How do I install a pre-hung entry door?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ November 29, 2012 ~ No Comments

I am replacing our old wood front door with a pre-hung metal one. What is the best way to install this so that it opens/closes right?

Mitch T. - Hartford, CT

Brett Kulina

Mitch, installing a pre-hung exterior door can be pretty straight forward, and if you're an experienced DIY'er, you should be able to complete the task in a couple of hours. Before you install your new door, you will need to remove the existing door trim, as well as the old wood door and jamb assembly. If you don't plan on saving the old door jamb, then you can just pry loose any nails that are holding it in place and remove the jamb in three pieces. If you want to keep the jamb in tact, then it may be easier and cleaner to just cut the jamb nails with a sawz-all before removing the entire jamb assembly.

Once you have removed the old door and jamb, place a level on the hinge side of the framed opening to confirm that it is plumb. Next, position the new pre-hung door in the opening and attach the hinge side of the jamb directly to the adjacent framing with some strong screws or finish nails. If you use screws, then you should countersink them so that the heads can be concealed with wood putty prior to painting the jamb and door.

Now that you have the hinge side of the prehung door securely attached to the adjacent door framing, you can place some shims (or small wood blocks) in the space between the rest of the door jamb and the door framing. The shims should prevent the door jamb from bowing in or out when the rest of the attachment screws are installed. Install several screws or nails in both the head jamb and the side jamb.

After the new door is securely in place, you can make sure that it opens and closes properly, then install the knob and deadbolt. You can finish up the project by filling any remaining voids between the jamb and the door framing with low expanding foam insulation and then install the door trim.

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