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Building Skills

Building Skills

Install a Prehung Exterior Door

comments (0) January 29th, 2014 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

For use with multi-clip BUILDING SKILLS BLOG posts only

Video Length: 2:40
Produced by: Andy Engel, Patrick McCombe, and Rob Wotzak


Installing an exterior door so it works and looks great is an essential building skill. Carpenter Andy Engel is going to show us how to do it.

I first wrap the bottom and sides of the opening with flexible flashing, and then check the rough sill for level. This sill was near perfect, but if it wasn't, I'd shim it level.

After test-fitting the door, I apply three beads of window-and-door sealant to the bottom of the opening.

Next, I drive one 2-1/2-in. screw through the brick mold into the framing near the top hinge.

Then, I go inside to start shimming the door in the opening. Since the door bottom is sitting on a level sill, I only have to make the gap around the door consistent for the whole unit to be plumb. Here, at the top, the gap is wider at the latch side. Because the gap is wider on the latch side, I shim behind the bottom hinge. If the gap was wider on the hinge side, I'd shim behind the top hinge. Now that the gap is uniform around the door, I shim behind all the hinges for final fastening.

I remove one of the short screws in each hinge, and replace it with a 2-1/2-in. screw. These longer screws connect the jamb to the framing. Then I score the shims with a knife, and snap them off.

With the hinge side securely fastened, I close the door and adjust the latch-side gap, with shims above and below the latch. Then, I open the door and drive screws through the latch-side shims into the framing.

The final step is to drive 2-1/2-in. screws through the brick mold into the framing. I space them about every 12- to 14 in. all the way around the door.

And that's how you hang a door.

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posted in: Blogs, doors