How One Pro Installs a Door in Four Easy Steps
John Schumacher, owner of Millwork Specialties Ltd.
in Minnesota, has been installing doors and millwork for
more than 20 years. He's learned to avoid callbacks by
doing the job right the first time. Here's his door
installation method in a nutshell.
1. Plumb the hinge jamb
The hinge side of the door has to be plumb or the door will
swing open or closed on its own. Start by shimming the hinge
side of the rough opening. First make marks to indicate the
centers of the hinges. Then use a long level or a long, straight
board along with a short level to plumb the shims. Tack a pair
of tapered shims at the top hinge. Then install the bottom
shims and finally fill in the middle.
2. Screw the hinge-side jamb to the stud
Remove the door from the frame and set it aside. Remove the
hinge leaves from the jamb. Set the door frame in the opening
with the jamb resting on the finished floor (Photo 2) or on
a spacer. Drive 3-in. screws through the jamb where they'll be
hidden by the screws.
3. Adjust the gap along the top
Slide shims between the floor and the latch-side jamb until
the head jamb is level. Now reinstall the door hinges and the
door. Adjust the shims under the latch-side jamb until the gap
between the top of the door and the top jamb is even.
4. Shim and nail the latch-side jamb
Shim behind the latch-side jamb to make an even gap between
the door and the jamb. Usually three or four sets of shims,
evenly spaced along the jamb, are plenty. Drive two finish nails
into each set of shims to hold the jamb in place. Cut off the
protruding shims with a fine-tooth saw or a utility knife.