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Pre-Hung vs Slab Doors: What’s Best for your Home?

If you’ve been door shopping, or if you’re considering it, you probably know there are a variety of options available to you. Most people will focus on the type of door, like a wood, metal or fiberglass material. Others will concern themselves with choosing the right transoms and sidelights. Many people don’t consider whether they want a pre-hung or slab door until they’ve worked out all the other details, and they’re finally ready to buy. However, you may want to make this consideration much earlier in the process.

If you’re not familiar with the difference between slab doors and pre-hung doors, you may be wondering what the big deal is. After all they’re both doors, right? True, but both doors have pros and cons that can make a big difference in the type of door that you’ll be able to use.

door-header-bgWhat is a Pre-Hung Door?

Simply put, a pre-hung door is a door that comes on the hinges already attached to a door frame. It’s essentially the full package. In theory, you slide the frame in the opening, attach it to your wall studs, and you’re all set. In practice, it can be a little more complicated than that.

Pre-hung doors have a lot of benefits. The first is that the door will already come in a frame that fits it perfectly. If you’ve ever had to replace a door inside an existing frame, you know all too well the pitfalls that exist here. A pre-hung door allows you to easily side a door and frame in the opening and call it a day. Most new construction builds will use pre-hung doors.

Now if you live in an older home and you’re replacing an existing door, a pre-hung door may not be the best choice. First, you’d have to rip out the current frame which may not even need to be replaced. Second, you need to be sure the opening will fit the pre-hung door. This is especially important if you’re buying an off-the-shelf door. They can also be very difficult to get square, as you not only have to worry about getting it level on the left and right side, but also front to back.

Danbury-1What is a Slab Door?

A slab door is essentially just the door itself. You’ll probably need to cut your own bevels for hinges, and shave parts of the door down to fit your frame. If you’re ordering a custom-built door, you’ll want to double check if it’s just a slab door, or if it will come pre-hung. Many smaller custom door manufacturers may only do slab.

Slab doors are great for an existing opening, where you can specify the exact size and dimensions you need. The doors are a little more difficult to install though. If your frame isn’t exactly square, or the hinges are misaligned, or if the door frame leans ever-so-slightly in one direction or another, you’re going to have a rough time. Most people opt for a professional installation in these cases.

If you’d like to see what options you have for your door replacement, swing by our showroom and talk to our experts about whether a slab door or pre-hung is right for you!