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How to Install Punch and Dimple Frames in Masonry Construction

Below is a transcription of this video, which was created by the Steel Door Institute.

How to install punch and dimple frames in a masonry opening: In any building project, secure openings require the proper installation of a door frame. In this video, we’ll demonstrate how to install punch and dimple frames in a masonry opening.

Select the appropriate materials and tools for the project. Locate the correct frame by matching the opening number to the number on the frame. Ensure the rough opening has the proper dimensions per the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Be sure to check the opening height in two places across the width of the opening. The width should be measured at three places – top, middle and bottom. This will help determine the amount of shimming that may be needed to install the frame. Note: The rough opening shall be no less than 1/4 inch larger in width and 3/16th inch in height than the frame. The maximum rough opening should not exceed 3/8 inch larger than the frame width and 1/4 inch in height.

Check the opening for plumb, level, and square. Use a six-foot level for both jambs and a framing square for the corners. If the rough opening is out of spec for plumb, level or square, do not proceed with installing the frame. Determine the placement of the frame within the width of the wall for the job specification. It may be centered or offset to one side of the opening. If installing a knockdown frame, assemble the frame per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re installing a welded frame, remove the shipping spreader bar before placing the frame in the opening.

Make a mark at the top and the bottom of the masonry wall. Snap a chalk line between the two marks. Set the frame into the opening using the chalk line on the wall to locate it. Install the setting spreader bar at the bottom of the frame. Verify that the head is level. If it’s not level, shim under the bottom of the frame, keeping the hinge side tight to the wall and adding shims to the lock side to tighten the frame to the spreader bar. If more than 1/4 inch shim is needed, divide the amount of shims evenly between the two jambs. Make sure all four rabbets of the frame touch the spreader; this will prevent the twist in the frame. Add shims to the jambs and measure to ensure the appropriate width is maintained. Align the hinge jamb to the chalk line. Check the jamb for level and plumb.

Determine the size hole needed for the anchor as per the installation instructions or project specifications. We recommend drilling and anchoring one anchor at a time. Start with the bottom anchor on the hinge jamb. Drill and install the anchor. Ensure the frame remains plumb and level, and then tighten the anchor to the manufacturer’s recommended torque. Verify the frame’s alignment is correct. Then, install the top and middle anchors, checking the frame alignment as each anchor is installed. Also, check the jamb for straightness with the level as each anchor bolt is installed. Tape a string to the front of the frame and opposite corners, running diagonally to confirm their alignment. Leave the string in place until the frame is completely installed.

Begin anchoring the strike jamb in the same sequence as the hinge jamb. Be sure to check the width at the center of the frame as you install the anchors. Remove the string and spreader bar. Fill any gaps between the frame and wall with caulk or backerod. Your frame installation is complete and is now ready for the next phase of construction.

The procedures in this video are only guidelines. Please follow all applicable building codes, standards, and accepted practices specific to your geographic location.

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Updated on November 29, 2023

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