1. RLC Home Knowledge Base
  2. Commercial Products
  3. Commercial Frames
  4. How to Install a Steel Door Frame in Masonry Construction

How to Install a Steel Door Frame in Masonry Construction

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

In any building project, secure openings require proper frame installation. In this video, you will learn how to prepare, install, and verify the proper installation of a door frame.

Locate the frame at the door opening location. Verify the frame opening number to the actual opening location number; the two should match. Next, compare the handing and size of the frame to the drawing. Also, check the hardware schedule. Contact your distributor if the information does not match. Verify that the proper hardware reinforcements are installed on the frame. Also, verify the hinge size, strike type, and closer mounting. For this installation, we’re using a 4-1/2 inch hinge, an ASA strike, and both regular arm and parallel arm closer reinforcements. Wire anchors work in a variety of masonry applications and will be used in this installation.

Next, determine if the floor finish will be concrete, carpet, wood, or tile. Always verify the floor conditions to the drawing before setting the frame. Circumstances may call for mounting the frame directly to the concrete. There may be carpet. There may be tile. There may be ceramic tile, or there may be wood flooring to go into place. Adjust the frame properly to the floor conditions so that the doors will not drag the floor when installation is complete.

Some wood and tile finishes, such as quarry, are up to 3/4 inch thick. Frames may need to be adjusted off the subfloor for different thickness floor coverings. In this application, there are no additional floor coverings, and no frame adjustment is required. Frames are provided with adjustable base anchors that allow you to adapt for floor surfaces up to 1-3/8 inches. Contact your job supervisor for verification of finished flooring.

The frame may be shipped already welded, or it may ship KD (knocked down). In this installation, our frame is pre-welded. In a KD frame, some assembly is required; it is minimal. Slots and tabs go together, and the most important tab connection is at the rabbet part of the frame. Those tabs should be bent in an outward position. Install base anchors to the frame using the screws provided.

Pre-welded frames are transported to the job site using a shipping bar to prevent the frame from twisting in transit. This bar is not to be used as a spreader bar to set the frame. The shipping bar comes welded from the factory. It is important that it is properly removed grinding it off; do not bend or twist it off. Stand the frame up in the wall line at the proposed location using the spreader that is precisely cut to the door opening specification, place it between the hinge and strike jambs at the floor. The spreaders must be cut squarely and accurately; this will help in aligning the jambs as they are anchored to the floor. This is very critical.

Anchor the base anchors to the floor on each jamb using a concrete screw or dry thin-type anchor. In this application, we’re using a drive pin anchor. Check to ensure the frame has not moved away from the layout lines. Check the head of the frame for level accuracy. Throughout any frame installation, it is important that the frame is continually checked for plumb, level, and square; this cannot be emphasized enough. You may need to adjust the base anchors to achieve a level head and proper floor clearance. You can shim the bottom of the jamb with a flat washer or a fender washer. Always check for level accuracy after you make an adjustment.

With the frame in place, the jamb should be temporarily braced. For our installation, we will use two by fours to brace the unit. If your installation requires electrical components, now is the time to install conduit or flex cable for low-voltage wiring. Next, install a piece of tie wire 48 inches from the finished floor around the frame. Twist the wire tight; this creates inward tension to hold the spreader in place. Now, place another spreader in between the hinge and strike jambs. This mid-frame spreader is important for keeping the frame straight and in alignment. Check the frame for plumb, level, and square accuracy.

Before the mason begins laying block, the mason should check the frame is plumb, level, and square. With the frame now temporarily braced, and plumb and level in all directions, the laying of the block may begin. As the brick-layer begins to lay the block, the courses should be brought up evenly on both sides of the door frame. Care should be taken not to push the frame out of plumb with the block. Fill the jamb with mortar evenly up both sides. Lightly tap the frame to settle the mortar.

At the third course, or approximately 24 inches off the floor, lay in a wire anchor on the hinge and strike jambs. Once this is complete, check the frame again for plumb, level, and square in all directions. Adjust as needed. Continue laying the block. Fill the jamb with mortar evenly up both sides. Lightly tap the frame to settle the mortar. At the sixth course, or approximately 48 inches off the floor, lay in another anchor on the hinge and strike jambs. Again, check the frame again for plumb and level in all directions and adjust as needed. Continue laying the block.

After laying eight or nine courses, the masonry should be allowed to set up overnight. The spreaders and the temporary back bracing should remain in place overnight. Before leaving the site for the day, clean any mortar out of the hinged pockets and strike reinforcements. Also, clear any mortar droppings away from the face of the frame.

At the start of day two, remove the back braces. Be careful not to damage the door frame. Spreaders should remain in place if possible. Fill the jambs with mortar evenly up both sides, lightly tap the frame to settle the mortar. At the ninth course, or approximately 72 inches off the floor, lay in another anchor on the hinge and strike jambs. Again, check the frame for plumb, level, and square, and adjust as needed. Continue to lay the block up to the top of the frame.

The head will now need to be filled with mortar. Anytime you fill a head with mortar that is over 42 inches in length, to prevent sagging, always putting in a vertical brace from the bottom of the head down to the floor. Shim the vertical brace as needed to maintain the levelness of the head. After the lintel is laid over the frame, the frame head should again be checked for level, ensuring no sagging has taken place. Your frame installation is now complete and ready for the next stage of construction. If you have any frame installation questions, please contact your distributor or project job supervisor for assistance.

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

Related Articles
Hollow Metal Masonry Frame
Hollow Metal Masonry Frame Installation

Updated on November 29, 2023

Was this article helpful?