How To Hang A Door

Hanging a door is a simple project but there are a few tips and tricks to get it right. This article teaches you how to properly hang a door and describes the tricks to get the door hung right.

brief how to

  • Plumb up the hinge jamb with shims
  • Put the door in the opening
  • Nail the hinge side to the jamb
  • Nail the handle side on

tools and materials

  • Shims
  • Finish nail gun
  • 4' or 6' level
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife

door talk. The rough opening of a door will be two inches larger than the door slab. Doors and windows are always described by saying the horizontal dimension first and then the vertical. So a 2'-6" wide by 6'-8" tall door is called a 2668, and described as "two six six eight".
The rough opening should be 2'8" wide and 6'10" tall.

door swing: Door swings are described differently by door shops. The most common way to describe to someone the way a door swings, and the easiest to understand on the phone is using the "butt" rule. To describe the swing using the butt rule you simply put your back side, butt, in the door opening up against the hinge side and note whether the door swings to your left hand side or right side and that is your swing. A left hand door swings to the left hand side. A right hand door swings to the right.

Plumb means to be perfectly straight up and down

Level means to be perfectly flat

step 1 Plumb The Door Jamb

Start by holding a level up to the hinge side and seeing how plumb the jamb is. Your goal is to make the hinge side jamb plumb so you can put the door jamb directly on it and nail it on. Either the top or bottom will stick farther into the door opening. Add shims where necessary to make it plumb. It is very important that the hinge jamb be perfectly plumb before proceeding.

step 2 Check The Jamb Header Reveal

Put the door into the opening, center it so that the edges of the jamb are the same distance from the faces of the drywall on each side of the wall, then nail it on with two nails, one at the top and bottom hinge. Step to the hinge side of the door and close it. The knob side of the door is still loose so you will need to hold it in place at the rough jamb to properly close the door. You need to check the reveals between the top of the door slab and the jamb. It will either be too large, too small, or just right. (note: your hinge jamb must be perfectly plumb or the following instructions will not work as well). The only situation of concern at this point is if it is too large, meaning it opens up as it goes from the hinge side to the knob side.

Too larger of a gap: Fixing a too large opening is done by raising the hinge side of the jamb, (or removing debris from under the knob side of the jamb). Since it is already nailed on you simply put a shim between the floor and the bottom of the hinge side jamb, as you drive the hinge in it will raise the jamb. Raise the jamb until the reveal is the same all the way across the top of the door. note: the gap varies by door company depending on how their machinery was set up, but it is usually about 1/8".

Too small of a gap: If you can't close it because the top of the door hits the jamb it means that you need to raise the jamb on the knob side. Place shims between the bottom of the jamb and the floor to raise the jamb. Raise the jamb until the reveal is the same all the way across the top of the door.

step 3 Nail On The Knob Side Of The Jamb

Now that the reveal is the same across the top of the door you will nail on the knob side of the jamb. The first nail will go at the top end of the hinge side jamb just below the corner. First center the jamb between the two sides of the wall, close the door again to make sure the reveal is still correct, open the door and put the nail in. Close the door again to make sure the reveals are still correct, if they are too high or low you should adjust them as described above. Now that the single nail is in you can remove the shims between the floor and the jamb and simply pry the jamb up or down. It will stay where you pry it to because of the nail. Center the bottom of the jamb between the two sides of the wall and put a nail about 4 inches up from the floor in the center of the jamb.

step 4 Install Shims On The Knob Side Of The Jamb

Look at the reveal at the top corner between the door slab and the jamb. This gap should be about 1/8". You will continue down the edge of the door from the top to bottom to make this reveal the same. Place shims between the jamb and the rough framing behind the jamb about 4 inches down from the top of the knob side jamb. Stack as many shims as necessary to make them fit snugly between the rough stud jamb and the door jamb AND keep the reveal at 1/8" when the door is closed. Once you get it right, put a nail thru the jamb, shims, and into the rough framing. Close the door again and check that all the reveals are where they should be.

Go half way down the door jamb, just above the strike plate and install more shims following the same procedure you just did for the top shims.

Go to the bottom of the door jamb, just above the floor and install more shims following the same procedure you just did for the top shims.

Now install shims in between the three shims you have installed, you will have 5 total which will help you make the reveal perfect.

step 5 Areas On The Door To Look At And How To Fine Tune Them.

