Prehung or slab door?

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Forum topic by BiotinX posted 10-14-2017 12:16 AM 1393 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1034 days

10-14-2017 12:16 AM

I’m posting here because I’ve found a bunch of great knowledge on this forum. Bought my first home a few months ago and am in the process of remodeling the interior. The interior doors are boring white hollow doors. I’d like to replace them with a rustic pine or ash solid door.

I understand the difference between a prehung door and slab door, but I don’t understand when I’d use a prehung (replace the door and door jam) or when I’d just replace the door.

Any suggestions?


6 replies so far

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1298 days

#1 posted 10-14-2017 12:26 AM

A pre-hung door is usually used for new construction or when adding a door where one didn’t exist previously. As long as your jambs are in good shape and you are not looking to change the material for aesthetic reason, no need for a pre-hung door.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View corelz125's profile


1405 posts in 1779 days

#2 posted 10-14-2017 12:31 AM

That depends on what type of work you want to put in. Slab all you have to do is make the hole for the lock set, cut the door to fit and mortise for the hinges. The tough part with this is if the door isn’t sitting right to have to start swimming. If you go pre hung you have to remove the old door frame and trim makes more of a mess.

View Rich's profile


5688 posts in 1393 days

#3 posted 10-14-2017 04:14 AM

The previous posts nail it regarding slab versus pre-hung. Obviously you want slabs. Here’s where the fun starts for you. I went through this very same situation when we bought a custom home that inexplicably had white hollow doors.

We knew we had to do something, so we headed to a couple of door and window companies. Major sticker shock. The level of door we wanted was in the $900 and up range per door. Heading down to the handyman store, we found “solid wood” doors, but the guy that owns the place was quick to tell us that it’s solid wood, but the faces are veneer and the core is pine. It’s 3/16” veneer and they do use sequential pieces for the front and back, but it’s unnatural. No 1-3/8” thick board would be that close to identical on the front and back faces.

We bought one just to play with, and I routed out the panels and replaced them with obscured glass for a pantry door. That was when reality set in. These doors are mass produced in a Chilean factory using dowels for joinery. They are obviously run through a belt sander en masse because the sanding marks run down the stiles and across the rails. It took a lot of work to clean those up.

Utimately, I decided to build my own, and after replacing all of the doors in the house, that one really stood out as an eyesore. I just finished the door to replace it, pictured below.

So where am I heading with this blathering? Build your own. It’s easier than you think and, depending on the wood you choose, will cost you as little as $120 per door. That’s for knotty alder, which is my favorite. Fancy woods make fancy doors, but knotty woods mean that no two doors are alike, and you can have all sorts of fun with the patterns. For this one, I bookmatched the panels, and went with some crazy, wavy grain for the lock rail. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.

Bottom line is, based on my shopping here in Tucson, you can build your doors for at least 75 to 80% less than you’ll pay to buy them — and get better quality with zero engineered components that are so common as cost cutting steps these days.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View BiotinX's profile


7 posts in 1034 days

#4 posted 10-14-2017 10:48 PM

Okay. Sooo…..Can you box up two of those doors and send them to me?! Do you have any suggested websites/books/articles that helped you build those doors? I love EVERYTHING about that door.

I might use the Home Depot pine slabs for this house and then as my wood working skills improve build my own doors.

View corelz125's profile


1405 posts in 1779 days

#5 posted 10-14-2017 11:13 PM

Nice looking door Rich

View JCamp's profile


1208 posts in 1354 days

#6 posted 10-14-2017 11:45 PM

I just bought a house two months ago that needed all new trim and door. For me it was an easy choice for prehung doors since the old ones were white and I wanted pine. I caught mine on sale at Menards for $100 each (prehung) and bought nine of them. They were just planejane pine but was such an improvement over the old hollow core white doors that had holes in most of them.
Also at my old house I used the veneer oak doors mentioned above and they worked great. Had that house for 5 years and they looks just as good the day I sold the house as the day I put them up
One thing I do recommend is if u can find some prefi ished doors that u like it’s worth the extra money to buy them instead of the non finished ones (unless u have more time than money or u want a specific color)


-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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