Interior Doors

Old 02-02-03, 03:51 AM
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Interior Doors

We recently bought a home built it 1959. All of the interior doors are hollow core luan. Not only are they cheap looking, but the holes where the hinges are attached are worn and many of them are loose and falling off. I want to upgrade the doors without breaking the bank ( There are 21 doors including closets in the house.) My first thought was to replace the luan with composite door slabs, but I have read that just replacing slabs will require lots of planing and trimming, and that composite doors can not be planed. Is it true that composite doors can not be planed? I was also considering refinishing the luan and adding some trim detail to make it look more expensive and replacing hardware but I'm still left with the worn out hinge holes. How would I repair those? Any ideas on how to give these ugly ducklings a facelift would be appreciated!
Old 02-02-03, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
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First, let's make sure we are on the same page when you say "composite doors". I gather that you are talking about a hollow core hardboard door that you buy primed -- comes in several styles like flush, or 6 panel, colonial, or ..., some have a woodgrain embossed in them, some don't. These are the most common door that you will find in places like HD, Lowes, etc.

Assuming that is what you are talking about, yes, you can plane or cut them some so that they will match your current door jambs (which may not be perfectly straight, or plumb, or level), but only so much. Up to about 1/8" on the hinge side, 1/4" on the latch side, and about 1/2" top or bottom -- you're ok. Much more than that and you will start weakening the door.

My question is why go to all of the trouble and spend all of the time required to make these doors fit your present jambs? Why not just replace them with pre-hung doors, rather than making the slabs fit? IF you have a power planer, a router, hinge mortising jigs, and hole saws, you are looking at a minimum of 3 or 4 hours for each door. Installing a pre-hung usually takes about 1 hour. The price difference between a slab and a pre-hung isn't that great. And you mention "replacing the hardware" If that means buying new hinges, add the cost of the hinges to the slabs, THEN compare their price to a pre-hung.
Old 02-02-03, 06:33 AM
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Yep.....Lefty is right on here......unless you just have WAY too much time on your hands

I buy slab doors for my rental houses and make my own jambs and casing to go with them....I can buy a red oak veneered door for about $40 and with red oak jambs/casing, they look real nice, but I probably average 2 hrs each in the hinge mortising and lockset boring process.....and I have a fairly nice tool add having to "fit" the door to existing jambs, and I'd say you'd be flying to get two a day done.

Prehungs are a snap to install.........Lefty says an hour.....really you can do it in about 20 minutes after the first one or two.
Old 02-02-03, 07:06 AM
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If all you really want to do is to repair the worn screw holes, then get some dowel rod and a drill bit the same size. The dowel rods are rarely the size on the label. Drill out the worn hole, put some carpenter's glue on the dowel rod. Press it into the hole, trim it flush with the surface. Let it dry for about 30 minutes, then drill a new pilot hole for the hinge screw and reinstall. This will be much less expensive than replacing the doors.

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