Prehung vs Slab Door | Everything You Need to Know Before Buying

by Team MD


The choice between prehung vs slab door models can be tricky, especially if you do not know the differences between these two alternatives. As a novice, you might not know the features and the intended use of these types of doors, which is why you need to do a little bit of research before you decide what product to invest in. If you want to make an informed decision, this article is packed with all the info that you need.


Prehung doors

A prehung door is a door that comes provided with a frame and hinges. Most prehung models include a number of other features such as a door slab, a pre cut hole for the doorknob, the frame, and mortises that are cut into the door.

However, there are also a couple of features that are not usually included in the price and that you have to acquire separately, such as a doorknob, shims, the fasteners that you need to actually attach the door to the doorway of your home, and metal strike plates. 


Pros and cons

Prehung doors are usually perfect to invest in if you need a model that you can use to add to a new home or construction. While it is not that difficult to construct a new frame, the fact that this option comes provided with one can save you quite a bit of time and effort. Therefore, once you get your door shipped, you can go ahead and install it. 

Another advantage of a choice of this sort is the fact that the door comes with pre-attached hinges. You will also not need to cut any mortises or to manufacture the frame separately. Prehung doors are usually utilized for exteriors doors, or when replacing a door that has its frame damaged. 

As expected, there are a couple of drawbacks that you might run into when utilizing such a model. To start, it is worth noting that these units are rather heavy and thus challenging to transport and manage, especially if you have a rather small car. 

Also, if you fail to measure the door correctly, you risk ending up with a product that does not fit properly.  When installing the door, you have to pay extra attention to how you position it so that, at the end of the day, you can open and close it correctly. Because of the weight of this choice, there is a risk that, if you are inexperienced, you might not be able to do this.

Finally, it should also be added that, in some cases, during shipping or transportation, the door might get damaged and bent within the frame. So, proceed with caution. If the door is shipped in pieces, you might have to do some pre-assembling before you start installing it in place. 


When to get a prehung door

Prehung doors are a good investment for a new construction or when you are remodeling the exterior part of your home. They are also practical when used to replace a door that has some existing frame damage. If the frame of your old door is damaged, you should not reuse it as, in time, it will continue to waste, and its integrity will be compromised. 


Installing a prehung door

As expected, installing a prehung door is rather challenging. Even though this might feel like a simple project that you can undertake without help, in most cases, this is not the case. As we have pointed out before, if you fail to align the frame correctly, you risk ending up with a door that cannot be operated correctly.

However, this does not mean that DIY enthusiasts cannot do this without the help of a carpenter. If you apply yourself to the task and you follow the instructions made available by professionals, you will be able to enjoy the expected results. However, the entire process can prove somewhat tricky and time-consuming, and, thus, if you are short on time, this might not be the right option for you. 


Slab doors

By comparison, a slab door is the stripped-down version of a prehung model as it does not come provided with a frame and the needed hinges. Therefore, the buyer has to attach the door to the already existing frame, or to also buy a brand-new frame and to make use of the old hinges. 


Pros and cons

One of the biggest advantages of slab doors is that they are more accessible. Apart from this, these models have a much more flexible design when it comes to their size, design, and look, and they can be installed with more ease given their weight. If you are on a strict budget, and you already have a frame, a slab door might be the right choice for you.

Even though these doors require you to make or use an older frame, and this process can be time-consuming, one advantage is that they provide you with more freedom when it comes to the design that you select.

Plus, given that you will install your newly slab door indoors, you won’t have to worry about whether or not the unit is waterproof and perfectly sealed. 

One issue with these doors is that they require extensive carpentry. Differently from prehung doors, to install a slab option you have to have to order a door that has the perfect size and configuration as the door that you are replacing. If this is not the case, you might need to cut or do alterations to the door in order for it to fit the already existing frame. 

Another impediment that you should keep in mind is that these doors do not come with the mortise pre-cut. So, you’ll need to figure out how you can correctly cut them in the comfort of your home. This also means that you will most likely need to purchase some extra tools. This is not true for all the models that you can find on the market. 


When to get a slab door

Slab doors are practical to be used as interior doors when you are replacing the same size slab. They are only suitable if the frame of the old door is in decent condition. Besides, they are a good purchase for those who are on a tight budget and who value versatility.


Installing a slab door

Although slab doors might seem easier to install than prehung units, this is not the case. While it is true that you won’t have to waste a lot of time trying to figure out how the frame has to be installed, there are other difficulties that have to be taken into account.

For instance, you have to make sure that you order a door that has the same perfect size as the one that you are trying to replace and you have to ensure that the hinges that you are utilizing are perfectly aligned. 

If the frame of your door leans slightly in one direction, as it is often the case, you should hire a professional for the task. 


Common DIY issues with door installations

DIY projects are a good way to save money when renovating, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, there are some tasks that you should leave to professionals. 

If you decide to install a door by yourself, there are a couple of issues that you might run into. For instance, uneven framing can cause the door to stop closing as expected. In some cases, this might actually lead to the door not closing at all. When this happens, you have to take the door out and install it again.

Besides, if you cut the trim incorrectly, the door won’t close or operate as expected. This is why, if you notice that your door needs to be trimmed, you should have it cut to the desired measurements by a professional. Usually, the costs of doing so are rather small.

If you fail to correctly level the door and the frame from the start, another issue that you might have is that the latch and the hole won’t match. As you can imagine, this problem is rather serious and it requires the re-drilling of the holes. At the end of the day, such a mistake can entirely ruin the aesthetics of your door. 

In most cases, hiring a seasoned carpenter for the job of installing a door might be the best choice. This way, you can spare yourself the burden of having to waste your time reading countless DIY guides and having to deal with unexpected issues. 

On top of that, it is worth noting that hiring a pro is not very costly. Plus, you won’t be left with doors that are badly balanced or that do not swing evenly. If this sounds like a good solution for your problems, go online, and look for exact fees. You can also contact a local business that specializes in such installations to ask for an estimate for a door installation. 


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