Dealer Tips for Success

Addressing common problems in door installations
By Bruce Procton
May 9, 2015

The door is the only part of a house that’s expected to provide a weather-tight seal while withstanding daily traffic and abuse. Despite its heavy use, the door receives little, if any, maintenance or attention from the homeowner. As such, the importance of a proper door installation cannot be emphasized enough.

In the real world, a perfect door installation is next to impossible. Subfloors are not level. Walls are not plumb. Rough openings are not square. All of these factors can be tied to faster house framing, high turnover/shortages in the labor force and wood frames being exposed to weather during the construction process. With pricing pressures from the market, the installer’s ability to devote the time necessary to properly adjust the entire door assembly and complete all of the prescribed installation steps is limited.

As a result, the following installation problems arise.

Lack of proper shimming
Door units are installed flush against the existing wall so any framing imperfections are transferred directly to the door. This results in improper margins and lack of alignment between the frame/weathersealing and the door panel.

Insufficient sealing and improper flashing against the rough opening
Even though an increasing number of builders are attempting to flash their rough openings and use sealants underneath the door unit, methods are still inconsistent and often replace one problem with another.

Lack of threshold adjustment
A vast majority of prehung doors offer some kind of adjusting mechanism. However, very few of these are actually adjusted during the initial installation process. It’s just an extra step that takes time and is often overlooked.

Missing corner pads and final joint seals
Once the door unit is set in place and adjusted, the installer is responsible for sealing any joints that might have opened up during transportation and installation. This includes placing corner pads at each end of the sill. In reality, these steps are often omitted and some of the final components end up in the trash or still attached to the back of the jambs (along with the instructions).

Because these problems are so common, self-leveling and all-inclusive systems that solve or prevent problems automatically are the future of the industry. With that in mind, builders should look for and specify components that overcome the harsh reality of door installations and prevent future problems for homeowners. Additionally, relying on components that are consistent (design of parts) is less costly and easier to manage than dealing with the aftermath of varying installation practices.

Bruce Procton is the President of Endura Products Inc., an award-winning designer and manufacturer of high-performance door components.