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  1. #1
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    Question Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    We just had interior "pre-hung" doors installed. The installer attached the jamb, where the hinge is attached, directly to the supporting stud of the opening (they did not center the frame in the opening). With the doors shifted to one side in the opening, this leaves a large gap on the other side between the jamb and the other stud. On one door we can view 5 screws extending into this space of about 3/4 inch. with only one shim on that side of the door. There are also no shims in the gap between the top of the door frame and the horizontal stud. Are there regulations/guidelines about the size of this gap?
    Stability and integrity of the jamb? We live in CALIFORNIA!
    Installing the doors off center, as they did? Having nothing but a few screws passing through the center of the door frame (so it is unstable side to side). Leaving large voids between the door frame and the supporting stud.

    What are our options? What demands can we make on the installers?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    The installer is working for you. You can tell them you don't approve of their handiwork and then you can refuse to pay until you are satisfied.
    If you see 5 screws spanning a gap there should definitely be shims in more than just one place. The door jamb does not necessarily need to be centered in the opening. But the trim should cover the gap evenly all around, and the frame should be absolutely square. That is why we use the shims, to square up the frame and to adjust for differences in the stud wall.
    Check that the door closes snugly at top and bottom when they are done.
    It should also be plumb, so that it doesn't swing open or closed when you let it go.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by ellen grun View Post
    We just had interior "pre-hung" doors installed. The installer attached the jamb, where the hinge is attached, directly to the supporting stud of the opening (they did not center the frame in the opening). With the doors shifted to one side in the opening, this leaves a large gap on the other side between the jamb and the other stud. On one door we can view 5 screws extending into this space of about 3/4 inch. with only one shim on that side of the door. There are also no shims in the gap between the top of the door frame and the horizontal stud. Are there regulations/guidelines about the size of this gap?
    Stability and integrity of the jamb? We live in CALIFORNIA!
    Installing the doors off center, as they did? Having nothing but a few screws passing through the center of the door frame (so it is unstable side to side). Leaving large voids between the door frame and the supporting stud.

    What are our options? What demands can we make on the installers?
    He who has the gold makes the rules! Do not pay until you are happy with the work. Sounds like a framing and a door install problem.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    The installer attached the jamb, where the hinge is attached, directly to the supporting stud of the opening (they did not center the frame in the opening).
    It is not necessary to center the door in the rough opening, in fact more often the hinge side should be closest to the stud.

    With the doors shifted to one side in the opening, this leaves a large gap on the other side between the jamb and the other stud
    <= 7/8" gap is acceptable.

    On one door we can view 5 screws extending into this space of about 3/4 inch. with only one shim on that side of the door.
    One shim is not enough, should be three sets of shims, sometimes more.

    There are also no shims in the gap between the top of the door frame and the horizontal stud.
    Shims above the door are not needed.
    Are there regulations/guidelines about the size of this gap?
    The door manufacture has installation instructions.

    What are our options? What demands can we make on the installers?
    Get a copy of the installation instructions, then tell the installer this is how you want it installed.
    As others have said the doors should be square, but I disagree with John about being plumb. If the wall(s) are not plumb you should not expect the door installer to plumb the door.
    Also Scott mentioned that it may be a framing problem, don't expect someone hired to install a door to also correct for problems with the framing.

    I'm in GA, CA may be a different.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    As others have said the doors should be square, but I disagree with John about being plumb. If the wall(s) are not plumb you should not expect the door installer to plumb the door.
    If the door is not plumb in both directions, relative to the hinge side, then the door will not operate correctly. The door should be hung plumb regardless of the condition of the wall.

    There are two directions the jamb must be plumb. If the hinge side base of the jamb is centered flush against the framing but the top is away from the framing, (assuming the framing is relatively plumb), the top of the door will strike the opposite jam. The door jamb would be out of square. If the jamb is out of plumb relative to both sides of the wall, the bottom edge of the door will dig into the floor or rise into the air depending on which way the door opens relative to the out of plumbness.

    I disagree and say the door should be hung plumb and square.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    I disagree and say the door should be hung plumb and square.
    Bruce, of course the door SHOULD be plumb and square.


    I said
    If the wall(s) are not plumb you should not expect the door installer to plumb the door.

