Prehung vs Slab Door [Best Comprehensive Guide Around]

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Prehung vs Slab Door

Shopping for doors includes making a choice between two major door types: slab doors and prehung doors.

If you are a layman in the world of doors, you probably don’t know much about them. Luckily, that’s why we’re here; to teach you all you need to know and help you make an informed decision.

If you want to learn how these two types of doors differ, as well as what each type is good for, be sure to keep reading.

Slab Doors

If you want the most basic type of door, you should opt for slab doors. In that case, you will be getting a door and nothing else — no surrounding frame, no doorknobs, and no hinges.

So, if you already have a frame, you just need to attach your slab door to it. Alternatively, you can create a new frame. Also, don’t expect the mortises to be pre-cut; you will have to handle that on your own as well.

Slab doors are on the cheaper side, which makes them ideal for people on a budget.

Prehung Doors

If you decide to purchase a prehung door, you will be getting almost everything you need with it. That means you’re not only getting a door slab, but also the frame that goes around it, as well as hinges. All you have to do is fit this door into a prepared doorway.

However, it’s important to note that you will still have to make a few additional purchases. Items such as the doorknob, the metal strike plate, and the outer trim have to be bought separately.

Also, as you might have guessed, a prehung door comes at a higher price than a slab door.

Pros and Cons

Now that you have learned what slab doors and prehung doors are, it’s time to review their pros and cons.

Slab Doors 

PROS

  •  As we already mentioned, if you are on a tight budget, it would be wise to consider installing slab doors; from a financial point of view, they are a better option than prehung ones.
  • For those who are creative and into do-it-yourself projects, slab doors are a great option. You can restore an antique slab door and hang it on an existing frame in your home, making the most of its unique design. However, chances that you will run across a prehung unit that you will be able to restore are very little.
  • Also, when it comes to interior doors, slab doors are a simpler solution. As weatherproofing isn’t an issue, you won’t need a solid and perfect installation. So, you can save money and install a slab door on your own.
  • Slab doors are ideal when you need to install only one or two interior units. That will give you enough time to dedicate yourself to the process.

CONS

  • In order to install a slab door on your own, you need to have a good eye, a steady hand, and a lot of experience. However, if your new door is the same size and design as your old door, that will make the installation easier. But you should be aware that any variation in the size and design will make the job much harder.
  • When it comes to your exterior door, a slab door isn’t recommended. Still, if you insist on having a slab exterior door, consider hiring a professional for the installation.
  • Finally, if you really want to install a slab door but you aren’t very skillful, think about using a new unit instead of a recycled one. A recycled slab door requires sanding, planing, and straightening, which may be too challenging for a non-professional.

Prehung Doors
PROS

  • If you are building a new home, you will probably install the doors first. In that case, consider installing prehung doors. When the location for the door is wide open, installing a prehung door that comes with its own frame will be much easier than installing a slab door.
    Opting for slab doors would mean building a frame from scratch, which could be rather time-consuming. The process itself isn’t complex, but you would waste a lot of time, especially if you have multiple doors to install.
  • When your existing door frame is very old or damaged, hanging a slab door on it might be risky, or even impossible. In that case, think about demolishing the whole door area and installing a new prehung door.
  • When it comes to exterior walls, prehung doors are a safer option. By properly installing a weather-tight prehung door, you will take care of all weather-related issues. Even those who don’t have a lot of experience can successfully install a tight-fitting prehung exterior door.
    On the other hand, unless you are a professional, you will find it very hard to install an exterior slab door that will keep you safe from harsh weather conditions.

CONS

  • Prehung doors are very heavy and bulky, which makes them hard to manage and move around. For example, the lightest prehung interior door with a hollow core slab weighs from 50 to 100 pounds. And a typical prehung exterior door weighs more than 100 pounds. That means you won’t be able to move it on your own; at least two strong people are required for that.
  • In addition, if you have a small car, you won’t be able to transport prehung doors.
  • While installing a prehung door is easier than installing a slab door, not everything is so straightforward. For instance, it can be very tricky to get a prehung door correctly positioned. Even though you needn’t worry about hanging the slab to the frame, you have to carefully and precisely fit the whole unit into the door opening, which can be challenging. What’s more, if you don’t install a prehung door properly, you could end up with an impaired swing and closing.
  • Installing a prehung door includes additional work around it; you will have to handle painting, the drywall, trim installation, and trim painting or staining.

Conclusion

Both slab doors and prehung doors have their advantages and disadvantages. Before you make your choice, think about your needs, your budget, as well as your skills. While a prehung door might be a better solution for new homes and exterior walls, slab doors are ideal for internal walls and people who are trying to save money.

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