Jay Markanich, one of my top sources of all things related to home inspections and home improvements, recently shared this great information on Best Practices regarding proper door installation.
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One thing builders have to do is install a lot of doors. It's always a good thing to see Best Practices in door installation! Particularly when it comes to entry doors!
One thing I see a lot of are entry doors installed with three shims on each side and finishing nails.
If I had to give that a title, I would call it Common Practice.
What's my beef with that?
According to the FBI there are 6,088 burglaries or home invasions every day. That is 5 homes per minute. And 67% of these involve forcible entry.
How much protection do three shims and finish nails give against kicking in a door? Or smashing it with body weight?
Not only that. How often to you see a door hanging at an angle inside a jam, even so much that it catches on one plane or another and does not close right? This is due to installation. Actually, I could say that this is due to Common Practice installation as well.
Look at the photo.
> This builder's installer is using five shims.
> He used exterior-grade screws, instead of nails, through each shim.
> He screwed the center of the door assembly into the header above.
> And the lower center portion of the assembly has a built-in location for secure attachment through the thresh hold and into the lower structure.
I suggested to my client that he install a lock set that includes special strike plates with additional metal and long screws.
And one that has an extra-long TANG.
What is a tang? The tang is the metal bar that runs from the cylinder, through the door and into the latch case, which is the metal assembly covering the hole in the opposite door jam. It runs into the BACK PLATE which is located between the latch case and the door.
This is the latch case on my rear door. Notice the extra-deep "hole" with its own metal protector, which is itself screwed into the jam? And those are 3" steel screws anchoring everything into the double stud. While no door can sustain too much force, this will seriously inhibit any basic kicking in.
And the door should be secured with a dead-bolt lock set that cannot be bumped.
All in all, this builder is installing the exterior doors very well, and, in my opinion, with Best Practices.
My recommendation: on new construction, look to see how the doors are installed. The more shims, the more secure. And look to see how it is attached to the structure - with long screws or finish nails? The little things in door installation can make a huge, huge difference.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage