New Prehung Doors - Plaster Walls

Old 12-05-05, 11:12 AM
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New Prehung Doors - Plaster Walls

I would appreciate help with my quest to install new prehung doors in my 55 year old home.

As a side job, a carpenter we know through a mutual friend agreed to install 6 interior, prehung doors for us. We informed him ahead of time that we have plaster walls, and that the bathroom door would be especially tricky because the existing casing is trimmed around the tile wall. I'll stress - we warned him about the plaster walls.

he told us what doors to pick up, based on measurements me we supplied, and said they should all be "standard".

He told us to go ahead and rip out all the doors, down to the frame, and that it would take him about 4-5 hours to complete the job. I fought with the jams all of last week, trying not to totally destroy the plaster. I removed the final door, the bathroom door, just prior to his arrival this past Saturday morning.

Well, six hours later, he had only one door installed (the bathroom door). He ended up doubling up the thickness of the bathroom casing in order to make it fit. One major problem is the thickness of the plaster. Another is the fact that the builder used 1x4's rather than (2) 2x4's on three of the bedroom doors. So, basically, three of the frames are too thick, and three are too thin for us to use the doors we have sitting in the house. Now we are stuck with cleaned out closets and no doors (aside from this cluttering up the hallway and living room), until he gets here Saturday to finish… hopefully. I'm slightly irritated with him for telling us to rip all the doors out. He seemed really confident. The house is a mess now.

I suppose my question is: any advice? Any way to overcome the irregular wall thicknesses without having to custom order doors? He mentioned trimming the male part of the female/male overlap in the split frame, but that would leave only about a 1/8 inch overlap.

His idea was for me to trace a line onto the plaster, around the new door, and chisel out the plaster down to the frame all the way around the door. This would make the face of the casing sit flush with the wall. I really don't want this. Plus, after he left I measured the thickness of the trim, and the thickness of the plaster, and the plaster is actually thicker than the trim. Chiseling out the trim is out of the question. But the dude had no better ideas other than having doors ordered. 4-6 weeks without doors.

Old 12-06-05, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bargerman
He mentioned trimming the male part of the female/male overlap in the split frame, but that would leave only about a 1/8 inch overlap.
This sounds like a good solution. Once the whole thing is nailed into place, the reduced size of the overlap shouldn't make any difference. But if you're concerned about that, you could pull off the molding from the prehung frame and trim off the outer edges instead of the overlapping male/female edges. Whether or not you'd be able to salvage the molding for reinstalling is another question--you might have to buy new molding for it if you go that route.

With your situation, I actually think you'd better off returning the prehungs and building custom door frames. It's not that hard to do, and considering how long it took him to customize that first prehung, it would probably be easier!
Old 12-10-05, 07:58 AM
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I have the same situation with my older home. These prehung doors sold at all the home improvement centers are just not the answer to our needs period. Don't even bother, they're not worth the grief. We're stuck doing it the old fashion way, custom installation each instance and it's even worse when it comes to any exterior door at a stucco wall.

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