How to Install a Prehung Door: The Ultimate Guide


Let me guess: you’re the type of person who likes to save money, save time, and get things done the right way the first time…

How in tarnation did I know that!?

Well, that’s one of the biggest benefits of choosing to install a prehung door in your home, and that’s why in this article I’m gonna explain EXACTLY how to do that!

As always, I need to give this disclaimer: with any type of door work, I always recommend hiring a residential door professional, because major headaches and expenses come with fixing door work that was done incorrectly, so unless you’re extremely experienced with work like this (or you just have a thing for throwing away money and experiencing frustration), you’ll almost always have a better time hiring residential door professionals.

Are you ready to install a prehung door in your home? I totally understand why, installing a new prehung door in your home opens up new opportunities and improves how you use your space. When you’re ready to put in a new door, there are important steps to follow.

First, you need to take out the old door and frame to clear the space. I’ll help you measure the space where the door will go to make sure it fits well and works smoothly. Ensuring that the door jamb is level and plumb is crucial for a proper fit.

Keep watching to learn how to place and fix your new door properly, making sure it lines up right and opens and closes easily. Additionally, you need to ensure proper alignment and fit within the door opening.

Key Takeaways


  • Take off the old door and its parts, then clean up the space where the new door will go.
  • Measure the space to make sure it’s a bit bigger than the new door so it will fit right.
  • Put the new prehung door in the space. Make sure it’s straight, make your door plumb and even by using a tool called a level.
  • Start by fixing the door on the side with the hinges using thin pieces of wood called shims to adjust the hinge jamb. Then, use screws or nails to keep the door in place.
  • Use shims at the head jamb to ensure proper installation.
  • Make sure the door opens and closes smoothly and that the gaps around it are even. Adjust if needed.

Prehung Door Installation Overview

Installing a prehung door usually takes 2 to 3 hours, needs some skills, and costs about $250. The process can vary slightly for an interior door versus an exterior door installation.

First, take out your old door and its frame to make sure the new door fits well.

Then, measure the space where the door will go. Make sure there’s a little extra room, about an inch or two, for making adjustments.

Next, put the new door in the space. Be careful to place it correctly so you don’t have to fix it later.

Then, use shims on the hinge side to keep the door steady and check that it’s level. Ensuring a uniform gap is crucial, especially for an interior door, to maintain proper alignment and functionality.

Required Tools and Materials


Before you start, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need for a smooth setup. You’ll need a tape measure, level, hammer, screwdriver, utility knife, shims, strike plate, and maybe a saw if you need to cut anything.

Also, you’ll need a drill with different bits for the screws, and a caulking gun to seal everything at the end. You must have screws or nails to fix the frame in place—check that they fit your door properly!

Remember to take a pencil for marking and it might be good to have a friend to help you hold things steady. With these tools ready, you can begin your project confidently!

Removing the Old Door


To take off the old door, follow these steps to make it easy:

  1. Take Out Hinge Pins: Use a flat screwdriver and put it under each pin. Gently hit the screwdriver with a hammer to lift the pins out.
  2. Remove the Door: After the pins are out, hold the door on both sides and lift it off the hinges.
  3. Remove Remaining Hardware: Use your screwdriver to take off any other parts like the latch or extra screws.
  4. Remove Hardware on the Latch Side: Ensure all parts on the latch side are taken off before cleaning the area.
  5. Clean the Area: Be sure to remove any leftover pieces or dirt to get ready for the new door.

You can do it!

Measuring the Rough Opening for Prehung Doors


After you take out the old door, measure the space where the door was to make sure it’s a bit bigger than the new door you have, about 1 or 2 inches more for adjustments. Use your tape measure and write down the height and width inside the frame.

Measure the width at the top, middle, and bottom to make sure it’s even. Check the height on both sides too. This might seem like a lot of checking, but it’s important to do it now rather than struggle with fitting the door later. Ensure the hinge jamb is tight when measuring the rough opening to avoid any issues during installation.

You want the door to fit well but still have a little space to move and adjust it correctly.

Positioning the Prehung Door


Once you’ve measured the space for the door, carefully place the prehung door in the opening. Make sure it fits well by following these steps:

  1. Center the Door: Move the door until it’s right in the middle of the space.
  2. Check Alignment: Look at the top and sides of the door. It should be an equal distance from all sides of the opening.
  3. Adjust for Even Gaps: Ensure there’s an equal space on each side of the door. This helps the door open and close smoothly.
  4. Verify Vertical Alignment: Use a level tool to make sure the door is straight up and down. A straight door works better!

