Hanging a Heavy Door

snookums2December 4, 2011

Hi,

I am having some solid core doors hung. Standard 1-3/8 6'8". I read with the heavier doors that a long screw should be placed in the top hinge (they way I remember it) so the jam doesn't sag and door doesn't warp.

Is that correct for this type of door? What size and type of screw? Does it need to go through a shim? Is it really necessary for a solid core door? Not sure they weigh as much as solid wood. The jam is prehung quality and there are some good size gaps between the jam and studs.

I was going to ask my carpenter to do this on the doors to be safe. He had actually done it but on only one of them. Not through a shim. I'm sure he used a coarse drywall screw. Is that ok?

I see some people do more than the one screw but it seems they were talking about very heavy doors.

What would you do and is what he has done sufficient? One coarse drywall screw top hinge no shim. If you'd change something, how important is it? I don't want to bug him if it's not critical.

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millworkman

use a wood screw not a drywall screw as drywall screws are cheap Korean or Japanese metal generally 2 pc without any strength.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:57AM
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brickeyee

"I read with the heavier doors that a long screw should be placed in the top hinge (they way I remember it) so the jam doesn't sag and door doesn't warp. "
All the screws should be replaced with screws long enough to go through the jamb, any gap for shimming, and into the framing around the door at least 1.5 inches (and more is better here).

The short screws supplied with hinges are only suitable for the lightest of hollow core doors, and even then are barely adequate.

Ball bearing hinges can make it a lot easier to open a heavy door.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:44AM
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HandyMac

Drywall screws are designed to install drywall. It takes a lot of screws to properly install drywall, the screws do not hold much weight, and they need to be inexpensive so installing drywall is affordable.

All excellent reasons NOT to use drywall screws for anything else.

I've installed a lot of doors. I always use one 2&1/2" to 3" screw(I buy most of my screws from McFeelys) per hinge regardless of door type. That helps relieve the normal stress put on the other shorter screws.

In a situation where screws have to be purchased at a hardware or home improvement store, using coated deck screws is a decent substitute.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:54AM
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snookums2

Thanks. I will talk to them about this situation.

"In a situation where screws have to be purchased at a hardware or home improvement store, using coated deck screws is a decent substitute."

These are antique brass hinges so deck screws aren't going to work. I'm not sure where that leaves us.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 11:58AM
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snookums2

Not sure what I'm looking at on McFeelys.

handymac or others, can you point me to the screws you use? It's an antique brass hinge. What would you use?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 3:17PM
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brickeyee

"Not sure what I'm looking at on McFeelys. "

Solid brass wood screws.

You can also try Bolt depot.

they have wood screws also

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 4:09PM
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snookums2

I saw them in a hinge pack at Lowes. They included 3 of the #10 2-1/4" in the pack, one for each hinge. They were threaded to the head. The screw packs off the shelf were not threaded to the head, sometimes a 1" smooth flange. The guy said that didn't matter.

Only polished brass was available at the big box so I'll have to check out the online stores.

Thanks guys, you're the best!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:50PM
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snookums2

Hm, the guy said #10 but the hinge screws I'm seeing for residential hinges are #9. I need to see them locally. It shouldn't be so hard. I don't understand why they aren't included in every hinge pack or with the prehung doors.

He's got the doors hung already. Will have to take one off again to cut it down to size. Then later if I can find the long screws they will be pulled again. Isn't this ruining the hole by screwing them in multiple times?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:33PM
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HandyMac

McFeelys does not have 3" in antique brass.

A Google search found the company listed below.

As a rule, holes for brass screws should be drilled out about the size of the solid shank of the screw and a steel screw driven in to make the threads. Other wise, brass screws have a tendency to break.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:42AM
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snookums2

Oh boy. Then what. Am I asking for trouble here if they don't know this?

How many times can a screw be taken out of the jam and put back in? Doesn't the hole become ruined and not gripping anymore?

Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:27AM
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HandyMac

There really is no reason to remove a screw after the second time it is installed.

As far as the screws breaking---let's just say preventing the screw from breaking is WAY WAY better than having to extract/replace one that broke.

Meaning it will be better to make sure they know how and do it properly.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 9:39AM
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brickeyee

Hinges have been using #9 screws for a long time.

You just need to find a place that has them (and a bog box is not likely).

Bolt depot has #9 up to 9 inches in brass.

You can easily find brass brown solution to color the head.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:06AM
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snookums2

"There really is no reason to remove a screw after the second time it is installed."

Let's hope. Wondering if rugs are going to be a problem with 1/2" off the bottom.

