Do your homework before replacing a door; carefully check the condition of all the components. Any problems with the hinges and jamb must be resolved before measurements are taken for the replacement door. Before installing a new door into an existing jamb, it is important to check the...
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Next, examine the jamb to determine if there are problems. Door problems can be the result of problems with the jamb. Check to see if the jamb is securely mounted into the opening. Grasp different sections of the jamb and try twisting. If the jamb moves, it needs to be secured to the opening. Is the jamb square within the opening? Use a large framing square to check for square. Then measure the opening diagonally, top left to bottom right and top right to bottom left. The two measurements should be just about the same.
Is the jamb plumb? Placing a level against the three parts of the jamb can determine if the header is level and the jamb is plumb. Place a weight (Plumb Bob) attached to an approximate six-foot string letting the weight hang to determine if the jamb is plumb. Has the jamb twisted? Open the door and look at the jamb in comparison to the opening. Place a straight four foot or so long board or four foot steel rule against the jamb. If there is twisting, the jamb will appear uneven. Measure the opening to be certain it is just as wide at the top, middle, and bottom. Measure the opening from the header to the floor at the left, middle, and right to make certain the opening is of equal lengths.
Make any needed repairs prior to measuring for or installing a new door.
When measuring for a new door to be installed into a jamb in good condition, considerations must be made in two areas: the type of hinge being used, and some additional space for jamb irregularities.
If the door is being installed is standard, no wider than 3'6" or heavier than standard using standard hinges, approximately 1/8" should be adequate space between the door and the header. There should be about 1/8" on the latch side of the door and 1/8" on the hinge side of the door. Add an additional 1/16" for jamb irregularities to the sides. Depending upon the application, the door undercut should normally be 3/16" to 5/8".
TYPE OF DOOR
Before measuring the opening, know the type of door being installed. Is the door hollow metal, finished wood, or unfinished wood? An unfinished wood door can be machined to compensate for an uneven jamb. Finished wood and hollow metal door are difficult to machine to compensate for an uneven jamb.
Start by measuring the width of the door near the top, middle, and bottom of the jamb. Look at the three numbers. If they are close, consider using the smallest dimension. Take this number and subtract approximately 5/16" for the door to jamb dimensions including jamb irregularities.
To compensate for slight irregularities, spacers can be placed behind a hinge to compensate. If the irregularities are larger, the jamb must be repaired to ensure the door fits properly.
Measure the height for the door near the left, middle, and right sides. Again, look at these numbers and if they are close, consider using the smallest dimension. Remember you need to know the size of the undercut. This dimension will determine the size of the door. Take the measurement and subtract from approximately 1/2" to 7/8" for the header to threshold dimension including irregularities.
Before ordering a door, discuss the dimensions with the door company. They may have specific criterion when ordering a particular type of door or using a specific type of hinge or continuous hinge.
In future articles, we will discuss temporary door repairs, door replacement, time of delivery, when to replace the jamb, wood versus metal, and a list of door companies.
Do your homework before replacing a door; carefully check the condition of all the components. Any problems with the hinges and jamb must be resolved before measurements are taken for the...