Prehung Exterior Door Adjustments

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Old 08-13-14, 08:19 PM
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Prehung Exterior Door Adjustments

I just finished installing my first exterior prehung door. it is a steel door. door seems pretty damn plumb and level, pushed in some shims where i thought was appropriate. door operates fine except for a few things. the door seems to rub just a little in the bottom middle and at top and the deadbolt wont go in the hole unless i pull in on the door a little.

I've been reading about driving 3 inch screws into the middle of the hinges, i tried with brass screws, stripped them out pretty bad, gonna have to extract them this weekend and drive new ones in. how far should I drive these 3 screws? should I keep driving till they dont turn anymore? I was scared of going to deep the first time so I tried to just drive them in the same amount.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 08:57 PM
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When you set a 6ft level on the hinges (door closed) they should be plumb, and all in line with one another. The idea of the 3" screw is to hold the hinge securely to the studs so the door can't move and can't sag under it's own weight. Shims should be directly behind the hinges. If a shim is behind the hinge and it's too tight it will push the door and make it rub as it closes. You put the fat end of a shim in first, then slide the skinny part of another shim in on top. As they slide farther in or farther out on each other, it adjusts how tight the shim is.
 
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Old 08-14-14, 04:09 PM
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removed all of the short screws from the hinges and replaced with 2 inch deck screws. door isn't rubbing as much now. still not an even reveal but closer. the hinges have 5 holes, the one in the middle is larger than the rest. so each hinge has 4 2inch deck screw and 1 longer screw in the middle.

after looking at it more today, i noticed the jamb caulk line is also uneven, looks wider in the middle on both sides of the door.. starting to think the jamb it what is making the door rub. perhaps I placed my shims too uneven. would it be wise to add additional screws or finishing nails where the caulk line is wider? the door seems to open and close well enough. but I still have to pull just a little bit when i lock the top bolt.
 
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Old 08-14-14, 04:38 PM
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It sounds like you bowed the frame. Besides the screws in the hinges, what other screws are holding the frame to the opening? Sometimes screws have to be removed not added.
 
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Old 08-14-14, 05:05 PM
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If you have to pull the door to lock the deadbolt it's "possible" that it's not plumb, or at least the door jamb "legs" aren't in the same plane.

To test this, open the door just a crack (latch will be about 3/4" from the strike plate) and look at the gap when the door is close to the jamb. If the door is open 1/8" at the top, it should also be 1/8" open at the bottom. If the gap is not even that means one side of the door or the other is not plumb. You'd need to move the door around (changing it's depth in relation to the plane of the wall surface) in order to plumb it up. Once that gap is straight it should latch properly.
 
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Old 08-14-14, 07:27 PM
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I did that earlier, could see daylight come through at the bottom, not so much in the middle and then more daylight at top. i've got 3 screws in the screw holes behind the weather stripping on the latch side and on top. then finishing nails 3 on right, 3 on left, 3 behind weather stripping hinge side. if i remove a screw or lossen one in the jamb, wont it cause the door to rub more?
 
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Old 08-16-14, 07:04 AM
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It's hard to say what you're doing that's causing the door to rub in the first place. What I see a lot is people who put a TAPERED shim into the rough opening, then put a screw in it, which will twist the door jamb slightly. (tapered shims are used in pairs and stacked in opposite directions one on top of the other, so that when you slide them back and forth on each other it adjusts the thickness of the shim). The other big problem is when people use a 4 ft level to install a door they don't realize how inaccurate that is. They will put the level on the top 2 hinges and think it's close to plumb, and then put the level on the bottom 2 hinges and think it's close to plumb, when "close" isn't good enough. A longer level helps you visibly see any bow that the door jamb has, and will help you get all 3 hinges plumb at the same time. You start plumbing a door on the hinge side by placing the level on the hinges with the door closed. When you shim and put the screws in, nothing should move. (sometimes when you tighten a screw it will yank the door in 1/8" or so)

So I don't know how bad off the door is, but you might consider taking out all the screws, getting a 72" or 78" level and "refining" your installation a little bit. The longer level alone will help you a bunch. No door installer should be without one.
 
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Old 08-16-14, 11:09 AM
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Thank you for all your help guys. I think I might experiment with loosening up a screw or two in on the latch side, if nothing changes probably just going to live with it, not really too much rubbing anymore and the uneven reveal on the outside doesn't really bother me. if the door rubs more in the future i'll address it then. looks MUCH better and operates MUCH better than the wooden door it replaced.
 
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Old 08-16-14, 12:25 PM
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As you said 490,
It's better than it was. I would leave the casing off and you can play with it, fine tune it later.
For me, the important thing is having enough room on left and right of door to insert shims.
Let's say a 36" pre hung door is 37.5" wide overall, I would like to see a rough opening of 38" or a little more.
Sometimes it's best to start at bottom. Get your threshold level and centered between rough opening. Once you get a perfectly level threshold, all you have to do is shift jambs left or right into plumb. And as stated above, not only plumb, but perfectly straight.
Sleeper has this down.
Also, your threshold may be adjustable. Look for screws on top of threshold and you will see it can be moved up or down slightly by turning these adjustment screws.
 
 

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