This chapter covers the rough framing and finish carpentry for doors
and windows. Before putting
the exterior covering on the outside walls of a building, prepare the
door and window openings for
Before the exterior covering is put on the outside walls, the door openings
are prepared for the frames. Square off uneven pieces of sheathing and
wrap heavy building paper around the sides and top of the door opening.
Since the sill must be worked into a portion of the rough flooring, no
paper is put on the floor. Position the paper at a point even with the
inside portion of the stud to a point about 6 inches on the sheathed walls,
and tack it down with small nails.
NOTE: Rough openings are usually made
2 1/2 inches larger each way than the size of the door to be hung. (For
example, a 2-foot 8-inch by 6-foot 8-inch door would need a rough opening
of 2 feet 10 1/2 space allows for the jambs, the wedging, and the clearance
space for the door to swing.
TYPES OF DOORS
Doors, both exterior and interior, are classified as job-built or mill-built.
This classification is further broken down as batten, panel, and flush
doors (Figure 8-1).
NOTE: No hinged
should open or
swing against a
hallways, or be
The batten door is the most commonly used and most easily
constructed type of job-built door. It can be constructed in several ways,
· Using diagonal boards nailed together in two layers, at right
angles to each other. This type of door is often used as the core for
metal-sheathed fire doors.
· Using vertical boards that are tongue-and-grooved or shiplapped.
The door is held rigid by two to four cross pieces, called ledgers, which
may or may not be diagonally braced. If two additional pieces forming
the sides of the door and corresponding to the ledgers are used, these
are called frames.
In hasty construction (on-site prefabrication), the carpenter makes
a batten door from several 2 x 6 boards with ledgers and braces, as follows:
· Nail the ledgers with their edges 6 inches from the ends of
the door boards.
· Place a diagonal board between the ledgers. It begins at the
top-ledger end, opposite the hinge side of the door, and runs to the lower
ledger, diagonally across the door. On an outside door, use roofing felt
on the weather side to cover the boards.
· Nail wooden laths around the edges and across the middle of
the door to hold the roofing felt in place.
NOTE: When these doors are hung, 1/4 inch
of clearance should be left around the door to allow for expansion.
· Fasten T-strap hinges to the door ledgers and the hinge blocks
on the door casing or post.
The usual exterior door is the panel type (Figure 8-2). It consists
of stiles, rails, and filler panels. Two frequently used interior doors
are the flush and the panel types (Figure 8-2).
Panel Doors. Panel doors consist of vertical
members called stiles and horizontal members
called rails. Stiles and rails form the
framework into which panels are inserted.
Additional vertical and horizontal members
called muntins are used to divide the door into
any number of panels. Panels may be solid
wood, plywood, particleboard or louvered or
have glass inserts.
Flush Doors. Flush doors have flat surfaces
on both sides and consist of a wood frame with
thin sheets of material (plywood veneer,
plastic laminates, hardboard, or metal)
applied to both faces. Flush doors have either
a solid or hollow core.
· Solid-core doors have a solid particle board
or woodblock core which is covered with
layers of veneer. They are usually used as
exterior doors. Solid-core doors provide
better sound insulation and have less
tendency to warp.
· Hollow-core doors have a lightweight core
made of various materials that are covered
with layers of veneer. They are usually
used as interior doors and are less
expensive to produce.
Specialty doors include double doors, sliding doors, and folding doors.
Door frames are made of the following parts:
the head casing, the jambs (head and two
sides), and the sill (on exterior doors only).
(The principal parts of a door frame are shown
in Figure 8-3.) Doors and frames may be
fabricated in the shop and installed
separately; they may also be Remanufactured
(prehung), purchased ready for installation.
Door-frame layout calculations begin with the
size of the door (height, width, and thickness),
as given on the door schedule. Construction
information for door frames is usually given in
detail drawings like those shown in Figure 8-
4. In the type of frame shown in Figure 8-4,
the door jambs (linings of the framing of door
opening are rabbeted to depths of 1/2 inch.
The rabbet prevents the door from swinging
through the frames. A strip of wood may be
used instead a rabbet. The door stop also
serves to weather proof the door. Most project
drawings call for rabbeted exterior door jambs.
Exterior Door Frames
Exterior door frames are made up of two side jambs, a head jamb, a sill,
and a stop. They are constructed in several ways. In hasty construction
(on-site prefabrication), the frames will be as shown in Figure 8-5. This
type requires no frame construction because the
studs on each side of the opening act as a frame.
Studs are normally placed 16 inches apart on center.
Extra studs are added at the sides of door and window
openings. Headers are usually used at the top and
bottom of such openings.
