custom exterior door frame question ??

Old 01-03-04, 10:53 AM
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Question custom exterior door frame question ??

Hi all,

I'm removing an existing exterior door and replacing the frame because the existing frame is absolute junk - years of misuse plus a boardup has ruined it.

the existing door is ok, so I need to build a new frame.

I'll have to build a custom one, because the opening is a bit

82" high x 36" wide (rough) for a 34" x 79"(+/-) door

I was planning on buying some "exterior rabbeted jamb stock" from my local lumber yard, which is 1 1/4" thick, which, I'm
assuming is 3/4" thick at the door part (rabbet) and at the
outside the full 1 1/4" thick.

I can, of course, shim the rough to get this to fit.

my question is this: can someone give me some advice on
actually building the frame, specifically joining it at the corners?

I think my choices are:

1) build each of the three sides individually, and install each
individually to the rough opening


2) build the three sided thing, attaching at the 2 corners, and
then install the whole mess to the rough.

I think method 2 sounds more realistic, however, can someone
tell me if I put the door in before I install the whole works or

anyway, any advice you can give would help.

also, I need some advice on remounting the hinges - I know I
can use a chisel to make the slots for them, however, is there
a neater (like with a router?) way to do this?

Old 01-03-04, 04:08 PM
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Here's how I'd do it:

You're correct on the stock sizes.

I go with the assemble sides and top, and I'd probably add a threshold if you can find one of the aluminum type with the adjustable oak strips in the center. Since you have a source for the jamb stock, they might also carry that.

The header pc, you will have to "notch" the 1 1/4" section away down to the 3/4" thickness and fit it over the top of the side jambs so your 5/4 thickness drops down but the 3/4 goes over the top. Then predill and use some 1 1/2 or so drywall screws to assemble top to sides.

Mark WHERE the top will actually "drop" down on your sides, then before you assemble, use the side that will be hinged and lay it along side the door with the hinges on the door on sawhorses to mark exactly where you want to mortise out for the hinges.

I use a router with a special jig to do this, but for one door, it ain't practical to buy and learn to use one. Chisel carefully and use a utility knife to get your rounded corners IF you're using that type hinge. Pre-fit the hinged jamb pc to the door, then un-pin it and leave the jamb half of the hinge on the jamb. Then assemble the frame and set into place.

That is about the process.

One note, if your jamb stock DOESN'T have a saw kerf in the rabbeted lip for inserting vinyl weatherstrip ( the bulb for wood doors, or magnetic type if you have a metal door) you might wanna saw one on a table saw before you assemble the frame.
( Go look at a stock, prehung door and you'll see what I'm talking about )
Old 01-04-04, 09:12 AM
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so when you mount the frame, is the door attached to the
frame or loose?

everything else makes sense except the part about the
sill. Is it attached to the frame too, or just attached to the
floor later? Does the sill sit beside the frame, or is the frame
on top of the sill?

I have the sill and the frame stock, and it looks as if the sill
would not fit nicely next to the frame (w/o cutting the sill)
although the frame sitting on top of the sill seems
strange to me....

Old 01-04-04, 09:58 AM
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One methoud is this. Buy jambs with one left side, one right side, and one top. The side jambs should be rabbited at the top as well as the length. this allows the top to kinda interlock with the sides. Glue and nail, or screw, the joints. Now set the side that the door hangs from only. Ensurlng it's straight, plumb, and solid at the hinge points. Mortice hinges and hang door, wich has been cut to finish width and beveled. Now set the head and strike side to fit the door.
Now cut the bottom of your door to accept the sill and door shoe. aluminum goes between jambs and oak goes under jambs witch then gets installedbeforeyou set jambs. GL.
Old 01-04-04, 04:40 PM
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There's a LOT of different kinds of sills....the kind I'm hoping you can get is one like used on a pre-hung door. The side jambs sit on the sill, and screw run up thru the sill into the jamb.

Go look at a pre-hung exterior door at a lumber'll see what you're trying to accomplish.

I'd also hang the whole thing WITH the door mounted. It lets you see how the frame needs to mount so the door works well in the hole.

This goes against conventional "door hanging", but I rarely use a level in hanging a prehung door. I go MUCH more by how the door fits to the frame.
Old 01-04-04, 04:42 PM
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got it done today. thanks for all the advice.

I screwed up a couple of minor things.

1) installed frame, then door. It's now slightly off square
& I'll have to trim the door slightly to fit. I think next time,
I'll follow the advice more carefully and install with door
in place. This would also help get the opening width correct,
I'm slightly tight right now. Trimming the door will correct this,
but I'm going to wait awhile, until it stops snowing before
I leave the door off for several hours again!!!!!!!

2) installed sill, then frame, with result of frame on top of
sill. Looks like it will work fine, but not perfect. Probably
look a little wacky when I finish the interior trim.

of course, I also noticed that the jamb stock was very expensive,
$60 for the three pieces! made the job easy, but next time
I'm going to just buy some 2 x 6 material and cut my own
on the table saw.

the prefab aluminum sill was expensive too, $30 including the
1" extension strip. Think next time this will get milled out of
a nice piece of hardwood too, look nicer (IMHO) and cheaper.

But hey, these prefab pieces made it very very easy, which,
for the first time, was great. It's nice to do something right
(more or less) and have good results.

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