If you are looking to replace your interior doors, one of the main decisions you would have to make is whether to install a pre-hung or a slab door.
In this guide, we’ll compare the two to help you choose the right option for yourself. Let’s begin!
What Is a Pre-Hung Door?
A pre-hung door is a modern interior door that comes with preinstalled hinges. The frame includes the door legs, or ‘jambs,’ as well as the header that forms the top of the frame and connects to the jambs.
While this type of door includes the frame, not all pre-hung doors include the casing. If you don’t purchase a door that includes the casing, you will need to purchase door casing separately. As of June 2023, the cost to install door casing ranges between $7 and $11 per linear foot.
What Is a Slab Door?
In simple words, a slab door is a door by itself. It does not include a frame, hinges, or other hardware. When installing a slab door, you will either need to build a frame yourself or install it in a pre-existing frame.
Slab doors also may or may not have pre-drilled holes for door knobs, and the hinges will need to be mortised out.
Pre-Hung Versus Slab Doors: Which One Should I Choose?
Knowing the pros and cons of each door type can help you make an informed decision. Here are some considerations:
Because a pre-hung door comes with its own frame, it is easy to install. So if you’re looking for an easy DIY project, a pre-hung door is the way to go.
Moreover, if the existing door frame is damaged, it becomes nearly impossible to install a slab door. So, in such cases, a pre-hung door is the right choice.
Pre-hung doors are heavy, weighing between fifty and one hundred pounds. This means if you have a small vehicle, transporting a pre-hung door can be a hassle.
Plus, pre-hung doors are generally more expensive than slab doors. The cost of installing a pre-hung door is usually between $322 and $497 per door.
If you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider installing a slab door. They can cost as little as $50 per door.
They also give you room for design flexibility. For instance, if you find a unique door that you want to repurpose, you can do so easily with a slab door, as such doors normally come in slab form and not in pre-hung units.
As you can imagine, it requires time and effort to install a slab door. So, if you are not experienced in carpentry, you may need professional help to install one. This, in turn, will add to your total spending.
The Installation Process
Now that you understand the pros and cons of each door type, let’s briefly take a look at how they’re installed. This will help you decide between going the DIY route or calling in a professional.
The steps to install a pre-hung door are fairly simple–all you need to do is fit the door into the opening and secure some latches. Here is what the process looks like:
- Step 1: Remove the old door and jambs
- Step 2: Measure the rough opening
- Step 3: Set the door into the rough opening
- Step 4: Stabilize the door and secure the side hinge jamb
- Step 5: Ensure the door is swinging freely
- Step 6: Connect the latch side jamb
- Step 7: Secure the jamb and test the door
When it comes to installing a slab door, you’ll have to precisely measure, mark, and cut mortises for the hinges. Plus, if the door isn’t ready for the door hardware, you’ll need to carefully measure the lockset and latch and then bore the holes for the hardware.
You may also need to trim the bottom of the door so it fits the existing door frame. However, a slab door will be easier to handle, and installing one can often be a one-person job.
There are multiple reasons to choose one door type over the other. At the end of the day, your choice comes down to personal preference, your ability to work with tools, and above all, your budget.
Whatever you choose, be sure to check out our post on what color to paint interior doors once you have your door in place!