The siding is applied to the outside wall before exterior
doors are hung. The casing is then nailed to the sides of the
opening. It is set back the width of the stud. A 3/4- x 3/4-
inch piece is nailed over the door but set back the width of
the stud; it supports the drip cap. Hinge blocks are nailed to
the casing where the hinges are to be placed. The door
frame is now ready for the door to be hung.
On an outside door, the outside casings and the sill are
considered parts of the door frame. A prefabricated outside
door frame—delivered to the site assembled—looks like the
righthand view of Figure 8-3, page 8-3. It usually has the
door installed, and the entire unit slides between studs.
Interior Door Frames
Interior door frames, like outside frames, are constructed in several
ways. In hasty construction (on-site prefabrication), the type shown in
Figure 8-6 is used. Interior door frames are made up of two side jambs,
a head jamb, and stop moldings which the door closes against. Interior
door frames have no sill and no casing, otherwise they are the same as
the exterior frames. Figure 8-6 shows the elevation of a single inside
NOTE: Both outside and inside door frames may be
modified to suit climatic conditions.
Door jambs (Figure 8-7) are the linings of the framing in door openings.
The casing and stops are nailed to the door jambs, and the door is hung
from them. Door openings should allow 1/2 inch between the frame and the
jamb (Figure 8-8, page 8-6) to permit plumbing and leveling of jambs.
Inside jambs are made of 3/4-inch stock; outside jambs are made of 1 3/8-inch
stock. The width of the stock varies with the thickness of the walls.
Inside jambs are built up with 3/8- x 1 3/8-inch stops nailed to the jamb.
Outside jambs are usually rabbeted to receive the door.
Jambs are made and set as follows:
Step 1. Cut the side jambs of an entrance door to the height of the
door, less the depth of the head jamb rabbet (if any), plus the--
· Diagonal thickness of the sill, plus the sill bevel allowance.
· Thickness of the threshold, if any.
· Thickness of the head jamb.
· Height of the side-jamb lugs.
Step 2. Cut the head jamb to the width of the door, less the combined
depths of the side-jamb rabbets (if any), plus the combined depths of
the head-jamb dadoes (grooves).
NOTE: Regardless of how carefully rough openings
are made, be sure to plumb the jambs and level the heads when jambs are
Step 3. Level the floor across the opening to determine any variation
in floor heights at the point where the jambs rest on the floor.
Step 4. Cut the head jamb with both
ends square. Allow the width of the
door plus the depth of both dadoes and
a 3/16-inch door clearance.
Step 5. From the lower edge of the
dado, measure a distance equal to the
height of the door plus the clearance
required under it. Mark it and cut it
square. On the opposite jamb, do the
same. Make additions or subtractions
on this side for floor variations, if any.
Step 6. Nail the side jambs and jamb
heads together with 8d common nails,
through the dado into the head jamb.
Step 7. Set the jambs into the opening. Place small blocks on the subfloor
under each jamb. Blocks should be as thick as the finished floor will
be. This allows room for the finished floor to go under the door.
Step 8. Plumb the jambs and level the jamb head. Wedge the sides with
shingles between the jambs and the studs, to align them. Nail them securely
in place. Take care not to wedge the jamb unevenly. Use a straightedge
5 or 6 feet long inside the jambs to help prevent uneven wedging.
Step 9. Check the jambs and the head carefully. Jambs placed out of
plumb will tend to swing the door open or shut, depending on the direction
in which the jamb is out of plumb.
The hand of a door describes the direction in which a door is to swing
and from which side it is hinged. The hand is determined from the outside
of the door. A standard door has the hinges on the right or left and swings
away from you. A reverse door has the hinges on the right or left and
swings toward you.
Most doors are hung with the loose-pin butt hinge. The pin may be removed
and as a result, the door can be removed without the hinges being unscrewed.
Doors should be hinged so that they open in the direction of the natural
entry, open out in public buildings, and swing against a blank wall whenever
possible and never into a hallway. Exterior doors use three hinges to
reduce warpage caused by the difference in exposure on opposite sides
and to support wider and heavier exterior doors. Interior doors use two
When installing hinges, the gain is the cutout or mortise made to receive
a leaf of the hinge. The depth is determined by the hinge's thickness,
and the width is determined by the hinge's size. Setback is the distance
that the hinge is placed away from the side of the door, usually 3/16
inch. The door closer is a device that closes a door and controls the
speed and closing action of the door. Install the door closer according
to the manufacturer's instructions.
Doors, both mill-built and job-built, are installed in the finished
door frames as described in the following steps (Figure 8-9):
Step 1. Cut off the stile extensions, if any.
Step 2. Plane the edges of the stiles until the door fits tightly against
the hinge side and clears the lock side of the jamb by about 1/16 inch.
