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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    1

    Red face install french door when wall is not plumb

    We are installing a new french door at the entry of our old church. When we set the door in place we realised the wall was not plumb. How do we install it so that is closes properly and looks good? There is about two inches difference from the top and the bottom. How do we make the trim look good?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    6,694

    Default Re: install french door when wall is not plumb

    Question: how was the old door mounted, if the rough opening was so messed up?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: install french door when wall is not plumb

    Doors and winders need to be installed perfectly plumb and level. You'll be making the difference up with trim.

    The real question ; Why is the building leaning?????

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,188

    Default Re: install french door when wall is not plumb

    Doors and windows do NOT need to be plumb and level to work-what they need to do is be in one plane and square. As long as doors aren't so far out of plumb that they swing themselves open or shut they can be out of plumb, and as long as the opening (door frame) is square they can be slightly out of plumb in that plane with no problems too. I have 'fixed' many doors in old houses that were perfectly plumb but looked awful because the old house was out of plumb by following the leaning walls- staying parallel or close to it- and leaving the level out of the picture. As long as it looks good, works good, and stays that way there is no problem- how can there be?

    To the OP, perhaps the original doors were framed in place with the stop moldings made to follow the tweaked doors. If that's the situation the best solution is to follow along- build your own casing and do it the same way. Pre-hung units will not work in openings that aren't nearly perfect, and that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to replacing old doors with new pre-hung units which are intended for new construction or replacement of the same. I think you have a better understanding of that now.

    Not so long ago I did a pre-hung single entry door for a disabled friend. Turned out the house was triple-brick; an outer layer, an narrow width inner layer plastered directly over, and hollow core filler brick in the middle. There was no wood framing- these were structural brick walls and the door and window frames were placed before the brick was laid(Commercial metal frames are set this way). The mortar gripped the few cut nails they used just fine so the door frame should have been left alone and a slab door cut to fit (my recommendation but not an option since he already had the pre-hung door and no money to get another one). Of course the opening was too small with the original wood door frame in place so it had to come out, leaving me almost nothing to attach the new one to since the old mortar fell away on removal. The inside casing was nailed into the mortar as well- of course it also crumbled away too. Much shimming, gluing with polyurethane, breaking of most of the hollow brick fillers with Tapcons, and huge amounts of muttered cussing later, my easy one hour job was done 5 1/2 hours later. Never again will I pull out a perfectly good exterior jamb on an old house to fit a new door- NEVER! You want something else done then go get someone else to do it. Better yet do it yourself- you deserve the education for not listening to someone who knows what they are doing from having been there done that too many times!

    I wouldn't wish this to happen to anyone else- it's a special he-double toothpicks that people who work on old houses often find themselves into before they can walk away and go home satisfied that their work will endure. I swear those of us who repair old houses are masochists at heart sometimes- who else would endure such as this?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: install french door when wall is not plumb

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    Doors and windows do NOT need to be plumb and level to work-what they need to do is be in one plane and square.
    I am not an expert, but I thought it would be useful to mention that every interior door in my old house that was installed to follow the wall has racked and/or warped to the point where they're ruined. Given that the doors are high quality, on one plane and square, I've always believed that the damage was due to them not being installed plumb and level.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: install french door when wall is not plumb

    doors do HAVE to be installed, plumb, level and square to operate properly, unlike stated earlier. if they arent there will be much more stress and wear on the hardware along with the frames which will cause problems further down the road. i dont know how many calls i have had to fix or reinstall doors and windows that werent installed properly. the exception would be a single hung window.they have very little operating parts so they can go in out of plumb depending on how bad the wall is. last year i had to fix 5 brand new casement windows that were just installed on a new building, the installer just through them in the hole and none of them would close

    the worse place i see this is in large building where the installers install windows in less than 10 minutes and then 15 minutes for a patio door install. for my window installs i take about an hour which includes installing a proper drip pan, back caulking along with sealing the nailing flange with vycor plus an aluminum header flashing. doors are 1.5-3 hrs depending on the door and the situation. the only issues ive had have been damaged screens from transport or the door hardware had missing parts upon opening the packaging
    fire up the saw and make some dust

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