Should I Install a Pre-hung Entry Door?
I like installing pre-hung exterior entry doors, which come with a frame. The best part about the pre-hung door is that it has an incorporated sill. This is really important if it’s an exterior door as it keeps out the elements, like rain and rodents. And the times are rare when pre-hung is not going to work for you.
In this situation the owner found a steel door and purchased it, just the door, without a frame. Then he asked me to install it and after checking the measurements I said, sure. The door he chose was nearly identical in width and height so I though it would work. A wood door can be trimmed, if it’s a little too big, but not a steel door.
Can I Ever Use a Door Without a Frame?
Though the door can’t be cut with a saw, the edges are made out of wood so I would be able to mortise out places for the hinges. This is important so the gap on hinge side, between the door and jam, wouldn’t be too large. Also, by leaving the hinges on the frame side as is, I avoided having to do damage to the frame by making a second mortise cut.
Now with the door properly mortised out we will have an even gap all around the door to the frame. This takes care of left, right and top, but what about the sill? Honestly getting the sill just right is the hardest part of this job.
Really if the door had not been the exact same height, we would have had a problem. If it’s just a little too short I would have had to add a sweep to bottom of the door. If just a little to long, we would really be in trouble.
Wrapping Up the Door Installation
Being a steel door the holes for the knobs had to be pre-drilled because I have wood drill bits for doors but not a large one for steel. You can buy a bit that will manage to cut that size but I don’t happen to own any. The truth is that they are pricey and I’d only buy it if I really needed it.
It’s an entry door so there are both a doorknob and a deadbolt. If fairy tales really come true then with both installed the existing strike plate and deadbolt mortises will line up perfectly. But fairy tales don’t really come true, do they?
So okay, let’s say, I had to adjust both the mortises to get them to corporate with the new hardware. All in a day’s work folks, all in a day’s work. Interior doors, on the other hand, no problem installing a door without a frame. Just, please don’t get an interior door with pre-drilled holes.
Labor Cost of This Project
The cost of labor on this project to install and entry door was $200, but we did well. See more on Carpentry.