Be sure that the top fits squarely to the rabbeted recess and that the
bottom swings free of the finished floor by about 1/2 inch. The lock stile
of the door must be beveled slightly so that the edge of the stile will
not strike the edge of the door jamb.
Step 3. After proper clearances have been made, tack the door in position
in the frame and wedge it at the bottom.
Step 4. Mark hinge positions with a sharp-pointed knife on the stile
and the jamb. Hinge positions on the stile must be placed slightly higher
than the lower door rail and slightly lower than the upper door rail to
avoid cutting out part of the door-rail tenons that are housed in the
stile. Three measurements must be marked:
· The location of the butt on the jamb.
· The location of the butt on the door.
· The thickness of the butt on both the iamb and the door.
Step 5. Door butts (or hinges) (Figure 8-10) are mortised into the door
frames as shown in Figure 8- 11, page 8-8. Use three butt hinges on all
full-length exterior doors to prevent warping and sagging. Place the butts
and mortise them with the utmost accuracy so that the door will open and
close properly, and so that the door, when open, will not strike the casing.
The butt pin must project more than half its thickness from the casing.
Step 6. Using the butt as a pattern, mark the butt dimension on the
door edge and face of the jamb.
Step 7. Cut the marked areas, called gains, on the door jambs and door
to fit the butts. Use a 1- inch chisel and mallet.
Step 8. Test the gains. The butts must fit snugly and exactly flush
with the edge of the door and the face of the jamb.
Step 9. Screw half of each of the butt joints on the door and the other
three parts on the jamb. Place the butts so that the pins are inserted
from the top when the door is hung.
Step 10. Set the door against the frame so that the two halves of the
top butt engage. Insert the top pin. Engage and insert pins in the bottom
and center butts.
When fitting doors, the stops are usually nailed in place temporarily
until the door has been hung. Stops for doors in single-piece jambs are
generally 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide. They are installed with a
butt joint at the junction of the side and head jambs. A 45° bevel
cut at the bottom of the stop, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the finish
floor, will eliminate a dirt pocket and make cleaning or refinishing the
Finish Door Trim
Door trim is nailed onto the jambs to provide a finish between the jambs
and the wall to cover wedging and spaces between the frame and studs.
This trim is called casing. Sizes vary from 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and
from 2 1/2 to 6 inches wide. Most trim has a concave back to fit over
uneven plaster. The casing layout depends on the way the side and head
casings are to be joined at the corners. The casings are usually set back
about 1/4 inch from the faces of the jambs. Care must be taken to make
miter joints fit properly. If trim is to be mitered at the top corners,
a miter box, a miter square, a hammer, a nail set, and a block plane will
be needed. (Door trim and stop are shown in Figure 8-12.)
Door openings are cased up as follows:
Step 1. Leave a margin of 1/4 inch from
the edge of the jamb to the casing, all
around. Cut one (hinge-side first) of the
side casings square and even with the
bottom of the jamb. Cut the top or
mitered end next, allowing a 1/4-inch
margin at the top.
Step 2. Nail the casing onto the jamb,
even with the 1/4-inch margin line.
Start at the top and work toward the
bottom. Use 4d finishing nails along
the jamb side and 6d or 8d case nails
along the outer edge of the casings.
The nails along the outer edge will
need to be long enough to go through
the casing and into the studs. Set all
nailheads about 1/8 inch below the surface of the wood with a nail set.
Step 3. Apply the casing for the other side and then the head casing.
Two types of locks used in TO construction are the cylinder
and tubular locks. Cylinder locks are sturdy, heavy-duty locks designed
for installation in exterior doors. They provide high security. globular
locks are light-duty locks. They are used for interior doors on bathrooms,
bedrooms, passages, and closets. Since door locks differ, use lock-set
installation instructions, or perform the following steps:
Step 1. After placing the hinges in position, mark off the position
of the lock on the lock stile, 36 inches from the floor level.
Step 2. Hold the case of the mortised lock on the face of the lock stile.
With a sharp knife, mark off the area to be removed from the edge of the
stile that is to house the entire case.
Step 3. Mark the position of the door-knob hub and the position of the
Step 4. Mark the position of the strike plate on the jamb.
Step 5. Bore out the wood to house the lock and the strike plate and
mortises. (Figure 8-13, page 8- 10, shows the installation of the lock
and the strike plate.)
Step 6. Clean and install the lock set. The strike plate should be flush
or slightly below the face of the door jamb.
Panic hardware is another type of lock. It is also known as a paretic
bar or fire-exit bolt. It is often installed on the exit doors of public
buildings. Slight pressure on the touch bar will retract the latch bolts
at the top and bottom. Install panic hardware according to the manufacturer's