How to Install a Perfect Door

There are way too many opinions that claim setting a door is hard. Not at all. You just have to keep three things in mind; preparation, where to start, and how to finish.

 

The information in this blog corresponds with my two part video on this project.

 

Items you will need are:

  • Caulking gun
  • Urethane sealant (if setting on concrete)
  • Silicone sealant; not 100% silicone (if setting on wood) Look for a neutral cure silicone, Dow corning CWS, 790 756 795 GE SCS 2000
  • Flashing and/or rubber membrane (if setting on wood)
  • 4’ level
  • Torpedo level
  • Door shims
  • Hand tools
  • Nail set
  • (3) #10 brass screws – 2 to 2 ½ inches long
  • #10 finish nails
  • Finish nailer – optional
  • Drill with bits
  • Great Stuff – Window and Door (minimal expanding, low pressure) 

Procedure

  • ·         Important – Preparation
  • ·         If concrete – Clean the concrete. Run two beads of caulk under threshold of door and one bead on each edge of sill plate. If you want to raise the door up for interior clearance over existing carpet or an added throw rug now is the time. Use a pressure treated material to set onto the concrete. On top of the pressure treated material run two beads of caulk under threshold of door and one bead on each edge of sill plate.
  • ·         If wood – To help the installation of the door go smoothly get the door threshold sill perfectly level by shimming or wedging. If you want to raise the door up for interior clearance over existing carpet or an added throw rug now is the time. Wrap the threshold with aluminum flashing, a rubber membrane, or use a door pan. If using flashing or a rubber membrane run two beads of caulk on top of the flashing or rubber membrane under threshold of door and one bead on each edge of sill plate. If using a door pan run two beads of caulk under threshold of door and one bead on each edge of sill plate and set the door pan into the caulk. 
  • ·         If your door has an exterior trim, apply a bead of caulk around the perimeter of the trim where it will be in contact with the wall.
  • ·         Set the door down directly onto the caulk beads. Try not to smear the caulk.
  • ·         Open the door to 90 degrees and support the open door with something to hold the standing door jamb in place.
  • ·         Important – Where to Start – Level the door threshold. Determine which side of the door is the high side. You will want to temporary nail your door jamb on the high side at the bottom of the jamb. Center the door in the opening. Make sure the door jamb is flush (or sticking in past the drywall 1/16”) and shim and temporary nail the bottom of the jamb.
  • ·         Shim around the perimeter of the door on the other three corners keeping a perfect margin between the door jamb and the door. The top margin can be a bit wider on the knob side of the door. The screw inserted into the top hinge will draw this margin up to perfect. Try to keep the threshold tight to the sill.
  • ·         Temporary nail all four corners through the inserted shims keeping the jamb flush with the interior drywall or sticking in 1/16”.
  • ·         If the existing wall is out of rack the door may not be flush with the jamb on the knob side. Close the door and make sure the interior side of the door is flush with the door jamb from bottom to top. You want this to be perfect so the door will close against the door weather seal and with minimal effort. You can adjust the door jamb by tapping adjacent corners of the door one way (in or out) and the opposite corners the other (in or out). You can refer to my video on this project for further direction.
  • ·         Important – How to Finish – The rest is easy. Shim and screw the door at every hinge location. Shim and nail the door securely at the lockset. You can hide the nails under the side weather seal but be careful not to damage the seal by using a nail set. Add more shims and nails as needed.
  • ·         Check the door one more time for operation.
  • ·         Use a minimal expanding insulation product to insulate between the door framing and the door jamb. Be careful to choose a product that does not over expand, because it is strong enough to push your door jamb over. Also be aware that this product is the stickiest substance in the universe. It is messy and if it gets on your skin it will be there for months.

 

Finally, here is a checklist to verify a perfectly set door.

ü  The door margin between the door jamb and door are perfectly consistent on all three sides.

ü  There are no air gaps or daylight in these margins or at the threshold of the door.

ü  The door does not hang up on the threshold.

ü  The gaps between the door framing and door jamb are well insulated.

ü  The door on the knob side has a consistent reveal (in and out) with the door jamb all the way from bottom to top.

ü  The door jamb is flush or sticking in past the interior drywall 1/16”.

ü  Hinges are shimmed and screwed.

ü  The lockset area is shimmed and secure.

 

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