is plumb. Also check to see if the wall learns one way or the other. If the jack stud is plumb, nail that jamb directly to it with 16d finish nails, two below each hinge and two near the canter. 
  3. If the hinge-side stud is not plumb, nail either the top of bottom, whichever is closer to the centre of the opening. Insert shims at the opposite end to make the jamb plumb. Below the shims, drive two 16d finish nails just far enough to hold the shims and jambs in place. Adjust shims if necessary. 
  4. Before setting nails, check that the hinge jamb is cantered across the wall thickness. A typical jamb is slightly wider than the wall thickness to allow for irregularities in the drywall. If adjustment is necessary, pull the nails, protecting the jamb with a scrap under the hammer. 
  5. Put the door back on its hinges and swing it closed. Insert shims between the jamb and the stud about halfway between the hinges and adjust them until the gap between the door and jamb is equal from top to bottom. Open the door and drive two 16d finish below the shims. 
  6. The strike side of the frame is also nailed in three places: top, bottom, and middle, insert shims and adjust so the gap between the door and the jamb is even, top to bottom. Nail the jamb in place with pairs of 16d nails driven just below the shims. 
  7. To get the doorstops placed properly, screw the strike plate to the jamb, slip the bolt into the door, and screw it in place. There is no need to install the entire lockset at this time. 
  8. On many prehung units, the doorstops are only temporarily attached, to be mounted permanently after the unit is in place.  Pry the stops free. Close the door and hold it tightly against the strike plate. Nail the stops in place while holding them against the door. 
  9. If the door and jamb are to be painted, use a matchbook cover as a spacer between the doors and stop as you nail the stop in place.  This allows for the thickness of the paint on the various surfaces. 
  10. When you are satisfied with the fit of the door within the frame, and the frame within the opening, drive 8d finish nails through the jambs and shims to lock the shims in place. Cut off the shims with a utility knife or handsaw. 
  11. As a final step, replace two of the screws in each hinge with longer screws that reach into the jack studs. The door hangs from the jack studs, not just from the jambs. 
Reusing Doors 
Reusing Doors 
Installing A Prehung Door
Installing A Prehung Door

Dealing with doors:  Which hand is which? 

If you have to order the doors you want, you may end up in a discussion over whether you want a right or a left-handed door. This can be confusing, in part because locksets and doors use the same terminology but in slightly different ways. 

For doors: If the hinges are on the left and you have to pull the door open, it is a left-handed door, as shown at left. If the hinges are on the right when you pull the door, it’s a right-handed door. 

For locksets, the “hand” is determined from outside the room. If the door swings into the room and the hinges are on the left, the lockset is left-hand, as shown at right. If the door swings out of the room and the hinges are on the left, the lockset is left-hand reverse. If hinges are on the right, the door can be right-hand or right-hand reverse. 

The best way to avoid confusion is to to draw diagrams of exactly what you want; then show the diagrams to your supplier. 

Check for hidden bumps 

When prehung doors are assembled, the hinge screws sometimes poke through the back of the jamb, and these little nubs are enough to throw a jamb out of plumb. File them flat before installing the door frame. 

What If………..

 The jack stud is twisted? 

One common problem you may come up against when installing a prehung door is a twisted jack stud Even if you carefully select framing lumber and craft the wall frame accurately, it is possible for the studs to move as they adjust to conditions in the house.  The result is often a door opening that isn’t true if you attach a door frame to a twisted jack stud. It will look as though the door is standing partially open; actually the entire doorframe will be protruding into the room. 

You can force the frame back into the plane of the wall, but doing so runs the risk of damaging the frame. Adding a third shim to each pair of shims that locates the jamb returns the frame to its position without adding stress to the door frame assembly. 

There’s more than one way to plumb a door 

To install door frames efficiently, you need a long level. A 48-inch model is adequate, but a 72-inch level is the best tool to use. If you don’t want to invest in either of these tools, there is another approach.  Instead of a level, you can use a plumb bob to check whether the jambs are plumb or not. To use this method, secure the hinge-side jamb to the jack stud with three pairs of shims as shown on.  Drive a 16d finish nail partially into the jamb near the top (the stop will eventually cover the hole). Hang a plumb bob from the nail so it dangles almost to the floor. Adjust the shims until the gap between the jamb and the string is equal from top to bottom. Pin the shims in place with 8d finish nails.