Found some at the showy lumber yard we have around here so all is well there.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 3:55PM
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snookums2

These are Jen Weld solid core doors (pro core). Two needed to be cut down 1/2" in width. We talked about it yesterday and I pointed out that you can only take so much off of the sides. He nodded as if he was aware of this and said they were just going to take a little off of each side. There is a 1/4" tolerance for that to manitain structural integrity. Today I see they took 1/2" off the handle side. There is only a 1" solid strip around the perimeter of the door. I expect they will say they didn't want to cut off anything hinge side. Who knows. But do you think it will be alright? Is this a very bad thing? All the manufacturer will say is that you get into the structural integrity of the door after 1/4". What could happen with 1" around the perimeter except handle side at 1/2"?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:04PM
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brickeyee

Bolt depot has #9 up to 3 inches in brass.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:25PM
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snookums2

Thanks, 3 inchers went in today. I was able to find the antique brass at a fancy lumber yard. I was so relieved. Taking care of these good solid doors for years out. It was a battle won.

Only to find when they cut two of them down, 1/2" was taken off one side. There's a 1/4" tolerance for cuts. It should have been split to maintain the structural integrity of the door. Why do I know this? Oh yea, needed a 17" door and was told you can't cut that much off the 18 inchers. Custom. That's why those two doors downstairs are warped and falling apart. They seemed to know this when we talked about it yesterday. Nod yes, were going to take just a little off each side. It won't be a big deal. Then they go cut one side down 1/2 inch.

I give up.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 5:17PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

On a solid coe door what happens after you take more than 1/2" off one side is this: You run out of clear, one-piece pretty wood and enter the netherworld of the "core" which can be anything. The last 4 solid core doors I hung, it was the knots out of yellow pine, finger jointed together. No real wood, just pure knots that are culled out during the process of making the show-wood and the core-stuff. It can also be particle board-stuff or oak or cement (fire rated doors)
Casey

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 5:56PM
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HandyMac

It seems, from looking at the JenWeld website, you got composite doors, not solid wood doors. While the cores(panels/inserts) have noise reducing construction, the door frames are still constructed solid wood only in narrow bands---the same as hollow core doors.

But, taking the 1/2" off the latch side was better.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 6:11PM
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snookums2

Yes, these are molded composite doors, solid core (particle). They have a 1-inch solid wood band around them for structure/strength. Jen Weld had told me that you can only cut a maximum of 1/4" from any side. Otherwise, it affects the structural integrity of the door. (That is all they would say when I called today to find out the consequences).

So it should have been 1/4" off each side to maintain the structural integrity of the door. The latch side now has only a 1/2" band of solid wood. They'd said they'd be taking a little off each side which would have been within tolerances but did this instead.

The edges look fine with smooth wood.

So you think this is enough support and don't think it will warp or anything? It's a 30" door.

The small double doors downstairs were cut too much and warped over the years. One even fell apart at the top. There was not much left on the latch side of those.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 8:24PM
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HandyMac

I know what the company line is about the 1' wood---but that is basically advertising(I use the word advertising interchangeably with the slang word for male bovine waste products)

That 1" wood band is for window dressing. It is a cheap way to make less expensive materials seem adequate. I've altered hollow core doors with thicker edges.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 12:25AM
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snookums2

handymac, I'm not understanding what you're saying. The solid band around the core doors is supposed to be its strongest area and support from what I understand. You can't cut it back too thin or you're cutting away the framing. You don't agree with this? A half inch on one side won't affect anything? Aside from doors being cheap today, where is the door getting its form and strength from if it's not the perimeter pieces.

The double doors that warped and broke apart downstairs were hollows that were cut way back thin.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 12:34AM
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brickeyee

Us the correct screws int the core and it will be fine.

Two inches plus should do it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 9:21AM
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snookums2

Thank you. Looks like they made a good decision there on the cut afterall. They do have experience.

Maybe BS from the manufacturer for custom size orders?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 4:24PM
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brickeyee

I chopped up one of the home dept solid doors that asS damaged on one edge.

It contained a lot of voids.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 5:16PM
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HandyMac

The strength of a composite(to include hollow core doors) door comes from the combination of wood frame, core material and the most important part---the skin or surface of the door.

A hollow core door frame work looks very much the same as a frame for a solid core door. The woods used are different as a rule. Softer woods can be used in hollow core doors while more dense woods are used for solid core models due to better holding power for screws.

Cutting too much off either side reduces the amount of wood available for screws to use for holding power.

Actually, when narrowing any door, taking all the material off the latch side is better since that leaves the all thickness of the frame on the hinge side.

If the door is predrilled for the latch parts, the material cannot be removed from that side because doing so alters the amount of material for the latch section to be installed. That means all the narrowing has to be done on the hinge side---which reduces the screw material.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:57PM
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