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How to Replace a Pre-Hung Door

How to Replace a Pre-Hung Door

By: Scott Kirschner, Posted: , Section: Remodel Trends

REPLACE A PRE-HUNG DOOR

Need to make a great first impression? Upgrade the entry door to your home.

STEP 1

Take the old door off of its hinges and back out the long hinge screws that hold the jamb to the framing. Remove the screws from the sill and the bolts of the door strike. Cut loose all caulked joints around the jamb with a razor. Pry off the casing on the inside or remove the brick molding outside to remove the jamb; if it isn’t loose in the framing, run a reciprocating saw with a long blade between the jamb and framing to cut through any remaining fasteners. This should free the door so you can tip it out of the rough opening for removal.

STEP 2

Pull the jamb out of the rough opening.

STEP 3

Prepare the rough opening by checking all corners for square. Double-check by comparing the diagonal measurements. The rough opening should be frame height plus ½ inch, and frame width plus ½ to ¾ inch. Use a 6-foot level to confirm the framing and walls are plumb (front to back and left to right). Fix any problems using shim boards or by adjusting the studs. Also, ensure the subfloor is level and solid. Scrape, sand, or fill the opening as required.

STEP 4

If the door includes a transom that needs to be attached, lay the door down on a flat work surface (covered with a blanket to prevent scratches). Liberally apply flexible, exterior-grade sealant between the door top and transom bottom.

STEP 5

Position the transom onto the door and flush with the jamb on all sides. Hold the seam closed with clamps or an assistant while you screw the two pieces together using metal nailing plates. For a more solid connection, fill all holes in the metal plates with short screws into the mating jambs.

STEP 6

Liberally apply sealant to the subfloor. (Caulk the rear of the brick molding if it’s pre-attached.) For an extra layer of moisture protection, install a sill pan in the rough opening beneath the new door.

STEP 7

Position the door’s threshold over the sealant and tip it into the rough opening. Temporarily secure the unit in place by installing screws in the center on both sides of the door jambs. Use 3-inch screws, but don’t tighten them fully yet.

STEP 8

Plumb the hinge-side jamb first (in both directions) so the door swings properly. Check and make adjustments using a 6-foot level. Place screws at each hinge location. Insert the shims behind the hinges and above the screws (so the screws prevent them from falling down while adjustments are being made). Slide the triangular shims into or out of the jamb to adjust spacing until the hinge side is plumb and straight. Finish driving the screws tight (the middle first, then top and bottom).

STEP 9
Check to make sure the weather strip and frame contact the door equally

Check the door’s weather strip reveal and points of contact. Adjust the frame so the weather strip contacts the door surface equally at the top, center and bottom.

LEARN TO USE SHIMS

The best way to use wood shims is to insert them in pairs between the surfaces you’re trying to move or support. When shimming a door, for example, the shims are inserted from each side of the jambs so that their thin ends meet and overlap. By sliding the shims further into the gap, they push the shimming surface outward, creating the thickness of two shims. This method also provides a flat surface to work with; using a single triangular shim from one side creates a “teeter-totter” effect against the surface being shimmed.

DOUBLE UP

To install a double door, have an assistant help to center the jamb in the frame. Drive one 10d finish nail or 3-inch screw through the mid-point of each hinge jamb into the framing studs. Hold the door in place with nails or screws while you plumb and square the jamb, using shims as necessary. Place the shims at the hinge locations between the jamb and the studs, and any other locations needed to square the opening. Check for square by measuring the diagonals of the jamb in an X pattern (corner to corner) to confirm they match. Make sure the door panels are also even across their tops and bottoms, and that the reveal between them is even as well.

INSTALL A HANDLE-SET

Doorknobs are often overlooked, but a handle-set can highlight the decorative appeal of the door hardware. Upgrading a simple design or replacing an old handle with a modern style can spruce up an entryway. Installing a new door handle-set can be a quick and simple project, especially if there are precut knob holes. However, in some cases, the precut holes are located too low for comfortable use of a latch handle. Compare the hole’s height with the recommended installation height of a handle-set; a knob may be a better choice. Designs may vary, but this replacement procedure will be similar for most handle-sets.

