Step 4: Adjust the reveal

Adjusting the reveal
Photo: David Carmack
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Check the horizontal gap, or "reveal," between the top of the door and the head jamb. It should be uniform from left to right and 1/8- to 3/16-inch wide.

If necessary, adjust the reveal by pushing up the head casing. Set this reveal by driving an 8d nail through the face of the latch-side casing and into the trimmer, near the top of the door.

Check the vertical reveal between door and jamb on the latch side. It should be about the thickness of a nickel. To adjust it, grab the casing and move the jamb by hand.

Open and close the door to check that its leading edge, the one that rests against the stop, clears the jamb by a consistent 1/8 inch.

Set the reveal by driving 8d finish nails every 16 inches through the latch-side casing and into the trimmer. Make sure the reveal remains consistent.

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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