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Interior and exterior doors are key elements in every home. Although a door frame isn't often the first thing that pop into many homeowners' minds when they're considering home improvement tasks, these structural elements are essential for security and the overall integrity of the door. However, door frames aren't immune to damage or problems such as sagging, sticking and swelling. See the common solutions as well the cost of all door frame issues below. As always, if you need help with your door frame repair, contact a local window and door contractor near you.
Table of Contents
- Door Frame Repair Costs
- Interior Vs. Exterior Door Frames
- Door Frame Types
- Common Issues With Door Frames
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- How To Fix A Door Frame
- How To Install A Door Frame
- Find A Pro
Door Frame Repair Costs
The cost of repairing a door frame depends on the type and location of the door. For example, exterior door frame repairs cost an average of $159, while interior doors typically average $144. French door frame repairs average $165, and sliding door frame repairs average $151.
Most homeowners spend between $247 and $403 to install door frames. The average cost includes:
- Basic door frame: $45 to $68
- Labor for about three hours of professional work and cleanup: $182 to $310
- Other materials, such as shims, insulation and caulking: $20 to $25
Interior Vs. Exterior Door Frames
Interior and exterior doors are constructed differently, which translates to subtle but important framing differences. For example, exterior doors have a threshold that measures a minimum of 1 inch high, which has to be installed flush to the top of the home's finished floor, which affects the frame's opening. Other notable differences include:
- Size: Exterior doors typically measure 36 inches wide, while interior doors average widths of 30 inches.
- Weatherproofing: Interior doors don't require a heavy-duty frame. Exterior doors are made of heavy, weather-resistant materials that require a sturdy frame that's equally weather-resistant.
- Security: The frame is ground zero for the security of an exterior door. Anything too flimsy can be easily broken. Additionally, locks and deadbolts extend into the exterior door frame, which necessitates strength for optimal safety.
Door Frame Types
Basic door frames have two door jambs that run vertically and parallel to each other on the sides, a crosspiece at the top and a sill at the bottom. The size and shape of the frame can be customized to the opening and the door, but rectangular frames offer the strongest construction. Additionally, homeowners can choose from several different types of frames, including:
- Wood: The most common door frame material in residential construction. It provides a classic look whether it's stained or painted.
- Composite: These door frames offer the look of wood without the tendency to splinter and crack.
- Metal: Aluminum and steel are more common in office buildings, commercial spaces and utility areas than in residential construction.
Common Issues With Door Frames
Like every other component in a home, door frames aren't immune to problems. Common door frame issues include:
- Sticking: Humidity and fluctuations in temperature can cause difficulties opening and closing a door. This may be caused by a problem with the door, the frame or both.
- Split Door Jambs: Broken door jambs are usually the result of kicking in a door. This can also happen while moving furniture or if pets chew on the wood.
- Sagging: If a door looks like it is sagging under its own weight, the door frame is likely the culprit. In addition to giving your home an unattractive appearance, sagging can also interfere with the door's swinging action.
- Drafts: Frames installed unevenly create gaps where air can freely come into the home. This becomes particularly problematic during winter and cool weather, when drafts can significantly increase heating bills.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
With time and basic carpentry skills, this is a feasible DIY project. Homeowners who don't have experience doing this type of work should consider hiring a professional. Fixing, replacing or installing a door or its frame incorrectly could end up costing additional money, time, frustration and peace of mind.
How To Fix A Door Frame
In many instances, common issues require simple door repairs, which cost less than replacing the frame and/or the door. Here are a few examples of common fixable problems:
- Fix A Sticking Door Frame: Sand the door frame and the edges of the door in the area where it sticks. Apply one or two coats of varnish to seal the materials and prevent humidity from causing swelling in the future.
- Fix Split Door Jambs: Remove split pieces from the jamb and glue them back on with carpenter's glue. Place a block of scrap wood over the area and tap the glued pieces into the door jamb with a hammer. Allow the glue to dry before sanding the area, applying auto body filler over the repair, letting it harden and sanding it smooth.
- Fix Sagging Frames: Sand the upper portion of the door for a temporary fix. For a more permanent repair, swap the screws in the upper hinge leaf of the door jamb with 3-inch decking screws.
- Fix Drafts: Replacing the door and frame is one option, but homeowners can also install simple weather stripping to block the draft-causing drafts.
How To Install A Door Frame
Preparation is the key to a smooth installation process. Additionally, allot plenty of time for this project because it does typically require a substantial amount of time to complete correctly. Whether you buy a door-and-frame combination or a slab door with a separate frame, the basic installation process remains the same.
Step 1: Check & Inspect
Checking the door's opening and the floor for plumb and level is essential before starting this project. This alerts you to where shims are needed to properly install the frame. Otherwise, you won't know until the frame is already installed incorrectly.
Step 2: Add Shims
Use shims to plumb the sides and base of the door frame as needed before hanging the top of the frame and making sure it's plumb. Measure the sides to double check if extra shims are needed and to verify that the shim placement is correct.
Step 3: Install the Frame
With all the shims in place, fit the door frame into the opening. It should slide into place neatly. Check for plumb and level, using wooden shims to adjust the frame as necessary.
Step 4: Permanently Mount the Frame
Attach the door frame into place using finish nails through the casing and the shims and into the wall. Fill gaps between the wall and the frame with shims and nail the frame in place.
Find A Pro
Unless you have experience with this type of work, repairing, replacing or installing a door frame could be a frustrating, time-consuming project. Framing a door requires the opening and the frame to be plumb, level and square. Let a professional save you time and hassle by submitting a free lead on our website to connect with local door and window professionals today.
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Last updated on Jul 31, 2018