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Installing prehung interior door into nonplumb rough opening

Installing prehung interior door into nonplumb rough opening

Old 06-07-17, 08:26 AM
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Installing prehung interior door into nonplumb rough opening

Hello. First, some background.
Working on finishing 3 bedrooms and bathroom in basement. Sheetrock is done, mudded, taped primed and painted.
Working to get doors in followed by casing an base.
With closets and rooms, I have 8 total prehung doors to install.
I've been successful in installing the bathroom door and a double-door for a closet.
I've found each door takes patience and determination to get perfectly square.
Just to make my method known, first, I remove door. I then level and secure hinge side to framing using shims followed by opposite site.
The first bathroom door was a bit frustrating to get "just right" as the adjacent walls were a bit out of plumb. Eventually I was able to get it aligned just right to close with perfect reveal and latch properly. It took ~4 hours and many uses of my levels to get right.
Second install was prehung double doors for a closet. It went much smoother than expected as rough opening was mostly square.
Third door has been a nightmare. The latch side of the rough opening/framing is perfectly level/plumb, however the hinge side is seemingly really off. Top leans in quite a bit. If I put my 6' level next to the wall and set my level to where it is level, the gap up towards top is about 3/4". I hung the door but as expected it refuses to close properly. The top of door sticks out about 1/2" from door stop while bottom is stopping at door stop.
I could easily square door so it is perfect but it won't be flush with drywall and casing just will not look right.
Do I just square door plumb in un-plumb opening and plane down the proud portions of jamb and find someway to cut/fill the jamb where it is shy of drywall?
Any advice, suggestions, etc is appreciated.
Old 06-07-17, 10:39 AM
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Hanging a door in an opening that is not plumb and square is always a challenge, so you are not alone!

First off, when you hold the level vertically, you are checking plumb. When you hold it horizontally, you are checking level. Most of setting a door involves checking things for plumb.

The ideal door opening has each side of the opening plumb in both directions, meaning the face of the studs are plumb and the sides of the studs (plus sheetrock) are plumb. The walls on each side of the door also need to be co-planar or in the same plane. This means if you take a long straight edge and hold it against the walls so it crosses the door opening, the straight edge will touch the wall on both sides of the opening all along its length.

If any of those things are off, and *something* usually will be, at least a little, you have to compromise.

Having the face of the studs forming the rough opening out of plumb is easy to adjust for by shimming the door jamb, as you have had to do.

When the sides of the studs forming the rough opening are not plumb, you still have to make the door jambs plumb or the door will open/close itself or you will have the problem you described with the door not hitting the stops properly. You have to compromise.

I find it easiest to first set the pre-hung unit in the opening, with the door in place. I usually do this with all the factory shipping shims in place as they usually hold the door properly spaced in the frame. You have to remove the piece across the bottom of course.

With the door just setting in the opening, shim the bottoms of the jambs so both jambs are plumb in both directions and the top jamb is level. Now adjust the whole thing in the opening so you split the difference with the out of plumb studs forming the rough opening. It will be a little inset in some places, a little proud in others. Just try to split the difference on both sides as best you can. It will take a lot of fussing. Now lightly fasten the frame into the opening using shims and a few finish nails(predrill for them) through the wide face of the jambs. You just want to hold it well enough so you can remove the door and do a proper job of shimming and mounting in the usual fashion, without disturbing the carefully determined compromise position.

If the opening was really way off, you will have to get creative with the trim when it comes to that. You may need to plane down the back of the trim in spots, and shim it in others. If it's going to be painted, caulk hides gaps well.

Good luck!

Last edited by CarbideTipped; 06-07-17 at 01:05 PM.
Old 06-07-17, 11:14 AM
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First step is usually to check the floor for level... if the jambs sit on a finished floor, you want to cut one jamb shorter to compensate for it sitting on an out of level floor. If its just sitting on subfloor you just shim it so the head is level.

A door that is 1/2" out of plumb (in relation to how it contacts the door stop) can usually be corrected by moving each corner of the door jamb 1/8".

