Pre-hung door installed in bathroom. Room Remodel:

Installing A Pre-Hung Door

In This Article:

Shims are tacked onto the hinge-side framing to create a plumb surface, and the door is set in place and fastened.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 3 (Intermediate) Time Taken: 1 Hour

By , Editor


Installing this custom-made pre-hung interior door is not any different from installing a store-bought pre-hung door. That was the intention behind the article on Custom Hanging A Door... avoid the traditional  headaches of trying to align hinges while holding a heavy door in the vertical position.

This is the rough opening. We first put a 4' level against the side framing studs to see how far out-of-plumb they were. The left side was about 1/4" off. 

Out-of-plumb door openings are so common in house construction, one must assume the worst when planning this type of project.


The assembled custom-pre-hung door.


On the left jamb (the hinged side in this case), the bottom was too far inward. This became our starting point... the worst-case point on the hinged jamb.

We tacked two thin strips of shims to the jamb. (Two strips because when they are laid out in opposing directions, the net result is a parallel shim.

If the framing lumber had been twisted, (See another door installation article for this example) we would have arranged multiple shims in some other fashion to create a bearing surface that was perpendicular to the walls.


Then, we added another pair of shims halfway up (close enough that the 4' level would reach) and adjusted them until the level was perfectly plumb.

Then another set of shims was added at the top.

Some professional carpenters use extra-long levels, 6' or sometimes 6'-4", to lay out these shims. An extra-long level certainly makes the work quicker, and less prone to error, but we would not use such a level often enough to justify it's price. 

The door was set in place.  (Having a helper hold the door in place is a good idea.)


On the other side, the gap at the top was uneven. This was caused by the floor being slightly sloped.

We raised up the low side with a shim, until the top jamb was level.


On the other side, working on the hinged jamb... we adjusted the door position until it was plumb... and the jamb edges were reasonably aligned with the drywall surface. 

If the jamb edge sticks out too far at any point, it will complicate the installation of the trim. However, if the hinged jamb is not plumb, the door will swing on it's own and bang into things.


We drove in a 2" finish nail through the top shims. A pneumatic nailer helps because drives the nails so fast there is no chance of the jamb slipping out of place while the nail is driven. Movement of the wood can be a big problem when driving nails by hand.

While holding the door perfectly still, we drove one or two nails at the other mounting points (i.e. the shims).

At the striker side, we installed shims between the jamb and framing. Then we checked the jamb for plumb and made sure the door-to-stop-trim gap was uniform. Sometimes you can't get both things to cooperate, so a compromise has to be made.

If the gap is not uniform, the door will hit on the top (or bottom) first, and will be flexed as it is forced shut. Normally, if the hinged jamb is plumb, the striker jamb will automatically have a uniform gap as it is plumbed, unless the door is skewed (twisted). 


We nailed the striker jamb in place, and removed the temporary sticks that held the pre-hung door together. (The door cannot be opened until those sticks are removed.) Nailing a pre-hung door to the framing.


The final step was to cut off the shims with a knife.


The completed door installation. After this point the door was removed (by driving out the hinge pins) and given a coat of oil-based primer and latex semi-gloss paint. 

The next step: Installing the door knob.



Tools Used:

  • 4' Level
  • 2' Level
  • Pneumatic Finish Nailer
  • Nail Set
  • Knife

Materials Used:

  • Pre-Hung Door
  • Shims
  • Nails


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Copyright © 2000, 2003

Written August 6, 2000
Reformatted June 9, 2003