What I'm Seeing Now


Is This The New Way Of Installing Doors?

Is this the new way of installing doors?

I should back up.  In the olden days, of professional carpentry and work that would last a long time, a door was level, plumb, structurally sound and firm.

One good thing that I have liked seeing lately, even calling it a best practice, is foam.  It is a great energy sealer around doors and windows.

However, recently, I have seen foam used in ways not intended, as in this case, literally attaching a front porch beam to the house.  This is unfortunate, lazy, structurally ridiculous and will not last.

In addition, doors that are not level or plumb have become more common as the professionalism of new construction diminishes, and when they are literally glued in place in that condition they become out of alignment quickly.

The use of plastics, foam, small brads, medium density fiberboard outdoors, and other newer materials may be cheaper and may be quicker, but do these things last?


In construction, what is the point of a door installation that will have to be replaced in 10 years, or less!?

Shims are used to properly install doors and windows.

Shims do two things.

The help to plumb and level things.  Plumb means straight up and down.

They also provide a structural component - the door or window can be secured to the framing at the shim. 

Importantly shims are used behind hinges so the door remains level and plumb over time as it is secured to the structure AT THE HINGES.

On yesterday's pre-drywall inspection, the door installer used shims in the framing (not many) but there was nothing securing the door assembly to the structure at any shim.

Amazingly, shims were used between the lock set and door knob, but there is NO security to the structure!  One drywall screw was used (!), but probably to hold the door frame in place while the rest was done.

Notice that the striker (the metal pront that goes into the strike plate beside the cylinder lock set) goes into the small opening, but no further.

And you can see in the right photo that nothing secures the framing, making the lock and door knob firm and safe.

This door can be kicked in by a 12 year old!


All of what you see here will soon be covered with a casement trim, and disappear from view!

Now, how long will this installation last?  How long will the door stay plumb?  How long will the door itself stay planted squarely in the jam? 

I see doors in jams all the time that have fallen somewhat and are sitting in the jam at an angle.  That is because the hinge was not secured, as shown in this blog.

My recommendation:  don't think for a minute that a pre-drywall inspection isn't necessary!  Don't think for a minute that a professional supervisor is on site every day, doing dozens of inspections and insuring that professionalism is used when building a house.  This is not a professional door installation.  This is not professional carpentry.  This is lock set is unsafe and this installation will not last.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 14 commentsJay Markanich • April 19 2013 03:42AM


Jay, one would think if they went that far in cutting corners, they would have been embarrassed enough to foam up the casing molding to hide their 'handy work'. Glad we have inspectors like you to depend on to protect our clients.
Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) almost 8 years ago

Morning Jay I'm not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination.  I had an uncle and his answer to everything was a 16 penny nail.  Even I can see this is not a good thing and that sir is saying something. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 8 years ago

Norman - this is a big deal to me.  Things will get hidden by drywall and molding.  Pre-drywall is the only time to see it.

James - you are right!  It is not a good thing!  And hopefully not a trend.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Where is code enforcement in this? Do you get hired to inspect from start to finish or what and don't they care about the shoddy work they turn out.

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) almost 8 years ago

Good morning, Jay. this is the new self adhering foam that is completely burglar proof...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 8 years ago
Jay - it's sad in a way, that so many people just "find" a solution to their immediate issue, rather than installing it correctly.
Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Remember the builders want "quantity not quality". After they find out this is not good in all cases. The easier our job becomes.

Have a nice day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 8 years ago

The art of "hanging a door"...a little more required than a screw driver and a squirt of foam....where is Billy Jay when you need him ?

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 8 years ago

Jay -- foam could be a great sealant around the doors and windows, but only AFTER they are properly installed, not as a replacement for proper installation. 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 8 years ago

Pensacola - the county does not spend much time in houses.  I do.

Michael - I should be better familiar with the newer products.  Billy Jays should get in on this.

Carol - this is quick and lazy.  It is not a long-lasting anything!

They sure are pumping them out around here Clint.  Too quickly?

I think Billy Jays might be getting in on this very soon S&D.

That's the best practice part Steven.  This practice is not!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay - it seems that foam is the new and improved duct tape.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

And a permanent fixture Eric!  I think Billy Jays needs to get in on this.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I see a lot of poor door installations. They do not fair well over the years.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

And how can they Don?  Carpentry is the science of strength and security, and the art of fitting things together with joints and angles.  If you're going to glue crap together, it isn't lasting.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments