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I hired a contractor to install 2 prehung fiberglass exterior doors in my home and I'm not sure if he measured incorrectly, but both doors have at least 1-1.25" of gap space on the sides between the frame & studs. Both doors also sit about 3/4" inch back, so the hinges are merely screwed into the door frame and won't even reach the stud without about 3" of length and some angling. The door jamb also sits a 1/2" behind the drywall, causing the molding to not lie flush with the door. One door is 30" with a 34" rough opening and the other is 36" with a 40" r.o.

I have 3 questions:

  1. Are both doors too small for my entryway?
  2. Does this pose some security risks of being easily kicked in?
  3. How can this be remedied? Order larger doors, add fillers between the gaps?
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    In my part of the world you can ask the police to come and provide free advice on home security. I'd ask them if they consider the door adequately secure. But really you should check what, if anything, you have as a written agreement concerning the work and tell the contractor to remove the door as "unfit for purpose" and replace it with one to your satisfaction. Take photos and investigate small-claims court procedures in your area. I assume you already tried to resolve this amicably without success. – RedGrittyBrick Feb 5 '16 at 11:07
  • Thanks for your response. I have taken all necessary pictures and have installation info. from the door manufacturer just in case, I need to pursue this in small claims court. I had 2 other contractors inspect the doors and they both agreed the doors were too small and the r.o was mismeasured. I will be presenting this to the contractor to discuss the next step. – Sam smith Feb 8 '16 at 4:22
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With those rough opening sizes, I would have stepped up the door sizes a bit, 32" in a 34" r.o., and 38" in a 40" r.o. You need some space to plumb and level, but 4" is overkill. I tend to install the door as close as possible on the hinge side to the framing (shimming it out for plumb and possibly raising it a bit to keep the top level). I also use a few 3" screws through the hinges to reduce sagging, which also improves security. On the latch side, I shim behind the strike plate and dead bolt opening, and use 3" screws over there directly to the framing. Any door that doesn't have long screws into the framing is a higher risk for being kicked in, but that's honestly a majority of doors out there these days, security seems to be an upgrade.

For the jamb depth, if you can't find a door with the correct depth for your home, sometimes you can get a deeper jamb and cut it back with a table saw. But the easier solution is to get one a little too small and add a piece of filler trim on the inside to make the jamb flush with the drywall and the install the casing over that. I wouldn't even try to line that filler up perfectly to hide the seam, instead give it a 1/16-1/8" reveal and do the same with the casing on top of the filler. The multiple reveals will give it some depth and decent look where trying to conceal the seam is likely to result in an ugly gap appearing several months later.

  • Thank you for your detailed response. It looks like I will be hiring another contractor to correct the job as the previous contractor has refused to correct his poor workmanship. I learned an expensive lesson. – Sam smith Feb 8 '16 at 4:20

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