What Is A Prehung Door And Is It Better Than A Slab Door?

A prehung door is a door that comes with a frame. This type of door is easy to install because you don’t have to build a frame yourself. 

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There are two primary types of doors you can use in your home. There are prehung doors and then there are slab doors. These are both quite different and are made for different purposes but both are important.

Let’s take a look at these two styles of doors and what they each are. We will go over why they matter and how to choose which one to use for each doorframe in your house. Let’s get started on what a prehung door is. 

What Is A Prehung Door?

A prehung door is a slab door that comes with hinges attached to a door frame. You can buy a prehung door if you don’t know much about installing doors because you can hang it with little knowledge. 

It comes with everything you need already attached to hang the door. It won’t come with a doorknob but most doorknobs are universal and it is easy to install one. Plus, it’s a very personal thing with not all doorknobs suiting everyone. 

You may be surprised to hear how old prehung doors are. Doorframes were invented nearly the same time that doors were but they weren’t attached to the door whenever they were installed but installed first instead. 

What Is A Slab Door?

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Image from Koch Architects, Inc.

A slab door is just a door. It doesn’t come with hinges or a frame. It may have the holes for doorknobs and other hardware but it will primarily just be a slab of material, most often wood, that needs a frame built for it.

A slab door is perfect for those who want to build their own doorframe, are replacing a door, or who have a strange doorframe size and need to make up for it. Most slab doors can be cut to size if they aren’t ornate. 

It’s no surprise to hear that door slabs were used in 3000 B.C. These wooden doors were made from slabs of wood which is where they got their name. Around this time, Asia was using stone doors as well, often to cover tombs. 

Note: slab doors can also be used for sliding doors and hung from over the door frame. So this is a great option if you don’t want traditional doors that open normally. There are endless possibilities. 

Prehung Vs Slab Door

There are pros and cons to both slab doors and prehungdoors. Prehung doors come in a frame and slab doors do not. So that’s the obvious difference between them but that comes with many pros and cons.

So let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of both prehung doors and slab doors. Because it’s important to make a list yourself of your choices on anything before committing to one based on a feeling. 

Some things will be the same. Like the fact that they both some painted and non-painted. But they also both usually need doorknobs bought and installed separately. Here are the things that are different. 

Prehung Doors

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Image from Buchmann Design

Prehung Doors are considered convenient and easy-to-use doors for residential buildings, including private homes. They are very common and almost always used for exterior doors due to their strength and the fact that they can easily be weatherproofed.

But what else is there to know about the user-friendly prehung doors? Here we have a list of all of the primary pros and cons you need to know about prehung doors if you are installing new doors in your home!

Prehung Door Pros

  • Hinges And Hardware – having the hinges and hardware is a big step and a good money saver. It may not come with a doorknob but this isn’t a bad thing because doorknobs are easy to install and personal. 
  • Built-in Frame – prehung doors have a built-in frame that is ready to install. So you don’t have to worry about building one and getting it right. Building a doorframe isn’t as easy as it sounds!
  • Doorknob Hole Ready – prehung doors have the doorknob holes already cut. This means the hole for the doorknob is cut on both sides and the hole for the latch and lock are in place with screw holes pre-sunk. 
  • Fast Installation – a prehung door can be installed very quickly. All you need to do is secure the frame and you have everything in order. It will need to be placed with shims but this is easy once you learn how to do it. 
  • Weatherproof – prehung doors are almost always weatherproof. Slab doors are not unless you make them that way. You will also have to install your own door jamb underneath to keep out water on slab doors. 
  • Nearly Universal – prehung doors will fit any frame that is the size of the doorframe or larger. If you have an exterior door in your house, there’s a really good chance it can be replaced with another prehung door. 

Prehung Door Cons

  • Heavy – these doors are heavy, some weighing well over 100-lbs. So it can be difficult to move them around and nearly impossible to move them around on your own so you will need to ask for help. 
  • Hard To Get Exact – sine you aren’t building the doorframe yourself, getting a prehung door set just right isn’t easy. You need it to be straight and level. There isn’t much room for mistakes with prehung doors. 
  • Frames Aren’t Always Best – the frames for prehung doors aren’t always of great quality. Sometimes they are cheaply made and easily broken until they are hung. But after they are installed, there aren’t any problems. 
  • Expensive – prehung doors can be very expensive. Because you will always pay for convenience! And that’s what prehung doors are. They are convenient, easy, and consistent, which makes them a great choice. 

Slab Doors

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Slab doors have been around for thousands of years or more! They’ve been around for as long as humans have and they haven’t changed that much. After all, the method for making them and using them is so trusty. 

But they do have their faults, especially with new doors bringing progression. Here we have a list of all of the primary pros and cons you need to know about slab doors if you are installing new doors in your home!

Slab Door Pros

  • Great For Interior Use – slab doors work well for interior doors. Prehung interior doors can cause problems due to incompatibility and bulkiness. But slab doors work well because of their versatility and size. 
  • Cheap – slab doors are the most affordable type of door that you can get. The other stuff you get for the door may cost you, but buying each piece separately is usually the cheapest way to go in the end. 
  • Versatile – slab doors are very versatile. They can be used for any door frame if they are cut correctly. You can also get any style of slab door you can imagine which can’t be said for prehung doors. 
  • Easy-To-Move – slab doors are the lightest doors you can get. They are smaller and easier to carry around for a couple of reasons. Their weight is one thing but also the fact that they don’t have a bulky door frame hanging off of them. 

Slab Door Cons

  • Not Great For Exterior Use – this may be the exception to the rule. But an exterior door slab may not be as good as prehung exterior doors. Because it is difficult to waterproof and weatherproof slab doors. 
  • May Not Be Cut – not that it cannot be cut but slab doors are not often pre-cut with holes like other doors are. So you will have to carefully cut the holes for the doorknob and more on your own. 
  • Need To Build Doorframe – unfortunately, you do need to build a doorframe for a slab door. This can be a good thing if you know what you’re doing but it can be difficult to do if you do not. Doorframes can be tricky! 
  • Need To Install Hardware – you will need to buy and install all of the hardware yourself for a slab door. This means doorknobs of course, but along hinges and anything else that is needed for your door.

Choosing The Right Door

Choosing the right door isn’t usually difficult when it comes to finding your own style. But choosing between a prehung door and a slab door isn’t always easy. Because they are both so different and both are often needed.

In general, you can use a prehung door for exterior doors and often for interior doors. But when it comes to slab doors, they should only be used for interior doors when you want to do things a certain way.

They shouldn’t be used for exterior doors because they are not weatherproof and it takes a professional to make sure a door is waterproof. So with those few tips, you should be able to decide between the two which one is right for you.