How to Level a Door Jamb How to Level a Door Jamb

What You'll Need
Pry Bar
Utility Knife

The most important part of installing a door is making sure the door jamb is level. This requires some extra time during the installation, but if not done properly the door will not open and close the way that it should. The task of leveling a door jamb is not very difficult, but it does require some attention to details and plenty of time. It is a project that can not be rushed. If you are installing a new door, here are the steps to getting the door jamb level.

Step 1: Remove Door Ffrom the Jamb

Many doors today come pre-hung on the door jamb. This makes the installation of the door much easier, but does not negate the fact that the jamb must be level for proper operation. Before you start to level the jamb, remove the door from the frame. This is done through removing the hinge pins. Set the door aside for after the jamb is secure.

Step 2: Cut Caulk Joint

Before setting the jamb into place, cut the small caulking joint where the casing will meet the wall. This is for ease of painting, and removing the door later if that need arises. Use a utility knife for this operation.

Step 3: Remove Outer Casing

There will be an outer casing, or trim boards, that are installed around the door jamb. Remove these with a small pry bar, or a drill if they are screwed to the jamb. Be careful as you remove these boards. You will need to reapply them after the jamb is secure.

Step 4: Cut Nails Securing Jamb to Wall Stud

A hacksaw, or a reciprocating saw, is a necessary tool for this part of the project. Slide the blade in between the door jamb and the wall stud and cut the nail holding it in place. In order to level the door jamb it must be able to move freely. Remove the nails from the jamb and drive them into the wall stud with a nail set.

Step 5: Level Door Jamb

For leveling the door jamb you will need to use a level and some wood shims. You will need to continually check the bubble in the level for both the vertical and horizontal level of the door. Add the shims around the jamb as necessary. Use a small pry bar to lift up the ends of the jamb (or force down sections) that need to have a shim inserted.

Step 6: Secure Door Jamb to Studs

Once the door is level, recheck the jamb again. Secure it to the wall studs by driving nails in through the side of the door jamb and into the shims. This will hold the jamb and shims in place. Recheck the level of the jamb and adjust if needed.

Step 7: Trim the Shims

Once the door is secure to the wall studs, you can cut the shims to make them flush with the door jamb. As small hand saw, coping saw, or utility knife will work for this part of the project.

Step 8: Re-Install Casing and Door

With the door jamb level and secure you can now reapply the casings and the door.

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