So for instance you can pull the top left corner out 1/8, push bottom left corner in 1/8". Also push the top right corner in 1/8" and pull the bottom right corner out 1/8".

In an out of plumb wall you want the jambs to be out of plumb the same amount. (Bubble on vial will read the same on both side jambs).

Only problem with that is that the door may not stay in position as it may want to swing open or closed depending on which way the wall leans.

Occasionally you need to add a small jamb extension to one entire side of the door to make the jamb thickness greater than the wall thickness just so you can plumb the door up... then you end up floating the wall out with joint compound 2 feet or so to make that taper blend in with the wall.
Old 06-07-17, 07:32 PM
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Thanks for the responses CarbideTipped and XSleeper.

Thought I would note that I had to trim an inch or so off bottom of the jambs so it would fit in the rough opening. I did make sure check the floor for level and shimmed accordingly.

Last night, I fit the door into the opening and aligned with the rough opening. Due to the wall being out of plumb, the result was far from desired which prompted my starting of this thread seeking ideas.

Wanted to drop off some pictures of my attempts and see if that helps:

Here is the work I did last night aligning with the rough opening studs where hinge side is out of plumb:
Here is view of the latch side of the wall.. Pretty plumb i'd say
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Here is the hinge side. Not so plumb.
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Pulled level out to where should be and you can see the relation to the wall. That gap.
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Here is the top latch-side corner of the door. The door is shut as tight as it can be and there is that beefy gap there. No bueno.
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Door latch side-corner shut from interior side.
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And here are the latest pics from earlier today where i removed the door and frame and reinstalled into rough opening square as possible disregarding the rough opening:

Check the reveals
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You can see how "off" the jamb is from the wall. easily 1/2".
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Latch side of jamb - not flush with wall
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Same - Latch side - no flushness w/ wall.
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Hinge side that isnt flush with wall.
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I have more pics but can only attach 10. I can post more if needed.
I love that the door is now square and opens/shuts like a champ, but my issue is getting casing up there that will look halfway decent.

I expect I will need some caulking. but how much. As
How would i extend the jamb - Ill look up 'Jamb extensions'? As would i cut wedges and nail into side of jamb? I've searched youtube and cant seem to find any videos out there detailing how to correct this. :/ I really wish i could have tested the framing before drywalling, etc..
Thanks again for all your help.
Old 06-07-17, 08:19 PM
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It looks like adding a 1/4" extension might help a lot. Because what I'm seeing is not acceptable. Your reveals around the door are good, but you have created a nightmare to trim by positioning the door where it is... bumping the entire thing out about 1/4" would help... read on.

You would put the 1/4" jamb extension on the other side of the door... not the side with the hinges and strike plate. You just glue and brad nail it onto the jamb, leaving a 3/16" step back, or "reveal", from the inside perimeter of the jamb. Your casing will also step back 3/16".

And don't be so worried about everything being perfectly flush with the wall. The casing can tip inward if the jamb is slightly recessed. In fact, imo, it's always better if it's recessed than if it is proud of the wall.

And like I said, you need to adjust each corner by 1/8" to get rid of that 1/2 gap at the door stop. (Put your level away for the time being because it will only make you angry at the framers).

Adjusting each corner 1/8" is better than adjusting one corner the full 1/2". I would also concentrate on trying to split the difference as you center your jambs in the wall. Don't flush up one side at the expense of another. Its better to have both sides of the jamb be recessed by 1/8" than it is to have one flush and the other 1/4" behind.

Imo you would add 1/4 jamb to the opposite side of the door, bring the entire door out into the room another 1/4, then mud the lower left hinge side part of the wall so that the jamb is not proud of the wall and so the casing there lays flat on the wall.

I also sure would have done whatever is needed to make those rough openings the same height. Generally you want the tops of your jambs to be level with one another in a room, especially when they are side by side.

Last edited by XSleeper; 06-07-17 at 08:44 PM.

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