STEP 1

Remove the Door handle

Unscrew and remove the old door handle. Test-fit the new handle to the existing hole

STEP 2

Some handle-sets include paper templates to help align and mark placement of the handle and dead-bolt holes. Otherwise, measure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

STEP 3

If there are no holes available for a handle-set or deadbolt, drill them out with a hole saw. Doublecheck the handle manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended diameter. Use a 1-inch spade bit to bore holes in both the jamb and door for the deadbolt.

STEP 4

If you’re cutting new knob holes, you’ll also have to cut mortises for the faceplates of the latch or deadbolt. Trace the faceplate perimeter with a pencil, and then use a wood chisel and hammer to chip out a recess in order to set the faceplate flush with the wood surface.

STEP 5

If the handle-set includes a through-bolt used to anchor the bottom of the handle with the door, use a spiral or brad-point bit to drill out the mounting hole. For wooden doors, you should start by drilling out the hole from both sides of the door in order to prevent tear-out.]

STEP 6

Install the handle mechanism inside the door holes, and align the spindle with the latch. Secure the faceplates into the mortises that you’ve previously cut in Step 4, using a pair of screws so that they are flush with the door edge.

STEP 7

Add the interior lever to join with the exterior handle. Two screws are all that’s required to fasten most handles together.

STEP 8

Mount the deadbolt and strike plate. The strike plate (which will receive the deadbolt) comes with two 3-inch screws to drive into the door jamb and house framing. This design will provide extra holding power for the deadbolt.

STEP 9

The deadbolt housing is simple to install, as it requires only two bolts to join the halves over the deadbolt. Finish the handle-set by installing the lower through-bolt (if included) and cover cap to conceal the interior bolt head for a finished appearance.

INSTALL A DOOR TRIM KIT

You can easily and dramatically enhance an entryway with elaborate trim packages. You can build up all of the trim piece by piece, but it’s easier to use a pre-assembled door-trim kit. The 4-piece kit that’s shown contains a pair of urethane fluted pilasters and a crosshead. Architectural details (the backing trim, fluted casing, crown molding, and plinth blocks) are extruded in manufacturing so you don’t have to install them individually, saving lots of time and hassle. And, unlike wood, urethane is lightweight and won’t rot.

STEP 1

Before purchasing the trim, first measure your doorway. Crossheads look best when their breast-board is the same width as the window or door, plus any side trim. If your door is too narrow, you may have to trim the crosshead in the middle and reassemble the two halves with adhesive. If it’s too wide, you may have to combine two crossheads to bridge the distance.

STEP 2

The kit is factory-primed, but pre-painting the trim will make it easier to access all the edges rather than trying to paint after installation.

STEP 3

Mark the center point of the crosshead for alignment. Do the same for the door jamb, and then hold the crosshead in position and align the marks. When aligning the crosshead, work on achieving a consistent reveal between the new trim piece and the existing door jamb or casing. Once positioned, pre-drill and countersink all fastener holes. Mount the trim with appropriate fasteners. Concrete screws were used on the stone wall shown, requiring pilot holes made with a hammer drill.

STEP 4

After drilling out the pilot holes, remove the crosshead, flip it over, and run a bead of polyurethane adhesive over all the edges that will come into contact with the wall or existing door jamb.

STEP 5

Carefully reposition the crosshead above the door, aligning the centers and the reveal, and then screw it to the house wall.

STEP 6

Shim the rear of the crosshead as necessary at all screw locations for an even and secure installation.

STEP 7

Measure the distance from either end of the crosshead down to the ground and then trim the two pilasters to fit. Each pilaster is manufactured with a plinth block at the bottom, where cuts can be made to accommodate different doorway heights. You can make the cut with a miter saw, or even a standard hand saw.

STEP 8

The pilasters install in a similar manner as the crosshead, with a combination of polyurethane construction adhesive and screws.

STEP 9

Keep all trim reveals consistent to ensure a uniform-looking installation.

STEP 10

To close the seam, tack down the inside edge of the pilasters using finish nails while the bead of adhesive sets.

STEP 11
When applying trim to a pre-hung door, feel free to alter the decorative kit

The basic trim kit you purchase will almost certainly come with the option of a center keystone. The keystone is a decorative element that helps to cover up a crosshead seam when you have to glue two pieces together. You can always leave the keystone off if you have limited clearance above the door, and should always feel free to alter the decorative package to suit your situation.

STEP 12

Fill all fastener holes with a color-matched plastic wood filler. Sand as necessary and caulk all the joints with a paintable exterior sealant. Complete the project with a fresh coat of touch-up paint.

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