Prehung vs. Slab Doors: Know When to Choose One Over the Other

October 5, 2020
by The Finished Space

If you’re working on a building or renovation project, you’ve probably asked: should I buy prehung or slab doors?

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing between prehung and slab doors, including the cost of the door as well as labor and ease of installation. It’s also important to consider your goals for the project—are you looking for something unique that might require additional time and craftsmanship, or do you need something that is convenient and easy to install?

Keep reading for a breakdown of prehung vs. slab doors and get the information you need to make the best choice for your design needs. 

Prehung vs. Slab Doors — What’s the Difference?

Prehung

A prehung door includes a door slab that is already hung in the frame and pre-cut for the doorknob and the strike plate. It’s close to an all-in-one door package. 

Prehung doors must be transported and stored with care, as they are fragile until they are properly fitted into a door opening. 

After being fitted, prehung doors need to be painted or stained and outfitted with knobs. The space around a prehung door also needs to be finished, often with drywall, trim, and paint.

Slab

A slab door is a door without a frame or hinges, but usually includes a hole pre-cut for the doorknob. Once the door is hung in an existing frame, it just needs to be painted or stained (if necessary) and outfitted with knobs.

Door slabs can be purchased new, handbuilt by a carpenter, or salvaged from antique stores. 

Cost Differences

Slab doors are generally less expensive than prehung doors, as slab doors do not include any hardware or framing. However, price varies depending on the door’s features, such as:

  • The materials used to make the door
  • Solid vs hollow construction
  • If the door includes clear or frosted glass 
  • The intricacy of the door’s design

Knowing When to Install Each Type

Installing Prehung Doors

Prehung doors work best for rough door openings and exterior doors. 

If you are working on a project where a door frame has not yet been built or an old, damaged door frame was removed, a prehung door is a convenient option that is relatively easy to install. There is no need to build a frame, pre-cut a hole for the strike plate, or mortise the hinges, as all of those elements are provided by the manufacturer.

Additionally, prehung doors are recommended for exterior doors because they are easier to fit and come weathertight from the factory. 

While prehung doors can be installed without professional help, hiring a professional will ensure that your door is fitted properly.

Installing Slab Doors

If you are working on a renovation that has existing door frames, swapping out a door with an identical one, wanting to use a vintage door, or creating a custom door, a slab door is a good option for your project.

Perhaps you want to replace the doors in your home and keep the existing frames. Choosing a door slab that is the same size and configuration as your old door is your best option and is an easy replacement. 

You can also purchase vintage doors, which are usually slabs. Though this can add a unique touch to your space, using a vintage door in a pre-existing frame is more difficult than installing a new door. This is because vintage doors may be warped or damaged and could require extra work like straightening and sanding.

Hanging recycled, vintage, or custom-built slab doors may require more time and effort than replacing a door with one that is the same size and configuration as the previous door. Unless you are an experienced carpenter, it could also require professional help to get the door to hang and seal properly. This is also why slab doors are not recommended for exterior doors — it is much more difficult to achieve a weather-tight seal with slab doors than with prehung doors. 

Make The Best Choice For Your Design Needs

Choose from a variety of high-quality Masonite(R) interior doors brought to you by Metrie. Set the stage with premium solid and glass door options, and consider updating your trim with complementary profiles from the Metrie Option {M} line. 

For more information about Metrie’sdoor offering, click here.

*Canada distribution only.  For US customers, please visit Masonite.com.