    ...don't expect someone hired to install a door to also correct for problems with the framing.
    Sounds like you are saying that a standard door install (and installer) should be expected to correct framing problems when they install a door.
    Ain't gonna happen.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    As others have said the doors should be square, but I disagree with John about being plumb. If the wall(s) are not plumb you should not expect the door installer to plumb the door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    If the door is not plumb in both directions, relative to the hinge side, then the door will not operate correctly. The door should be hung plumb regardless of the condition of the wall.

    I disagree and say the door should be hung plumb and square.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Bruce, of course the door SHOULD be plumb and square.

    Sounds like you are saying that a standard door install (and installer) should be expected to correct framing problems when they install a door.
    Ain't gonna happen.
    The door installer SHOULD install the door plumb in both directions and in plane with itself REGARDLESS of whether the wall is plumb or not.

    The only reason for the door installer to not install the door plumb and in plane is if they point out that the wall is SO far out of plumb that the door and door casing would look really weird and then the client decides to go with an even look and forgo a plumb door.

    Yes, THE INSTALLER is charged with installing the door plumb and in plane REGARDLESS of the wall ... unless the client says or agrees to the door to be installed otherwise.

    I had this happen many years ago in Gainesville, FL when the county bought a building downtown which was well over 100 years old and the floors and wall were not level or plumb. I had to install over 80 doors so that the doors looked good "closed" (i.e., the bottom of the doors had to align with the angle of the sloping floor) and the doors had to clear the sloping floors and look good with the sloping floors when the doors were open.

    I accomplished this by aligning the bottom of the doors with the floors in the closed position, then intentionally tilting the doors off plumb so the doors would either swing up or down when the doors where opened. All doors had door closers on them so keeping the doors open by gravity was not a problem, the doors just had to LOOK good.

    Combine the above with the fact that the door heights varied from 6'6" to 6'8" (and not a square 6'6"' or 6'8" either), making each and every single door needing to be cut to fit one specific opening, there was no such thing as taking one door and relocating it to a different doorway - the chance of a door fitting someplace else was almost nil.

    I started with 6'8" doors and cut from there.

    A door installer who does not leave the door plumb (unless the client specifies or agrees to otherwise) has no business being a door installer - there are just too many fine adjustments which can be done to a door and the way it is hung to make it fit plumb and in plane to leave a door not plumb and not in plane.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Jerry
    Three points
    1st
    If you noticed I said STANDARD install and installer.
    What you described is far from a standard install.

    2nd
    Prehung doors are made to fit a 4 1/2" thick wall.
    (unless special ordered)
    There is less than an 1/8" +- variation for the wall thickness.
    When the wall is out of plumb (leaning to or from) more than that, the door will fit the wall but will not be plumb.


    3rd
    I know you are retired and do not inspect anymore, and I know that you never had a tradesperson tell your client "Your inspector should have seen that", but your average inspector has. Point is we (HI's) expect our customers to understand that we cannot be expected to know/ find/ catch everything (limitations to the HI), however we (as HI's) expect the highest standard from every tradesperson, even a door installer that is installing a door in a wall that is not plumb, the floor is not level, and the rough opening is out of square, even though the door installer did nothing to the wall, and in all likelyness is only doing what he has been hired to do, by a HO looking for the lowest price but expecting the highest standards. (Longest sentance I've ever wrote)

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Rick,

    Counterpoint to your points:


    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Jerry
    Three points
    1st
    If you noticed I said STANDARD install and installer.
    I understood that, the counterpoint being made is that the STANDARD install and installer SHOULD STILL install the door plumb and in plane.

    What you described is far from a standard install.
    My counterpoint was simply pointing out that IT IS POSSIBLE to NOT install doors plumb and in plane IF THE CLIENT SAYS TO, however, here, the client is not saying to.

    2nd
    Prehung doors are made to fit a 4 1/2" thick wall.
    (unless special ordered)
    Counterpoint is that this has nothing to do with a wall being plumb, whether or not the wall is 1-5/8" studs or 2x12 studs, THE DOOR should be installed plumb and in plane.

    There is less than an 1/8" +- variation for the wall thickness.
    When the wall is out of plumb (leaning to or from) more than that, the door will fit the wall but will not be plumb.
    Counterpoint is that the door CAN BE MADE to be plumb.