Ensure the door fits well within the door opening by aligning the door jamb with the door opening and using shims if necessary.

Follow these steps to make sure your door fits properly!

Securing and Shimming


Hold the door steady by placing shims on the side with the hinges first. Make sure it stays straight and level. Use shims at the head jamb to ensure proper alignment. Put the shims between the door frame and the wall, and adjust them until the frame is upright.

As you work, check that the space between the door and its frame is even all the way around. After the hinge side is set, move to the side with the latch and do the same thing. Add shims and adjust to make sure it fits well and neatly.

Use nails or screws to keep the shims in place. This step is important not just for looks but for the door to work properly by keeping the hinge jamb tight.

Checking Door Level and Swing


Now that the door is held in place with shims, you need to check that it’s straight and swings open and closed easily.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Check if the Door is Straight: Put a level on top of the door to see if it’s flat. If not, adjust the shims.
  2. Try Opening and Closing the Door: Open and close the door slowly. It shouldn’t rub against the frame.
  3. Look at the Spaces: Make sure the space around the door is even when it’s shut. Aim for a small gap, about as thick as two pennies stacked together.
  4. Check the Latch Side for Uniformity: Ensure the latch side is aligned properly. Shim the latch side if necessary to maintain uniformity and secure the latch side jamb in place.
  5. Make Any Needed Changes: If something doesn’t feel right, move the shims a little. It might take a few tries to get it perfect.

You can do it!

Alternative Door Installation Options


If you’re thinking about different ways to install your door, looking at other options can be helpful and meet various needs. For example, you might choose a slab door if you want to save money. This method lets you use your old frame, which saves money and reduces waste. Just make sure the new door fits well! A prehung exterior door offers convenience for quick installation, as prehung exterior doors come with standardized designs that is perfect for DIY projects.

Another option is cased openings, which are very simple and give a modern look without traditional moldings. It’s very important to measure carefully here; even a small mistake can ruin the look.

No matter which option you choose, always make sure everything is straight and level. A prehung interior door is also easy to install, as prehung interior doors come preassembled with a three-sided frame and attached hinges (on the hinge side casing), making it a convenient choice for DIY enthusiasts. You wouldn’t want your new door to not work right!

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Prehung Doors Be Installed on Concrete Walls?

Yes, you can install prehung doors on concrete walls. You’ll need a special drill bit for concrete and screws made for concrete to attach the frame securely.

It’s helpful to use a powerful drill. Remember to keep checking that the frame is straight while you work.

It might seem hard, but with the correct tools, you can do it quickly!

How Do Weather Conditions Affect Prehung Door Installation?

Think of setting up a tent on a windy beach; in the same way, weather really affects when you put in a prehung door.

If it’s very humid, wooden doors can get bigger, and if it’s cold, the materials might shrink, making the door not fit well.

Try to choose a dry, warm day to install your door, so it fits right and opens and closes easily.

Always look at the weather forecast before you begin!

Are Prehung Doors Suitable for All House Styles?

You might be asking if prehung doors work for all types of houses. They really do fit well with many styles!

These doors include their own frame, so they’re a good option for many home projects, whether you’re updating your home or building a new one.

Just make sure the door looks good with your house’s style, and you’ll be ready for a nice, useful change.

What Are the Best Finishes for Prehung Doors?

When you open your new prehung door, you want it to look right for your home.

The best finish depends on your style. If you like modern, choose shiny, glossy finishes. If you prefer classic, think about stained wood or a matte finish.

Pick what looks good in your home so your door fits in well!

Can Prehung Doors Be Easily Customized After Installation?

You can change prehung doors after they’re installed!

You can paint them, stain them, or put on new hardware. Just be careful with the door so it doesn’t get damaged.

It’s a good way to make the door fit your home’s style.



Now you know how to install a prehung door, and as you can see, putting in a prehung door is easier than it seems. By following these steps, you can handle this DIY task yourself.

Upgrading your doors might boost your home’s value by up to 10%. This means you aren’t only making your home better but also investing wisely.

So, get your tools ready, prepare to work, and try it out – you might be amazed by what you can do!

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