Nothing welcomes guests or potential buyers to your home like a new, stylish door. In fact, replacing a door is a simple way to add home value and is oftentimes more affordable, and quicker to complete, than other home renovation projects. And it’s not just exterior doors that make an impact. Stylish, properly functioning interior doors can make visitors feel more welcome and provide family privacy.
Before hiring an installer, it’s important to understand the different options you’ll have for your new door. One of the first choices to consider is the installation of a pre-hung vs. slab door. In this article we’ll explore the ins-and-outs of pre-hung doors.
When is it Time For a Door Replacement?
You might not think twice about the condition of your doors until they start to stick, have difficulties closing, or have malfunctioning locks. Conducting occasional inspections can help you address door damage before it becomes a headache or a surprise expense.
To determine if you need a door replacement look for:
- Rust, dents or large scratches
- Signs of rot
- Flaking, peeling, or fading
- Cracks along the edges
- Softening wood
- Outside air or light entering the home and/or worn down weather strips
- Moisture stuck inside glass panes (if featured)
A door replacement is also an effective way to add more curb appeal and bring your family peace of mind about damage. While exterior doors exposed to the outside elements typically face more intense wear and tear, it’s still important to inspect interior doors. You might be surprised the toll everyday use can take on them over time!
Sometimes a quick DIY fix, like fresh paint or new weather stripping, is all a door needs to be brought back to life. Doors or frames that have extensive damage will likely require a replacement, and though the DIY route is still possible, most homeowners opt to hire a professional.
What is a Pre-Hung Door?
A pre-hung door is a ready-to-go door sold by a manufacturer that is already hung in the frame, has installed hinges, and is pre-cut for a doorknob and strike plate. They’re a top choice for projects where a door frame has not yet been built, where a damaged door frame was removed, and for exterior doors, since they come weathertight from the factory.
How to Install a Pre-Hung Door
Like some other home renovation projects, it’s entirely possible to install a pre-hung door on your own. The inclusion of hinges, hardware, and a frame certainly makes it a more feasible project for the DIY homeowner. But it will still require some basic carpentry skills, the proper tools, and the ability to troubleshoot any problems that might arise during installation. When considering an exterior door replacement, a non-professional installation can result in less protection from the elements and intruders, or increase the likelihood of future, necessary repairs.
Pre-Hung vs. Slab Doors
There are two basic choices when it comes to choosing a type of door for your door replacement – pre-hung or slab. If the area in which you want to install the door does not have an existing door frame, you may want to go with a pre-hung door. Pre-hung doors are also a good choice for exterior doors since they are weather-tight. Take a look at the key differences between pre-hung and slab doors:
Pre-Hung Door Features
Slab Door Features
|Frame, hinges, hardware included||Frame, hinges, hardware not included|
|Pre-cut door knob hole||Door knob requires cutting|
|Weather insulated||Requires weather sealing|
|Wood doors are already finished||Needs to be sanded, painted, or stained|
|Can be difficult to position during installation||Easier to hold and install|
|Heavy; frame can be flimsy||Easier to transport, more sturdy|
|More expensive||Less expensive, but requires additional materials|
|Preferred for a new home or room, or if dealing with damaged door frame/area||Preferred when replacing existing door with no frame damage|
Where are Pre-Hung Doors Typically Used?
Your choice between a pre-hung door vs. a slab door largely depends on the area of the home in which you need the door replacement. Here are some areas where pre-hung doors are commonly installed:
Because pre-hung doors come weather-insulated directly from the factory, they are the most common type of exterior door. Opting for a pre-hung exterior door can save you money on your utility bill, provide better home insulation, and keep the elements out of your home.
When building a home addition—such as a new bedroom, office, or bathroom—pre-hung doors are a common option as they come from the factory with a door frame and hinges. This allows for easier installation and is considered much more convenient in areas where there is no existing door frame.
