Pre-Hung Doors How-to Instructions

DIY Pre-Hung Doors just got a whole lot easier!

Installing pre-hung doors in your basement can easily be done by the do-it-yourself homeowner. Listed below are basic instructions for installing Pre-Hung Doors. Follow these instructions and you will see how simple it is to get great results.

Step 1 Choose Right or Left Hand Swing

When you order a pre-hung door, you will have the choice of a right or left hand swing. Be sure to make the correct choice. It may help to stand in front of your door opening and actually visualize the door opening. Most DIY Centers will have several stock sizes of pre-hung doors available. Look at these doors and then visualize your opening again to make sure you get the correct swing. Most doors will have a brace to keep the door and frame aligned. Be sure to leave this brace in place until you have the door completely installed and in place. Many homeowners mistakingly remove this brace too soon and that will make your door installation much more difficult. Leave it on!

Trim Door Opening

Trim any excess drywall around the doorway to make sure the new door will hang plumb and level. You can use a keyhole saw or drywall saw to remove excess material.

Check the Floor for Level

If your floor is not level, your door will not be level. Lay a level domn on floor between openings. Slide shims under your level until it is perfectly level. Now mark these shim locations on the floor. Shims will usually slide while you are positioning the door. MMarking their location now will help you to get them back into place later.

Cut Bottom Plate if needed

Many times the bottom plate on your pre-hung door will be wider than your opening. Carefully cut this plate now to fit between your door openings.

Do Not Remove Braces

Packing material may overlap the sides of your door preventing you from inserting your door into the opening. Carefully remove packing material but do not remove braces that hold door to trim.

Position the Door

You should now be ready to place the door inside your opening. Carefully position the door so that it is flush with drywall on both sides. If everything fits flush, you are now ready to level and plumb your door. Check the bottom plate first to make sure it is level. Note-Some pre-hung doors will not have a bottom plate.

Secure the Door Jamb

You should start with the door jamb and secure the side with hinges to your door opening with one finish nail. Now you are ready to plumb and level door. Be careful and take your time to get all sides and top plumb and level. You should attach with 1 finish nail only not driven in fully to hold the jamb, insert shims as needed and adjust shims on all sides of door opening before you nail anything in place.

Check and adjust Shims

Check and adjust shims on all sides of door opening as you work your way around the door and check all sides and top for plumb and level. You can add and remove shims at this step to insure everything is plumb and level. Use 3 finish nails on hinge side near hinges and 3 on door handle side top center and bottom to hold the door in place. Do not hammer these nails in fully. You want them in just far enough to go thru your shims and into your framed door opening.

Remove brace and Test Door Swing

Now you are ready to remove braces holding pre-hung door to the jamb. Your jamb should now be attached to shims and openings with the 6 finish nails. Open door and make sure it swings freely and operates smoothly. Check to make sure all sides are flush with drywall in your opening.

Nail Door in Place

Now you should be ready to carefully nail the door in place. Add shims where needed and nail thru the shims so you do not have too much space between opening and door jamb. Some space is normal and this will be covered with door trim later. Check everything again for plumb and level. Make adjustments as needed and secure door jamb to opening.

Finish and trim off Shims

Check everything again and now you are ready to trim off any shims that may be sticking out of opening, set your nail holes and fill with paintable wood putty if needed.

This page "Pre-Hung Doors How-to Instructions" is part of the website. More detailed information on how to finish a basement can be found at