Installing a Prehung Entry Door

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated August 16, 2017)

Prehung entry doors are becoming more and more popular a choice among homeowners as a means to increase their home energy efficiency. Installing a prehung entry door may seem like a lot of work at first, but all it really takes is about three hours of time for even the most novice of DIYer's. Here are some simple instructions that you can use to help ensure that you are installing a prehung entry door the right way, the first time.

Materials:

  • Tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter's level
  • Pencil
  • Pry bar
  • Circular saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Caulking gun
  • Wood chisel
  • Handsaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Drip edge
  • Casing nails
  • Wood shims
  • Silicone caulking

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the opening. It may be necessary to prepare the opening for your new door. This would entail that you remove the old door, and ensure that the opening will be the same size as your new door. As you are removing the old door, make sure that you also remove the old door frame, since the new prehung door comes with frame already attached.
  2. Test fit the door. Place the new door into the rough opening, and see if it will fit into the rough space. Use a level to help ensure that the door is plumb. If necessary, you may need to apply a few shims to the lower side of the door jamb to make everything plumb. Make any adjustments that are necessary to ensure that the doorjambs are square with each other, and then double check to make sure that the door is centered.
  3. Trace the molding outline. Along the outside frame of your new doorframe, take a pencil and trace the molding. If you have any vinyl or metal siding, make sure that you make the outline a little larger to allow for the extra trim that will be required.
  4. Cut along the outline. Remove the door from rough opening, and plug the circular saw into the outlet. Make sure that you have your safety glasses on, and then begin to cut into the siding following the outline. Make sure that you have the depth set on your circular saw to the same thickness as the siding that you have on your home. You do not want to cut any deeper than that. As you are cutting the outline out, make sure that you do not cut into any sheathing, and that you do not cut into any corners. Rather, finish just short of the corners, and then finish the corners by using a wood chisel.
  5. Make a temporary door. Make an temporary door by placing a piece of drip edge into the siding at the top of the opening. Do not nail the drip edge. This will help prevent any creepy crawlies, and excessive moisture from getting into your home.
  6. Double check the opening. Double check the opening for your door, and if necessary enlarge it to fit your door. Once again, remove the door from the opening, and apply some caulking to the bottom of the doorsill. Make sure that you use enough caulking by applying several beads, and that you are also caulking underneath where the jamb and molding will be.
  7. Center and plumb the door. Reinstall the door, and make sure everything is centered and plumb. Check to make sure that the doorjamb is plumb along the hinge side of the door using a level. Screw the hinge jamb in place, temporarily, by driving two #8 3-inch drywall screws through it. The first one should be about two inches above the hinge, and the other two inches from the center hinge. Recheck to make sure everything is still plumb, and if necessary loosen the screws a little to become plumb again.
  8. Shim the interior of the door. Go inside your home, using another door, and insert some shims into the gaps behind hinges, and between the jamb and framing. This will help stabilize the door while you are working. To get the tightest fit, take two wedge shaped shims, and place them together to form one on flat shim. Use cedar since it is more weather resistant than other woods.
  9. Remove brackets and some of the screws. Remove the retaining brackets that are still on the door, and then test to see if the door will open and close properly. Once it does, go ahead and open the doorway and remove two of the screws from the top hinge. Replace these screws with long anchor screws. These anchor screws should have come with the doorway, but if not then only purchase screws that are the length recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you may end up causing unnecessary damage to the door.
  10. Anchor the molding. Anchor the molding to the framing members by using some 10d galvanized casing nails. Drive these nails every 12 inches around the door frame. Use a nail set to ensure that you drive the nail heads below the wood surface of the molding.
  11. If possible, adjust the threshold. Some doors will come with an adjustable threshold. If yours does, adjust it as necessary according to the manufacturer's instructions to provide a tight seal.
  12. Cut the shims and apply caulking. Cut any shims so that they are flush with the door frame. When doing this, make sure that you use a utility knife to avoid any unnecessary damage. Fill any nail holes, and the exterior of the door frame with caulking to provide weather tight seal.
  13. Replace casing. Inside your home, replace the casing of the interior doorjamb. If the casing happened to get damaged during the removal, this would be the time to replace it with new casing.
  14. Install the door locks and strike plate. Install the door locks for you new door, as well as the strike plate. Congratulations, you are now finished with your project.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Organizing Office Finances

Of all the different tasks that you can have in the office, finances are without question one of the most important. Without ...

Discover More

Create Your Own English Garden

If you have ever seen a movie that was set in England, then chances are you have seen at least the idea of an English garden. ...

Discover More

Properly Painting Your Room

Painting can be a really fun, and simple, home improvement project as long as you know what you are doing. Good thing that ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Repairing Door Trim

Over time, it's quite common for just about every part of the house to need a little repair work done. Usually one of the ...

Discover More

Tightening Up Loose Hinges

There are a few simple types of home maintenance that all homeowners should know how to do, and one of those is tightening up ...

Discover More

Fixing Squeaky Doors

A squeaky door results from a squeaky hinge. Lubricate all parts of your door hinge and then reinstall the door. Chances are ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)