upgrading interior doors (to solid)

homeboundJuly 13, 2010

What's the preferred route to upgrade several interior doors from hollow core to solid core like Masonite (walls are stand drywall)? Replace with pre-hung, or just the doors alone?

If just the doors, would you order them non-bored, non-morticed, then try to match them with the existing hinge cuts and go from there with a story stick, or would you get them hinged (at least) and morice the jamb as necessary?

Thanks much.

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I would replace the doors only matching everything up to the existing, installed jambs. You will more than likely have to adjust the stops because even if you replicate perfectly the hinge placement and all, the doors themselves often differ, ( the hollow core might slightly bow in in places while the new might bow out, as an example. I usually go ahead and just pull the stops and re-install them to the new door.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Two different cost variations.

DIY job, less expensive to replace just the slabs. Takes more time and needs one or two 3" or longer screws in each hinge(to lock jamb into framing stud for extra weight).

Hiring someone means it is less expensive to replace with prehung doors as the total labor costs should more than offset the cost of the prehung over slabs.

I could install a prehung in about 45 minutes, tear out to finish. Usually took twice that or more to replace a slab.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:04PM
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i just replaced all mine with prehung. Agree with handymac - 45 minutes a piece. Painting takes the time


    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 9:53PM
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Thanks for the comments.

I forgot to mention wall to wall carpeting. I figure pre-hung would be a pain, then. With carpet, is it easier to go with just swapping doors?

Also, when swapping just the doors, sounds like you would order them without the hinge mortices, and also without locks bored. Am I understanding that correctly to get it all to fit, or are all lock bores standard?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 8:50AM
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Flooring type seldom makes a difference with prehung units in the normal 82" to 83" rough opening. That height opening leaves plenty of room for setting the bottom of the frames to the necessary level for the flooring.

Buying a slab is the best way to replace just a door. While hinge and latch locations are somewhat standardized, the specs are not universal.

To locate the hinges/latch, lay the old door(with hardware removed) on top of the new slab. Mark the hinge and latch locations. There are latch installing kits sold at home improvement stores(about $30) that have the two hole saws needed to cut out for the latch.

The hinge mortices are a bit different for DIYers. A template for hinges can cost from $30 to over $200 and a router is necessary to use those. A hammer and chisel is the old tried and true method, but chisels are generally not sharp enough even when new. I use several grits of sandpaper(up to 8,000 grit), a piece of marble slab(dead flat) and a $20 roller guide to sharpen chisels. (Called Scary Sharp.) Other sharpening systems run from $50 to over $500.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:04AM
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do not forget the bevel if you are doing a slab. Another option is to have but the doors from a place that will match drill/cut the holes, mortises and bevel. Its been a while since I checked but think it was ~$10 - $15 door.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:22AM
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Hmmm, I am reminded that I need to sharpen the chisels....and reorganize the van....and go through the paperwork....

For $10-15 a door, that would be worth it if available around here (Northern VA). I'll have to check that out.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:55AM
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With carpet, it could make a difference if you use pre-hungs as the dimensions of the doors and jambs might differ enough to where if smaller, will leave you with gaps where the carpet bumps up to the jambs. You would be better off going with slabs and , imo, have a reputable finish carpenter come in and hang them for you. They will match everything up on site and have all the tools needed and will no doubt save you money in the long run. Going out and tooling up with sharpeners, chisels, hinge mortising kits is pricy for a one time project unless you just want to. To take the doors to have them match up the hinges, strike plate, bevel, etc I never heard of because they would still have to be scribed and marked. Best if done onsite.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Sierra, out here (Ca.) we have a local wood store (high end) that sells doors and has a millwork dept that does the work. If you do not have the tools (or you have not been through the learning curve) the price is reasonable. I agree 100% with your comment on have a good carpenter come in if this service is not locally available and your only doing a few doors. Only takes one small mistake to destroy a $100 door

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:45PM
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Salmon, What is the name of the door place that does this?
We are in northern CA and are getting quotes to replace all doors and trim casings as they are old and worn, plus we want to go wider on trim. (and leave jambs) vs prehung, and are finding its about another 1k to do prehung. We have to paint either way. It's getting very expensive. Would love to another source. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:52AM
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