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Do-It-Yourself Weekend Project #101
"How to Frame and Hang a Door"

Tool and Material Checklist

2x3's (various lengths), Hand saw, Nails (various sizes), Sawhorse, Door jamb, Door, T-square, Expensive bit, Butt gauge, Hinges (3 per door), Marking gauge, Rubber or Plastic hammer, Brace and bit, Sharp knife, Marking pencil, Lock, Wood chisel, Cylinder type drill bit, 2x4's (various lengths), power saw, 1/4" Paneling, Hammer

1. Framing a Door

Framing a door is not too difficult. Anyone can do it by simply following a few simple instructions. Decide where each door is to be located when you are installing studs, plates and shoes for a new wall. These same basic instructions should be followed when cutting a door through an existing stud wall.

The 2x3 or 2x4 nailed to the floor to provide a base for the studs is referred to as a "shoe". The 2x4's placed in an upright position to support the wall are referred to as "studs". The 2x4 laid on top of the studs is referred to as a "plate". The size of this opening will vary depending on the size of the door you plan to use. A typical door opening is about 2'8". Measure the door carefully and cut the opening to fit.

The next step is to cut and insert studs on each side of the door area. Make this opening the width of the door plus 6". The extra 6" allows for the width of the door facing on either side. Now measure the height of the door to be installed. Cut 2x4's to the height of the door plus 1". Install the studs on either side of the door.

Now cut two 2x4's to a length equal to the width of the original opening and insert them to form a header above the door. Nail these two 2x4 header pieces together securely. Next measure the distance from the top of this header plate to the ceiling plate and cut "cripple studs" to this length. Insert three cripple studs as illustrated in the space above the door header. Toenail these cripple studs to the header above the door and to the plate at the top of the studs.

Insert the door jamb in the space you have now created. This door jamb is normally purchased ready-cut for installation. In some cases, the casing on an outside door frame is nailed directly to the studs. In other cases, the casing is nailed over the sheathing. The thickness of the interior wallboard and the sub-sheathing will determine how the door jamb is to be installed.

A filler strip can be inserted to make the door jamb fit the installation if it is needed. Finish framing can be added to the door after the paneling, gypsum board or other wall material has been applied. Head and side casings as illustrated finish off the opening for the door.

2. Hanging a Door

The first step in hanging a door is to determine whether it is to be hung right or left hand. A right hand door means the hinge is added to the right side, while a left hand door means the hinge is on the left side. The hand of a door is always determined from the outside. This means the street side for an entrance way. The "outside" of an interior door is the side from which the hinges are not available and the door opens away from you.

Although doors can be hung accurately without a butt gauge it will pay you to acquire this handy tool if you plan to hang many doors. This tool makes the job much easier. Place the flange of the butt gauge against the jamb or the side of the door as you would a regular T-square. Mark the position where the hinge is to be attached with a scratch awl or a penknife. This assures you of square lines where the hinge is to be attached.

Determine the width of the hinge to be applied and set the butt gauge to the correct width. The setback of the hinge is usually about 1/4". This set back hides the hinge when it is recessed into the door. Next apply the butt gauge to the jamb of the door and mark this same measurement on the jamb.

The small extension piece on the opposite end of the butt gauge is a device for measuring the offset for swaged hinges. This space between the leaves of the hinges allows for clearance at the butt edge of the door. If a hinge is not swaged, set the gauge for slightly less than half the thickness of the barrel of the hinge.

The following table is for determining the size and type of hinge to use on doors of different types. Obviously, heavy doors require heavier hinges than light doors and doors taller than 5' should have three hinges.

Doors Larger than 5 Feet Should have Three Butt Hinges, One for Each 2-1/2 feet of Height

3. Mortising the Door for Hinges

Use a small square or a butt gauge to mark the location of the hinge on the door. Now use a marking gauge to indicate the area of the door which the hinge will not cover. This area is referred to as the gain or setback. Now use a chisel and a rubber or plastic hammer to score this marked area. Be sure the chisel is sharp and the correct size. Using the same chisel, make shallow cuts about 1/4" apart in the marked area. This can be done by tapping the chisel lightly with the rubber or plastic hammer.

Now use the chisel to remove the surplus wood which you have cut away to the depth required to conceal the hinge in the area.

Use a nail punch or a drill to start the screw holes, both in the door and the door jamb. Pull the leaf of the hinge tightly into place on both the door and the jamb with a good screwdriver. Now put the door into the correct position and insert the hinge pins. The pins can be tapped into place with the rubber or plastic hammer used for tapping the chisel.

After the door is hung, swing it a few times to check for alignment. make any adjustments necessary to properly position the door and the hinges. In some cases a door may need light planing or sanding in a few spots. In other cases, hinges may need slight adjustments for proper alignment.

4. How to Install a Cylinder Lock

Complete instructions for installing a cylinder lock will usually come with the lock you purchase. Follow these mounting instructions carefully, using the template provided with the lock for drilling the holes in the door.

Instructions on how to mount a cylinder lock will vary from one manufacturer to another. Mark the door with the template before drilling the face of the door for mounting the lock., The hole for any lock is usually drilled at a point 38" from the floor.

Special adjustable drill bits are available for drilling holes of this type or you may prefer to use a cylinder type hole drill which works with your power drill. The hole for a cylinder lock is usually drilled about 2-1/8" in diameter.