Prehung vs. Slab Doors
The purchase of a new door is tricky. Choosing between prehung doors and slab doors is important. Get the wrong type and you are out of money and time.
For this reason, knowing which door type will work for your next project as slab and prehung doors for interior applications are sold differently.
Let us walk you through everything you need to know about prehung vs. slab doors.
What Are Prehung Doors?
Prehung wood interior doors are doors with frame constructions. Basically, a prehung door is a slab door that is mounted on a 3-side frame, which is then sold as a bundle. While some prehung interior slab doors may need additional modifications, they can be purchased completely finished.
Typically, prehung door units include a door slab, hinges, and a frame. The frame is also pre-cut for the strike plate, while the door features mortises cut for hinges and pre-cut holes for the door knob. However, door knobs, metal strike plates, surface coating, fasteners, and shims are not included.
A pre-hung door makes sure the door frame is perfect for the door slab. But, installing a prehung door frame and slab is a two-person job. The combination of an interior door and frame can weigh up to 100 lbs, and moving the entire construction without damaging it is difficult.
As these doors come with frames, they are perfect for projects where the existing frames are damaged, bent, or are too old to hang new slab doors. They are recommended for remodeling projects or when multiple doors are changed at the same time.
Pre-hung Interior Doors Characteristics
Prehung interior doors with frame constructions are not for everyone. They offer both positive and negative characteristics, which will help you decide if prehung wood doors are the right solution for you or not.
Prehung Door With Frame Pros:
- Sold with a frame that fits the door slab perfectly
- Hinges are already attached both to the door slab and the frame
- As hinges are attached, there is no need to mortise their placement
- The door handle hole is drilled before shipping
- The prehung door with door frame is pre-cut for the strike plate
Prehung Slab Door with Hinges Cons:
- Internal doors with frames can be extremely heavy (especially prehung interior solid doors)
- Door swinging can be affected if the prehung slab door construction is not stored correctly
- The door frame can easily break before installation
Do Prehung Doors Come With Hinges?
Yes, interior prehung doors are sold with hinges. Hinges hold the door slab in place and connected to the frame the prehung door is sold with. This makes their installation easier, but the entire construction can become heavy depending on the type of wood used as prehung solid slab interior doors weigh more than hollow core ones.
Do Prehung Doors Come With Trim?
There are two types of prehung door frames. The one-piece jamb door type is sold without trim. On the other hand, they can be sold in two sections, which makes a two-piece jamb system. This second version has both the inside and outside trim mounted on the main door frame with door before purchase.
What are Slab Doors?
A door slab is an exterior or interior door without frame. It is a basic door that is sold without finishes, hardware, or mortises. No panel interior door models offer better customing capabilities, as they are literally just an unworked door (no frame) slab.
Unline doors with door frames, a slab door is sold on its own, with pre-cut holes for door handles being optional. Everything else, from the hardware, the strike plate, the surface coating, shims, and mortises, are not included.
When you wish to replace a door, slab doors are the better option, as long as the frame is not damaged. The existing hardware can be reinstalled on a slab, as they can be ordered without mortise and door knob holes (which can be customized before mounting the door). Furthermore, if the door size is custom, slabs are also an easier choice.
Unfinished Slab Door Characteristics
Interior doors without frames are the better choice for DIY projects. But, they are not always the best solution. A door without a frame, no matter if it's a solid core or hollow core slab door, offers excellent customizing capabilities.
Door Slab (Exterior or Interior) Pros:
- Both hollow and solid slab doors are cheaper than prehung wooden doors
- Offers better design flexibility as they can be molded to fit different aesthetics
- The mortises need to be cut into the door slab, making it easier to customize
Interior or Exterior Slab Door Cons:
- Needs extensive carpentry work if the previous door frame cannot be used
- It is harder to mount the door in order to offer a smoother swing and tighter fit
Do Doors Come With Hinge Cutouts?
In most cases, door slabs often do not come with hinge cutouts. Some sellers provide the option to mortise the hinge placement into the door, but that's not the industry standard. On the other hand, they are sold with door handle cutouts.
The Difference Between Slab and Prehung Doors
Whether a slab vs prehung door is the better fit for your next project depends on a couple of factors. The main difference between prehung and slab door models is the fact that prehung doors are sold together with the frame. For this reason, more parts of a prehung door are included with the purchase.
Is It Better to Buy a Prehung Door or a Slab Door?
This question about a prehung or slab door cannot be answered easily. It all depends on what you need for the project. Whether you are a DIY-er or a contractor, the prehung door vs. slab door debate will provide a different answer each time.
But, knowing the difference between slab door and prehung interior door with hinges, you can determine which door type fits what project.
Appearance and Customization:
Doors without frame offer excellent customizing capabilities. As slab doors are sold without finishes, and often without door knob holes, which makes them easier to customize. Interior and front door slab choices can fit various interior aesthetics.
An interior single prehung door is always more expensive than a slab door. This is because slab doors are sold on their own, without any additional hardware or supplies. As a result, such doors are the more budget-friendly option, perfect for DIY projects.
Difficulty of Installation:
Each slab or prehung door is hard to install, but the reasons are different.
Prehung doors, including prehung entry doors, are difficult to mount due to their heavy construction. Pre-finished doors, especially solid wood ones, are heavy and most need two people to ensure a flawless installation.
On the other hand, a slab door creates problems as most of them do not feature mortises for hinges. Additionally, near-professional skills are needed to mount a door slab correctly, in order to ensure smooth swinging and a good fit.
When it comes to prehung exterior doors, they provide a snug fit. As a result, entry doors prehung with frames are instantly weather-tight. In other words, this door with frame structure gives better weather protection than simply purchasing exterior slab doors.
How to Store Prehung Doors?
Always store prehung doors vertically, leaving enough space between multiple doors to breathe. Additionally, storing these doors on concrete is not a good idea, as the wooden frame will absorb the moisture from the concrete. Doing this will protect the prehung door before installation.
Do Doors Come With Frames?
It depends on the door type you purchase. However, if you purchase a prehung door, you will also receive the frame. Pre-hung doors with frames come as a package. The door is mounted on the frame with hinges and the places for the strike plate and door knob are cut out of the wood.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Slab Door?
Often, installing a door slab is not the only cost you will have to count on. Finishing the drywall, trim, and paint around the door frame often comes with the workflow. Therefore, depending on how big the job is, installing slab doors can vary between $50 to $400 per door.