Important Considerations When Using Pre-hung Doors for Your Home

Important Considerations When Using Pre-hung Doors for Your Home

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Published by TOP4 Team

Ill-fitting doors can be the cause of heat loss and air infiltration in your home. Furthermore, they will “invite” intruders because of the flimsy construction and locks that are very easy to crack. These problems can be solved — and a handsome entryway achieved at the same time — by installing a pre-hung door.

Why Use Pre-hung Doors for Door Replacement?
Pre-hung doors are relatively easy to install because they are already attached to hinges in a frame that fits inside the existing door frame. This self-contained door comes in a wide range of styles and, naturally, prices. Better-grade doors often feature highly effective weather-stripping, including tight sealing in the bottom of the jamb, where air infiltration becomes a major problem.

Some top-quality pre-hung doors and pre-hung double doors also include high-security locking systems with heavy-duty deadbolt locks and reinforced stress points.

Metal Doors Are Still The Kings
Metal doors with insulating cores are popular with installers, professional and otherwise, because they offer better energy efficiency than wood doors. The insulating capability of some metal-clad doors range up to about R-15, which is better than some exterior walls (the higher the R value, the better the insulation). And, in general, metal doors provide better security than wood. It’s one solid barrier for any property.

Fiberglass is Ideal for Some Locations
A new entry in the door replacement field is the fiberglass door. Fiberglass has some advantages over wood and metal. This relatively new door material features invulnerability to corrosion and freedom from warping or splintering. So it’s very suitable to properties in specific locations, like beachfront homes, where saltwater corrosion is a problem.

The insulating capacity of some fiberglass doors (up to R-11.5) equals that of some metal-clad doors. In addition, for those who like wood-tone finishes, fiberglass can be stained much like wood.

Measure Before You Buy
Before you buy a new door to replace your old one, you’ll want to measure the width and height of the existing door opening. How? Make sure to measure from the widest points, instead of from the outside of door-stop moldings. Replacement doors are designed fit into openings with some variations in size; a typical door will fit an opening of 31 5/8 inches to 32 5/8 inches.

But don’t just focus on the measurements. You’ll also want to know which side of the existing door is hinged. When you’re looking at it from the inside of your home, the doors hinged on the left side are considered right-hand doors; those hinged on the right side are left-hand doors.

Now You’re Ready to Install
Installation of a pre-hung door will differ with the brand of door. But here are the usual steps:

1. Carefully remove the existing trim and save it for reinstallation.

2. Take out the old door along with the threshold and all weatherstripping and hardware.

3. Centre the frame of the replacement door in the opening, and shim at the sides with thin strips of wood so that the replacement unit is erect. A carpenter’s level can be used to check whether the new door and its frame are in plumb position. Once plumb, the door unit is nailed or screwed into place.

4. Then install a weather-sealing threshold. This usually requires use of caulking compound or a sealant.

5. The lock set — not included with many doors — is installed in the door’s pre-drilled holes. In some cases, chiseling of the existing frame is needed to complete the lock installation.

You can get pre-hung doors with factory-applied primer coat, but finish paint must still be applied. The topcoat paint should be of high-quality, exterior-grade finish. And you can choose to apply a semi-gloss finish, rather than high gloss, because the former will create one fine-looking door.


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