I am installing a prehung door that fits well in the frame, but after shimming in the hinge side of the door (with no shims in the top or latch side of the door), when the door was closed, there was a large (3/16"?) gap at the top hinge between the frame and the door, and the door would not fit inside the frame opposite the top hinge. I am using a laser, and the left side of the frame was almost perfectly plumb.

I loosened the screws in the shims and the gap at the hinge is almost gone, and now the door can just barely fit inside the frame. (You can see in the picture below that it is very tight at the top-right corner.)

Please help me understand what is going on here. I imagine it would take considerable force to create a gap at the hinge, but I was very careful to keep the frame plumb. Is it possible that the rough-in is so far off of square that it is twisting the frame somehow?

P.S.: I bought a combo square to check how square the framing of the rough-in is, and it looks like some parts of the rough-in have ~3/16" gap from the square on one side, so I probably need to compensate for that.

P.P.S.: I took the door/frame completely out, and it looks like the top piece of the frame is too short. It rubs hard when opening and closing. I must not have noticed the rub before I started the install. I slipped a drywall shim between the top and side of the frame and replaced the screws in the frame and at least now it opens/closes correctly before trying to install it.

door with laser showing that left side of frame is plumb

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Prehung Door Help
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 26 at 3:52
  • @Jack - we are now closing to two sentence tidbits with one upvote? Just asking.
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 26 at 6:20
  • @DMoore , I do believe the question is a duplicate. The OP is asking how to hang a door in essence. Hanging a door is an orchestrated chain of events. Upon voting to close, after I made the comment, it appears as the second comment was site generated, for I did not do that one myself. I guess I should have deleted the first one.
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 26 at 14:17
  • @Jack - your answer was fine on the other one but I looked at both the answers and it would not really help this guy. Sometimes to get readers/viewers to the right question and answer it is a simple picture and a simple answer. This guy framed it too tight on an already tight door jamb. I appreciated your insight on your answer and might have picked up a thing or two but it was not beginner level.
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 26 at 17:28
  • Is your floor level? are the perpendicular walls vertical? if your house is already crooked that laser is not going to help you much.
    – Jasen
    Commented Apr 27 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


You shimmed your door too tight. You didn't do anything "wrong" other than not understand that doors do not snugly barely fit in door frames. That opening barely fits your door (which is good in my opinion for interior doors) and you have it shimmed out quite a bit.

Reduce all of the shims on the hinge side first of all to give your door a little breathing room. Yes I understand sometimes shimming slightly is hard. You might need cardboard or wood scraps or rubber.

  • I edited the original post to be more clear, but I still haven't put any shims or screws in the top or latch side of the door, so I don't think I could have shimmed the door too "tight". It was only shimmed on the hinge side. Commented Apr 29 at 22:14
  • About shimming with something other than graded wood shims, I do have drywall shims and some leftover EPDM roofing membrane that I can use. Commented Apr 29 at 23:05
  • I can tell just eyeballing your picture that the top and the bottom are way too tight - I am looking at the right side of your door. The hinge side is rather fixed based on how the hinge is set (which for prehung is rather fixed). You can tell there is a little bit of a gap in the middle of the door. Whatever you have there is the absolute minimum. What is funny is I noticed all of that and then I looked at your shims. Well you have the top and bottom double shimmed and one in the middle.
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 30 at 3:27
  • Also I don't focus on "plumb" unless I feel the wall is really out of whack. You keep your prehung door in the frame as you did and you shim it until it opens freely and very easily. The only thing I do a quick check on is the framing of the handle side (right) side of the door. If that 2x4 isn't at 90 then I might do that side first (if it is 90 or close I don't even touch it and throw in shims after install if I need to),
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 30 at 3:34

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