Choosing A Prehung Door

Whether you are upgrading an existing door, creating a new doorway, or installing a new door in a building, the techniques for installation are basically the same for all of these projects.  The first thing to understand are the different types of doors.

Exterior Doors

Front doors are commonly 1 3/4 inches thick and at least 80 inches high, like all doors, and 36 inches wide.  Back doors are sometimes as narrow as 32 inches.

Exterior doors should be solid panel or solid core: The space between the front and back surfaces of the door is filled with wood, foam, or particle board.

A solid-core door not only offers more security, but is also less subject to the warping brought on by humidity and different temperatures inside and outside.  Exterior doors are usually hung on three 4-inch butts (hinges), unless they are sliding doors.

The jambs are commonly 5 1/8 inches wide, but vary with the thickness of the exterior wall.

The front door is the first impression of your home.  It is the main entrance, and it enhances the character and tone you have created.

Although a wide variety is available, most doors are either flush or paneled.  Traditional wood paneled doors have framework of vertical stiles and horizontal rails, glued together with dowels, which frame individual wood panels, panes of glass, or a combination of both.

Flush wooden doors are made with covering a solid core of lumber or compressed wood fibers with thin sheets of plywood or veneer.  The surface is either smooth or decorated with wood moldings.

A variation of the flush door is a steel door filled with foam insulation.  This type of door offers both security and energy efficiency; it is finished to resemble painted wood doors and is usually sold in a prehung package.

Interior Doors

Interior doors are usually 1 3/8 inches thick and 80 inches high.  They are generally hung with two 3 ½-inch butts.  Since interior walls are thinner than exterior ones, doorjambs are only 4 5/8 inches wide.

Interior doors are either flush or paneled.  The flush doors have a core that is either hollow or honeycombed cardboard rather than solid wood.

If you are replacing an old paneled door, try to match it unless you are changing the architectural character of the rooms as well.  Other styles of interior doors include sliding closet doors, bifold doors, and pocket doors.