A new door is a great way to update your home. Pre-hung doors, which come with the frame already attached to a slab, make installing a door surprisingly easy, even to those new to DIY. If your existing door opening is framed and properly prepared, installing a pre-hung door should only take you one to two hours.
Here’s what you’ll need.
- Nail punch
- Hand saw
- Utility knife
- Cordless drill
- Pre-hung door
- Wood shims
- Casing nails
- Door hardware
- Caulk (if you’re installing an exterior door)
You should also have a friend on hand to help you place your pre-hung door in your door frame.
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.
Test fit. The first thing you’ll need to do is test the fit of your pre-hung door. To do this, slide it into the doorway where you’ll be installing it, making sure the doorjambs’ edges are even with both sides of the wall.
Seal door with caulk. If you’re installing an exterior pre-hung door, you’ll need to seal it with caulk. To do this, after your test fit is complete, remove the door and apply caulk to the frame base of the doorway. Carefully place the door back into the frame with the help of a friend.
Ensure door is plumb. You’ll need to ensure your door is plumb so it will easily open and close, but not swing open or close by itself. To do this, place your level against the hinged side of the door frame, adjusting until the bubble is centered in the middle. This indicates your frame is correctly aligned.
Adjust with shims. Push shims from opposite sides of the door into the gap between the wall and the hinged side of the door frame. While checking your level, insert shims about every 12 inches to ensure a solid fit.
Add more shims. You’ll also need to add shims to the latch, side, and top of the door frame. Place them every 12 inches as you did earlier, adjusting them so the gap between the door and the jamb is about 1/8 of an inch the entire way around.
Attach with nails. You’ll now begin attaching your pre-hung door to the door frame. We recommend pre-drilling nail holes with a drill bit smaller than your casing nails. This helps prevent shims from splitting. After pre-drilling the holes, hammer your casing nails through the hinged jamb shims and into the wall stud. You can use the nail punch to help sync the nails. After hammering is complete, test your door. It should easily open and close.
Remove excess shims. Before your installation is complete, you’ll need to cut your shims so they’re flush with the wall. You can do this one of two ways, with a hand saw or utility knife. If you’re using a hand saw, hold it vertically as you saw, which helps prevent damage to both the doorjamb and the wall. If you choose to use the utility knife, use the blade to score each shim a number of times. Then snap each one off by bending the shim towards the scoring.
Finishing touches. You’ve successfully installed your pre-hung door. You’re free to install door hardware and other finishing touches to get exactly the look you want.
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