In a perfect world, all door casings would be in perfect alignment, and fitting a new door would be a simple job. However, in the real world of door fitting you will quickly come to realise that the majority of door casings are far from perfect, which can at times make fitting a door a challenge. In addition to this, there is quite a bit more to fitting a door than just getting it to fit the opening.
Doors are produced in standard stock sizes, and checks must be made of the door being replaced against the door chart provided to ascertain the correct size. It will more than likely be found that the door that is to be replaced is slightly smaller than the standard, which is quite normal; it simply means that the door was originally reduced to fit that particular opening. Because not all door casings are as one would like, a slightly larger door is in fact the ideal situation, as it allows the fitter to shape each door to fit. I should stress though, that the amount that can be safely taken off a door is minimal, so choosing the correct size to start with is very important.
Before a new door can be fitted, certain things must first be determined, such as which edge of the door is going to be hinged, where the latch will be and which end is the top. On a solid wood panel door this is pretty obvious because all the components of the door are visible, and the bottom rail is always deeper than the top, and the lock and handles can go on either side. This however is not the case with a 'Hollow Core' door because they are made in a different way. As the name suggests, Hollow Core doors are not of a solid construction, so the manufacturer has to provide information to indicate the location of what is know as the 'Lock Block'. These marks differ between manufacturers, but in the main, the top edge of the door will have 'Top' or 'T' stamped on it, and to one side of the same edge, either 'LOCK', 'LB' or 'L' is stamped. This is telling you which side of the door that the 'Lock Block' is located, and that the latch and handles must be fitted on that side. It follows that the hinges go on the opposite edge.
With this in mind, and the door offered up to the casing with the hinge stile of the door to the hinge jamb of the casing, mark the letter 'H' indicating hinge side, 'LB' on the opposite side for lock and 'T' for top.
These marks are important, as it’s quite usual to shape and reduce the door in gradual steps, which means that it can be repeatedly offered up to the opening to check the progress. With the door marked in this way, every time it is offer up, you can be assured that it will always be the right way round.
The markings are also important when it comes to fitting the hinges, as the marks will serve as a constant reminder as to where the top of the door is, and from which face one should be working from.
I will later be discussing the fitting of the hinges, and will be referring to the 'face of the door', which is the face that has these markings on it.
If the door is to be stained or varnishing, pencil marks on your door could present problems. In this case it would be a good idea to put to strips of masking tape onto the door first, and place the marks onto the tape rather than the door.
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