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What's So Hard About Hanging a Door?

By Brett Freeman
What's So Hard About Hanging a Door?

Hanging a door--that is, putting it up on its hinges--is typically not that difficult. But when most folks in the building trades refer to hanging a door, what they're really referring to is installing the door jamb. It can be quite a difficult task, as even a slight miscalculation can lead to a door that rubs, or that won't stay open, or that won't latch. Here is a sampling of what can go wrong.

The Hinge Jamb Isn't Plumb

The hinge jamb is the part of the jamb that the door attaches to. It needs to be perfectly vertical, or plumb. If it leans ever so slightly in the direction the door opens, the door can tend to swing open whenever it's not latched. If the hinge jamb leans in the direction the door closes, the door may swing shut if it's not propped open.

If the hinge jamb leans left or right, the gap under the door may be noticeably larger on one side of the door than the other, and the entire door jamb may not remain squared off over time.

One Jamb is Longer Than the Other

Most doors installed today are pre-hung doors. That means the door and jamb are sold as a single piece, and the jamb is installed in a pre-constructed door frame in a new house. The jambs are typically left a little bit long so that they can be cut to accommodate different types of flooring or carpet. When the jambs are cut down, a slight miscalculation can be a major headache. If one is left too long, it can cause the door to rub.

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