    3rd
    I know you are retired and do not inspect anymore, and I know that you never had a tradesperson tell your client "Your inspector should have seen that", but your average inspector has. Point is we (HI's) expect our customers to understand that we cannot be expected to know/ find/ catch everything (limitations to the HI), however we (as HI's) expect the highest standard from every tradesperson, even a door installer that is installing a door in a wall that is not plumb, the floor is not level, and the rough opening is out of square, even though the door installer did nothing to the wall, and in all likelyness is only doing what he has been hired to do, by a HO looking for the lowest price but expecting the highest standards. (Longest sentance I've ever wrote)
    Counterpoint - not enough information was given to make those assumptions.

    A proper presumption, though, is that EVERY TRADE is to notify the (fill in the blank here - the person who hired them) if the substrate the tradesman is installing THEIR work to is inadequate before proceeding, at which point the (person who hired them) tells them to correct it and, yes, agree to cover the additional cost, or tell them to 'just make it work the best you can at no additional cost' (there are in between options).

    However ... this apparently was not done.

    And when that is not done, and the tradesman takes it upon themselves to install their work in/on substandard work, THAT TRADESMAN accepts full responsibility for the final outcome of their work, even if their work is not up to par because of what they were starting with - they accepted it by continuing to work.

    Now, getting back to part of the original question:
    - Typically, the hinge side is shimmed as little as possible as that side carries the load of the door.
    - Typically, the latch side has fewer anchor installed as its main (only in most cases) contact point is at the latch and that is where it has to be the strongest, so that point is shimmed and anchored well, with additional anchors at the top and bottom of the latch side to keep the latch side jamb plumb and in place.
    - Typically, ALL anchor points ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FULLY SHIMMED tight so the anchor does not bow the jambs. Using anchors (nails in this case, but this also applies to screws) through structural air is ... well, there is no such thing as "structural air", to the anchor is cantilevered from the embedded part through the 'non-structural air' to the jamb, and those anchors are basically worthless.

    Talking about interior doors here.

    Exterior doors take more anchors, less shim space (in Florida that shim space for exterior windows and doors is limited to a maximum of 1/4" at each shim). When you can expect high winds to blow against your windows and doors, you want them to stay in place.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    The OP had concerns about the gap between the door and framing, and also about use of shims and securing the door in the opening.

    I tried to give acceptable expectations for the use of shims. door gap and securing the door in the opening.

    John and Scott brought up out of plumb and framing problems (which was not a concern in the OP but maybe it should have been).
    Almost as a footnote I said
    If the wall(s) are not plumb you should not expect the door installer to plumb the door.
    ... don't expect someone hired to install a door to also correct for problems with the framing.
    I stand by that.
    If you expect a door installer to be able to correct for out of plumb walls and framing problems, you most likely will be disappointed.

    Last time I checked Lowe's charges $95 for an interior door install. $95 ain't gonna get you no custom install.
    I don't know if the OP used Lowe's or not and I don't know what was paid.
    Likewise I (you either) do not know what was discussed between the buyer, seller, and installer.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Counterpoint - not enough information was given to make those assumptions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Likewise I (you either) do not know what was discussed between the buyer, seller, and installer.
    Which is why I said the above.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Gap bet. jamb and stud in interior doors

    Quote Originally Posted by ellen grun View Post
    We just had interior "pre-hung" doors installed. The installer attached the jamb, where the hinge is attached, directly to the supporting stud of the opening (they did not center the frame in the opening). With the doors shifted to one side in the opening, this leaves a large gap on the other side between the jamb and the other stud. On one door we can view 5 screws extending into this space of about 3/4 inch. with only one shim on that side of the door. There are also no shims in the gap between the top of the door frame and the horizontal stud. Are there regulations/guidelines about the size of this gap?
    Stability and integrity of the jamb? We live in CALIFORNIA!
    Installing the doors off center, as they did? Having nothing but a few screws passing through the center of the door frame (so it is unstable side to side). Leaving large voids between the door frame and the supporting stud.

    What are our options? What demands can we make on the installers?
    It depends.

    Are these doors occupancy separation doors? Are the doors of rated construction (fire ratings)? Does the positioning and operation of the door(s) so "out of tolerance" from plans where it(they) now adversly impact the required clear openings and width of required exit pathways, or otherwise encroach or adversly affect spacing (such as wall vs. receptacle placement) on other clearances, access, for other installations (mechanical, light fixture componants, electrical, etc.)?

    Obviously the "unstable" factor is in play, (failure to shim at fasteners, spacing and frequency of fasteners, etc.) and professional workmanship, functionality, contract issues), regardless.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-05-2011 at 03:20 PM.

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