Should I install pre-hung doors myself or hire a pro?

Familiarize yourself with some pre-hung door installation basics, and decide whether this is a DIY job or one for the pros.
Are you thinking of replacing your front door for a new look? Or maybe your basement office needs some privacy.

Either way, you're probably wondering whether you should call a professional or install one of those pre-hung doors that you've seen advertised. Here are some things to consider while you make your decision:
  • Knowledge - Every home improvement job requires at least a basic skill set. Although home door installation might not seem that difficult before you get started, you need to have some standard carpentry knowledge to really get the job done right.

  • Tools - If you're a regular do-it-yourselfer, you probably own a decent amount of tools. If you're new to the homeowner's game and feeling adventurous, please do so. Just keep in mind that you might be purchasing more than just your door when all is said and done.

  • Time - You can expect that any home improvement project will take a little or even much longer than originally planned. Keep this in mind as you envision your weekend of door installation.

  • Money - Even if you decide to tackle this project on your own, it is a good practice to check with some local door contractors for their rates. You might find that adding up the cost of the materials, some new tools, and your personal time spent actually comes pretty close to the cost of having the installation done professionally.
Now let's go over some pre-hung door basics:

Pre-hung Door Anatomy

Pre-hung doors consist of several components:

  • Door Jamb - This is what you would consider the door "frame". It's what the door is hinged to. The jam size needs to directly relate to the thickness of your wall.

  • Door Stop - This is the strip of wood that is attached to the door jam. The door stop is what the door rests on when it is closed.

  • Hinges - These are the hardware pieces that attach the door to the jam and provide the swinging action.

  • Knob, Lever, and/or Deadbolt - These are the hardware pieces that fit into the holes on the door.
Types of Pre-hung Doors:
  • Fully Assembled - Usually seen in advertisements, the door jams are fastened together and already attached with the door and door stop.

  • Partially Assembled - Most commonly, these come with the door attached to the jam, but the stop is separate.

  • Knocked Down - The components arrive unattached. This is useful when you want to stain or paint the door prior to assembly.
Unfinished vs. Pre-finished:

This refers to the state of the components when they arrive. A pre-finished door will already be sanded, primed, and stained or painted.

Remember, whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a pro, contact some local professionals and get a few quotes to make comparisons and weight your options. You can find door contractors in your area at Kudzu.com.

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