Introduction

installing a prehung door tout »
A door is a precision instrument. It should consistently snap into its latch, clear its jamb, and swing effortlessly on its hinges. The fine tolerances needed to achieve this kind of performance help explain why hanging a door is considered a true measure of carpentry skill.

"I started out using little more than a hammer, a chisel, and a screwdriver," says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva. In those days, he'd assemble the jamb, hand-cut the hinge mortises, and hang the door separately. "It took a good long time and lots of patience," he says. A prehung door does simplify and speed up installation, but the term "prehung" is really a misnomer. These doors and jambs must still be carefully adjusted to account for shortcomings in the wall frame. "It requires accuracy to put in one of these," Tom says. "If it's not installed right, it won't hang well."
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    Tools List

    • hammer
      Hammer or nail gun,
      to attach casing and jambs to rough opening
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level,
      for checking plumb or level
    • drill
      Drill/driver,
      for fastening hinges
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • chisel
      3/4-inch chisel,
      for fine-tuning mortises
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips-head screwdriver,
      for mounting lockset
    • utility knife
      Utility knife (for trimming shims
    • plumb bob
      Retractable plumb bob,
      for plumbing jamb

    Shopping List

    1. PREHUNG DOOR WITH SPLIT JAMS

    2. SHIMS

    for adjusting and supporting jambs



    3. STRIKE PLATE

    to protect jamb from latch bolt



    4. LOCKSET

    to hold door closed



    5. 4D FINISH NAILS

    to tack shims in place



    6. 8D FINISH NAILS

    to nail through casing