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Hanging a pre-hung door

QuestionI install doors for a living but am slow at it. I basically taught myself but need to speed up the installations. I have heard of guys who can swing 30 to 40 doors in a day, but I can only do 5 or 6. Can you give me some advice on how to hang pre-hung doors faster?

AnswerJust for the record, I can only install about 10 or 12 doors myself, and I have installed a lot of doors in my time. I have also seen too many projects where doors have been installed too fast and don't work properly. Customers get pretty upset about things like that. However, it is possible to get your speed up to the 10 to 12 door range, and maybe once your rhythm has been achieved you might install 15 to 20 doors. The following information was taken in part from my book, Remodeling A Bathroom. Chapter 8 deals with Doors and Moldings and goes into more detail. I think you'll find this chapter very useful.

1. Before you begin, place a level on the floor in the door opening to make sure the floor between the jambs is level. If not, then you will need to cut the bottom of one of the jambs to drop the top of the doorframe so the gap above the door will be even. The trick is to check the gap on the hinge side of the door at the top of the frame and then adjust the jamb on the bore side of the door to the same measurement.

2. To install the frame, first remove the doorstops on both jambs but leave the stop on the tip of the frame. This will be removed later, but for now, it helps to keep the door from swinging freely and possible damaging the hinge side of the door.

3. I find it is easier it install a door if I work from the doorstop side. With that in mind, place the door in the rough opening. Begin by inserting shims from both sides of the door opening between the backsides of the jambs and framing of the rough opening at the top corners, then at the bottom near the floor, and finally near the handle and hinges. Shims can be positioned either above or below the strike area.

4. Once the shims are in place, make sure you are satisfied with the gap. The gap should be uniform between the door and frame on all three sides—both jambs and top of the doorframe. If the gap is not the same, either push shims in or pull them out in order to close or open the gap. As you know the shims are tapered, so you can gradually and accurately adjust the gap.

5. Once the shims are adjusted you can begin to nail the frame into the rough opening using 8d finish nails. Use two nails and spread them as far as possible without getting too close to the jamb edges. Make sure the finish nails go through the shims, and are long enough to pierce the framing member to hold the doorframe stable. Start with the hinge side first and set the nails after all the nails have been installed.

6. When you install the doorstops, always start on the hinge side and leave at least a 1/16-inch space between the door and the doorstop. This is needed so the door will clear the doorstop once it's closed and the clearance is needed once the door has been painted or finished. Use 3d finish nails, and set the nails.

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.



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