When it comes to inside the home, you’re more likely to have pre-hung interior doors at the entries to larger rooms, like bedrooms or home offices. While pre-hung doors are available for any room requiring a frame and hinges, most homeowners opt for slab or other styles doors (barn, accordion, etc.) for closets, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Ultimately, the choice for a type of interior door is up to your design preference and budget.
Pros and Cons of Pre-Hung Doors
|Easy installation for new construction homes
Since pre-hung doors are essentially ready-to-install from the factory, they are a great choice for new constructions or home add-ons that do not require the building and installation of a door frame.
|Weight and size
Pre-hung doors typically weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, with some exterior doors being even heavier. Not only does that make them difficult to transport, they can also be strenuous to set and install because of it—potentially resulting in a door that doesn’t close properly.
|Quick installation for extensive repairs
When an existing door frame is irreparable, constructing a new frame and hanging a slab door can create extra headaches. A pre-hung door’s all-in-one feature allows you to finish your project in a more timely manner—often in as little as two hours for professionals.
Once installed, pre-hung doors have excellent frames that are built to last, but prior to installation it’s common that these frames will be flimsy or unstable. Without proper care, a frame can become damaged in transport or during installation—another great reason to hire a professional.
|Superior weather protection
There is nothing worse than an exterior door that lets in outside air or spills unwanted light into your home. Weather-sealing a door can be difficult for the average DIY carpenter, but it’s something you will not have to worry about with pre-hung doors that come weather-tight straight from the factory. This makes them the preferred choice for exterior doors.
Since pre-hung doors include a frame, hinges, hardware, weather-stripping, and are pre-cut for knobs, they tend to be more costly than slab doors. However, the cost of slab doors can be somewhat deceiving at first glance since you’ll need to purchase other supplies and hardware that are already included with a pre-hung option.
Pre-Hung Door Types and Materials
When it comes to pre-hung doors, standard swing doors and French doors will be the primary options available. Other doors typically have a different build—such as sliding doors — that often include frames or storm doors that are installed as a second layer to an existing door.
You will have plenty of options available when selecting a pre-hung door material. While most interior doors are made of wood, exterior doors can also be purchased in fiberglass, metal, or vinyl. You can also choose from a variety of colors and designs, such as featuring sidelights, when picking out an ideal pre-hung door for your home.
Standard Pre-Hung Door Sizes
Whether pre-hung or slab, doors can come in a variety of pre-made sizes. Here’s a quick look at some common pre-hung door sizes:
|Type||Standard Height||Standard Width||Standard Thickness||Other Common Sizes|
|Interior||80”||36”||1 ⅜” or 1 ¾”||Width can also be: 24”, 28”, 30”, 32”, 36”|
|Exterior||80”||36”||1 ¾”||60”H x 96”W, 72”H x 96”W, 96”H x 96”W|
While these are the standard sizes you will find that for both interior and exterior doors, homeowners can have custom doors made to fit nearly any need or purpose. Keep in mind that ADA requirements call for doors to be at least 36” in width to allow for proper accessibility when using a wheelchair or walker.
Pre-Hung Door Costs
Pre-hung doors come with a built-in door frame and hinges for a seamless installation process
Quick, easy installation
Good for exterior door replacements
The cost of a pre-hung door averages nationally between $100–$500, with labor averaging anywhere from $150–$500. This means that for typically less than $1,000, you can complete a pre-hung door installation project.
However, costs can vary greatly based on factors such as:
- Your location
- The type of door you select (with some custom doors costing in excess of $5,000)
- Whether the door is solid or hollow
- If the installation is part of a new construction or existing home renovation that requires the removal and disposal of existing features
Finding a Pre-Hung Door Installer
Once you understand your needs, build a budget, and feel ready to start your pre-hung door replacement project, your next step is to explore door installers in your area. Chances are, you will have many different contractors to choose from, so knowing how to narrow down your options will be very helpful.
The pros at Modernize are here to help you connect with reliable, local door installers. This way, you can be confident that you are finding trustworthy, high-quality contractors who you can establish a strong working relationship with, and who you can trust to install the perfect pre-hung doors for your home.