Top Reveals: To make the top the same all the way across you will install a nail thru the casing into the rough framin above. Close the door and look at the reveal. It is usually bowed up because you just put a nail in it. Use your hammer to pry it down until the reveal is perfect. The door casing will hold it stronger so you don't need to shim it, just make the reveal perfect. Sometimes you may need to install more nails to hold it.

Knob Side Reveals: Close the door and look at the reveals. From the hinge side of the door on the knob edge you want to see an equal reveal from top to bottom. On the top of the door you want to see an equal reveal from side to side.

Hinge Side Reveals: The hinge side reveals are usually fine and do not need to be messed with because the hinges are holding it in multiple places and you made the hinge side perfectly plumb before installing the door.

Door Stop Reveals: This is a reveal that you have not looked at yet. It is the reveal between the door slab and the door stop, (the piece of wood that the door hits when it is fully closed). Put your fingers in the knob hole and pull it closed against the door stop.

note: you are only concerned with the stop at the top of the jamb and on the knob side of the jamb.

Notice the spots where the door touches the stop and where it is off the stop. There are two ways to get the door slab to have full contact with the door stop, by moving the stop or by moving the jamb.

Moving The Stop: This should only be done when the stop was installed crooked. It is easily identified because the stop will touch the door at one point, move away from the door, and then come back and touche the door again. In this situation you can move the stop by placing a block of wood against it and hitting the wood with a hammer to straighten it out.

Moving The Jamb: Moving the jamb is necessary when the wall is not plumb. If the wall is out of plumb you will need to either hang the door out of plumb, in line with the wall, or hang the door plumb and skew the casings to cover up the difference. Hanging the door plumb is usually preferred. You need to be careful when moving the jamb because it will affect the door casing installation, and may mess up the nice reveals between the door and casing. Typically you will split the difference between the two sides of the door so that the door jambs don't stick out too far on either side of the wall. Use a hammer and a block of wood to knock the jamb

If There Is A Gap Between The Slab And Stop: If there is a gap between the slab and the door stop you will need to push the jamb toward the door slab to close the gap.

If The Slab Is Touching The Stop: Where the slab is touching the stop you will need to push the jamb away from the door slab to close the gap.

step 6 Check The Jambs For Square

If The Door Opens Itself, Feels Like It Is Binding: When a door feels like it is binding when it is fully closed or just instantly comes back with your hand after closing it there is usually a problem with the squareness of the hinge side jamb. You will need to put a shim in between the door jamb and the rough framing jamb on the hinge side of the door behind the hinges. (On the pin side of the hinge) You are only trying to twist the hinges in the direction of the door being closed. see photo. This problem comes from the rough framing stud being twisted. With the shims you are essentially twisting the stud to be perpendicular with the wall. see photo.

step 7 Install The Casings

Installing the casings is the final step. This instruction teaches you how to install casing with 45 degree angles. If you are installing a lintel across the top of the door you will not do the 45 degree cuts as explained here.

The casing should only be installed when you are totally happy with the way the door is hung, it is hard to tweak the door when the casing is on. Install the header casing first. Cut one end of a piece of casing at a 45 degree angle, the short side of the angle will be toward the door. Hold the casing above the door where it will be installed about 1/4 inch off the edge of the jamb. Put the short side of the 45 deg. angle the same distance from the vertical side of the jamb so that when you install the vertical casing its reveal will be the same as the top.

Use a utility knife to mark the uncut end of the casing at the point where the short end of the second cut will be, again, about 1/4 inch past the top corner of the door jamb. Cut the casing at a 45 deg with this knife mark you made being the short side of the cut.

Hold a piece of casing up to the vertical jamb, make the reveal the same as you are making it on the top and then use the utility knife to mark the short end of the cut, about 1/4" past the top corner of the jamb. Cut the casing using the mark as the short end of the cut.

With the vertical casing in one hand and the header casing in the other, hold them in the position that they will be nailed. Check them for length, cut them again if necessary. Once they are the correct length you will nail them to the jamb with a 1 inch long nail and nail the other side of the casing to the wall with a 2 1/2" long nail, (15 gauge).

Continue fitting and nailing the casings until complete.

related articles

Check Out Our Huge Shed Plan Library!Create Your Own Shed with Our DIY Shed Plans

Backyard Shed Plansmore lean to shed  information button

Thank you for visiting icreatables.com