How To Install Door Frames

There are many profiles of door frames for use on entrance doors or internal doors currently available on the market today, but many consumers are confused as to what is needed for their home and their particular door style and application. A professional builder can inform the homeowner as to the choices that would fit best their particular situation, or if the homeowner is planning on installing the door on their own, they can usually get some advice from the place they buy their door from.

A properly installed door frame will have both sides, known as the jambs or stiles, perfectly plumb and true to the inside and outside walls. When the door is fitted, there should be an even gap all the way around between the door and its frame. This indicates that the frame was installed properly into the structural opening.

Carpenters vary in their approaches to the installation method, but agree on the use of wooden shims to bridge the gap at the fixing points between the actual door frame and the structural opening. It’s important that the door is well fixed so that it doesn’t move when the door is swinging, especially if the door is quite heavy. Usually 3 – 4 fixings on each jamb and 1 on the header are sufficient.

Once the hinge side of the frame is perfectly plumb, the opposite stile can be lined up against this one to ensure a perfect plumb installation all round. Normally, the gap between the frame and the structural opening is filled with a “gap filler” material. This can be an expanding foam product injected into the gap from a canister that then expands, completely filling the void to make it draft proof. It also helps to secure the frame.

Typically, the screws of the hinges also include one extra long one that actually drives right through the door frame to secure the door in place. A door that is hung properly will not swing or move in any direction if the door is lying partly open. It should stay stationary.

The same principles apply to all types of door frames, whether they are used for hanging front doors, internal doors or even garage doors. Once the frame is secured in place and the door is hung, the whole installation is examined for both ease of swing and a good tight fitting to the door frame when the door is closed. Once this is accomplished, it is necessary to recess the frame fixing heads (put them below the surface) and fill in with wood filler, or if a hardwood frame is installed use wooden pellets to match the frame. The finish can then be applied to the frame in whatever style is desired — paint, varnish or oil.

In summary the components required for your new door frame installation include the following:

  • Frame – 2 jambs and header
  • Wooden shims
  • Frame fixings – up to 10
  • Expanding gap filler
  • Hinges – usually 3 – 4, depending on weight of door, preferably made with stainless steel and including steel ball bearings
  • Screws nails for the hinges
  • Filler or wooden pellets

A well hung door accentuates any home decor, whether you are installing an exterior door or an interior door. It can be accomplished quite effectively if the installer is thorough and follows all steps to ensure that the door frame is plumb and properly positioned so that the door will work properly for years of use.

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