Plumb Perfect Prehung Doors
Believe it or not, you need the level only once, and that’s before you ever touch the door.
Synopsis: Hanging doors can be a tough, tricky process, but veteran Arkansas builder Gary Striegler has developed a straightforward technique that requires the use of a level only once. Striegler begins by marking the rough openings and making sure they are big enough for the door; he also writes the size and swing of each door on the trimmer stud of its corresponding rough opening. As doors are delivered, he checks each one for damage, then stores them in a climate-controlled area. If possible, Striegler installs doors before finished flooring has been put in place. He finishes the job by tipping the door into place, attaching and plumbing the hinge side, then using shims and nails to get the door located perfectly in its rough opening.
Several years ago, I walked onto a job site to find one proud employee. On his own initiative, he’d hung all the doors in the house alone — in less than three hours. Initially, I was impressed, but the 20 years that I’d been building houses tempered my excitement with skepticism. A little voice in my head said that I would regret not having given him a to-do list before I left — one so easy and so short that when I got back, I might find him in the pasture behind the house, practicing his Frisbee throw with a dry cow patty.
The first door I checked was sufficiently nailed, opened freely, and didn’t swing on its own when I let it free from my hands. But the rest of the doors had plenty of problems. Besides the fact that my proud employee didn’t once use a level, he also failed to put shims in all the key places. What got me most, though, was that more than a few of the doors were…