How to install exterior door jambs

Written by mark morris
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How to install exterior door jambs
Pre-hung exterior door jambs can easily be hung by novices. (door number 2 image by green 308 from

Exterior door jambs are the single most important factor in the security of your outside doors. In modern construction, door jambs are typically installed as a single unit known as a pre-hung door. Door jamb frames have four principal components. The foundation of the jamb is the lower plate known as the threshold. The top horizontal piece is known as the jamb header. The two are connected by the two outside vertical uprights known as jambs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pre-hung door
  • Shims
  • 16 penny and finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Treated deck screws
  • Drill

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  1. 1

    Set your pre-hung door and jamb into the opening with the brick mould trim to the outside. Center the door in the opening. Wedge shims between the wall frame header and the top side of the horizontal jamb header. Nail up through the header and shims into the frame above the door.

  2. 2

    Set a level on the front edge of the hinge-side jamb. Move the threshold in or out to adjust the bubble until it lines up in the centre of the indicator. Wedge shims behind the centre of the jamb-side hinge against the stud. Set the level on the front edge of the knob side jamb. Adjust the jamb until the bubble lines up in the centre of the indicator.

  3. 3

    Open the door and drive a screw through the screw holes in the threshold. Drive one screw into the hole in each corner of the threshold. Drive one nail through the centre of each jamb and shims into the studs behind the jambs.

  4. 4

    Install the door knob. Install the striker through the hole bored through the edge of the door. Attach the plate to the edge of the door with the two screws provided for the purpose. Install the knob by inserting the two halves of the knob through the striker. Thread the screws through the striker and tighten them with a screwdriver. Do not over tighten.

  5. 5

    Place the striker plate in the mortise on the jamb. Attach with the two provided screws. Test the door for proper operation. Tilt the hinge-side jamb to make any needed adjustments. Wedge shims behind the jamb on either side at the top and bottom and nail the jamb firmly to the studs of the wall frame.

  6. 6

    Install the deadbolt. Insert the lock bolt through the edge of the door and attach it to the door edge with the two provided screws. Insert the two halves of the deadbolt through the lock bolt. Thread the screws through the lock bolt and tighten with a screwdriver. Set the bolt plate in place in the jamb and attach with the two provided screws.

  7. 7

    Nail the brick mould to the front of the wall frame with 2-inch finish nails. Install the door casing on the inside of the door frame. Nail the casing to the inside edge of the jamb with finish nails.

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