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How hard is it to build jambs for an antique door?

How hard is it to build jambs for an antique door?

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Old 03-25-11, 10:29 AM
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How hard is it to build jambs for an antique door?

I'm finishing the basement of an old house and I'm trying to decide if I should buy new pre-hung doors or use old salvaged doors. I really like the idea of having old doors but I'm worried it will be a pain to install them. Most of the reclaimed doors I've seen are just the door, sometimes with handles and/or hinges, but not with jambs.

If I go the reclaimed door rout, what is involved in building a custom jamb. Are there prefab pieces or will I have to do it all from scratch?

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 10:44 AM
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It's not difficult at all. It's basically 3 flat boards and door stop. The best way to do it is to dado the top piece into the sides and screw it together. You will need to mortise for the hinges as well. That would be easiest to do before you assemble the jamb. After the jamb is together, install it into the opening and then hang the door. Then cut and nail your door stop on. I think the gap beteen the door stop should be about a 1/16". Not 100% on that.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 10:58 AM
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Jambs

Adding to the above, determine the width jamb you need first. Wall thicknesses in old houses may be different that what they are with modern building methods. Pre-made jambs may not work. However, if you are building the wall where the door will be installed using 2x4's and half inch thick wall material such as drywall, then the pre-made jambs would work. Using an old door would mean the hinge mortise on the jamb would have to match the mortise on the door. Just my 2 cents. Come back with more questions.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 11:46 AM
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I normally use D grade yellow pine 1X6 and rip to width for interior doors. For exterior I use PT 2X6 ripped to width.

On interior I use the usual stop strips but on exterior I use 1X4 ripped the width from door face to edge of the jamb. This gives a look similar to mortised jamb.

If your walls are just standard thickness ready made "jamb" boards are simplest.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 12:03 PM
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Be very careful when choosing doors. Check them for warps, bends, odd sizing, separation of rails and stiles, etc. One biggie is if it's an odd size and you frame for it..what happens in 5 yrs if you want to change it?

There are so many different styles of pre-hung solid core (Safe N Sound from Masonite is one type) doors available for $150 or less. It would make everything much simpler, unless you just like the challenge. Personally I'd look at what you plan for the basement. Is it going to be an entertainment room, home theater, play area?
 
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Old 03-25-11, 12:14 PM
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Thanks guys. I finally found where home depot has jamb kits on their website. It shouldn't be too hard to cut them to size and mortise the jambs. How much of a gap should I leave between the door and jamb and also between the jamb and framing?
 
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Old 03-25-11, 12:17 PM
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p.s. it's new construction 2x4s and 1/2" drywall so that makes it easier.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 12:29 PM
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if it's an odd size and you frame for it..what happens in 5 yrs if you want to change it?
That's a really good point! I'll stick to something that's standard now days.

I partially like the challenge but it's more about philosophy and aesthetics. I like the idea of reusing something with history and character. We have a couple reuse centers here with hundreds of doors that have been taken from demo sites. Since I started working on my old house I've been hooked on bringing things back to life instead of buying new, when it makes sense at least.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 03:30 PM
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I've also reused old doors more than once One thing to keep in mind though is the finish that may or may not be on the old door. If an old door has lead paint on it - you don't want to be doing much sanding. Will young kids be using those rooms?

I've used plywood before to make the jambs - it works well as long as you are intending to paint.
 
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Old 03-25-11, 03:53 PM
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Spacing

How much of a gap should I leave between the door and jamb and also between the jamb and framing?
Mortise for the hinges just deep enough for the face of the hinge to land flush with the face of the jamb. The screw head clearance gap built into the hinges should then give you the proper clearance between the door and the hinge side jamb. Use that same clearance on the latch side and top. Opinions may differ about the amount of clearance between the jamb and framing. Straight and plumb framing requires less clearance than not plumb and not straight framing. I like 1/2 to 3/8 in. on the sides and 1 inch at the top. Good luck with your project.
 
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