Forum Title: Existing frame but with no door - want to add a door
I've never installed a door before. The stair way leading to our basement does not have a door but I'd like to put one up. The old homeowners must have had a door there at one point because the area is framed. But I have really no idea where to begin. On the frame there is no door rest/stop (jamb??) wood protrusion (where the door would come to rest when closed. So I know I need to add that. There is no hole where a strike plate must have been. Is that pretty easy to cut? Sorry for being so vague but if anyone could give some help I'd greatly appreciate it!!
Category: Windows & Doors Post By: WILLIE ROGERS (Thousand Oaks, CA), 01/05/2019

I can't really make out the gap, but I assume you are seeing a crack where the jamb meets the vinyl window? Yes, it's pretty normal to see that. It sometimes gets caulked, but caulk always needs to be painted or it will look dirty in a short time. If you smear caulk on the vinyl, you don't really have a nice straight line to paint. Painters caulk doesn't stick to vinyl the best, so if it *was* caulked, that's probably why you have a gap beginning to show in some spots. Vinyl windows expand and contract so there will be some normal movement there. If you want it caulked, caulk it but use the finest tip possible. If it is latex caulk, follow up with a moist sponge to tool the caulking and rinse the sponge frequently.

- GARY M (Fresno, CA), 02/01/2019

Hi, Thanks for the response. The more I'm reading I'm seeing that I do have the jamb.... it's the stop that is not there. Here is a picture I found online: I have that general frame already up. The area labeled stop I do not have up.... well, that and the door, hinges etc.

- FELICIA MOSS (Lafayette, IN), 03/03/2019

Maybe you need a more detailed answer as to why I'd suggest installing a prehung door unit that is already hung on the hinges. Reason #1: Mortising the hinges is probably the most critical part of the door installation. If you are not detail oriented and aren't skilled with a router or chisel, or can't measure very accurately, you will screw up both the door AND the existing jamb when you go to make your mortises. Reason #2: you didn't state the size of the existing jamb opening, so you are assuming that it is the correct size to hang a standard size door into. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Reason #3: you're probably assuming that the existing jamb is both level and plumb, with both sides exactly parallel. If the door is out of level, out of plumb, or out of square, I can't imagine a DIY'er trying to hang a door with such a difficult set of conditions to deal with. If you are very confident in your skills, then I'm sure you can go ahead with your plans. Buy the hinges. buy the door. buy the door stop. check your head for level, check the sides for plumb, make sure the jamb isn't racked from side to side. You'll test fit the new door into the jamb (using shims) to make sure you have roughly 1/16-1/8 around the perimeter of the door. If not, you'll need to scribe the door to fit. Once it's fit and still shimmed into the opening, that's a good time to mark the hinge mortise locations on both the door and jamb at the same time. After the mortises are made and the door is hung on the hinges, you'll install your door stop. The last thing to do is drill the door knob and latch holes, and mortise your latch and strike plate. good luck. Installing a prehung unit skips all these steps, but necessitates a few others, such as shimming the unit into the rough opening, squaring it up, plumbing it with the wall, and installing trim. But by comparison, installing a prehung unit is probably a 2 of 10, as far as skill and difficulty is concerned. Installing a slab in a preexisting jamb is probably closer to 7 of 10 or 9 of 10, depending on how bad the existing opening is.

- EDNA RICHARDS (Longview, TX), 03/04/2019

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