I am replacing a door with a pre-hung door including the jamb. The old door was 29 11/16" wide. The new pre-hung door is 28". Is this too big of a gap? Should I make it plumb on one side and make up the difference on the other side? Other threads suggest making up space on the handle side, but this is more space than than what other people were asking about. The trim is 2 1/2" so the gap would be covered.
I assume you have a two piece split jamb pre-hung door. It's expected that these will be smaller than the rough opening, you need room to make the door plumb and level. Here's the install steps off the top of my head and my own personal best practice:
- Check your width of the rough opening to ensure the trim will cover any gaps left, this is the main concern with the width. If the gap is over an inch, you can add a plywood filler strip to the side opposite of the hinges. A 3/4" to 1" gap is useful for adjusting plumb.
- Check the plumb of the rough opening to determine if the door needs to sit on one side or another, and if it needs to be pulled out from the top. The first priority is to roughly identify where the top hinge needs to be to allow the rest of the door to remain plumb and level.
- Separate the two parts of the door (along the split jamb) and set aside the half without the door attached.
- Place the door in the rough opening, add shims to the top to make it level, and screw the top of the door into the header with trim head screws through the shims.
- Check the hinge side of the jamb for plumb in both directions (side to side and in/out) with a long level or a plumb bob, add shims near the hinges where necessary (often installers will try to get the hinge side as tight to the rough framing as possible) and screw the jamb through the shims into the jack stud. You'll want a few screws near the top hinge for stability. Work from the top to the bottom of the hinge side of the door, double checking for plumb as you go.
- Close the door, add shims until the gap between the door and jamb is even. You can double check for level, but the priority on this side is a consistent gap. You want to door to strike the stop at the same time on the top, middle, and bottom. Screw the jamb through the shims into the jack stud from top to bottom, double checking the gap between the door and jamb/stop as you go.
- Cut off any shims that protrude past the finished wall surface.
- Insert the second half of the split jamb. Finish nail through the stop to hold it in place, add a few trim head screws where your shims were located. This piece carries no load, so you don't need much.
- Finish nail through the trim on both sides of the door to hold it tight to the wall surface.
- Spackle, caulk, and paint.
- Install door knob, strike plate, and any other hardware.