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How to Install a Steel Door Frame in Steel Stud 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 the 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 are using a 4-1/2 inch hinge, an ASA strike, and both regular arm and parallel arm closer reinforcements. A standard five and three-quarter-inch steel stud anchor will be used when your wall system consists of a three and five-eighth-inch steel stud using 5/8 inch drywall on each side. Some frame installations may require non-standard or custom anchors. For this installation, we’re using both standard steel stud and wood stud anchors.

Next, determine if the floor finish will be concrete, carpet, wood, or tile. Always verify 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 flooring when installation of the frame is complete.

Some wood and tile finishes, such as quarry, are up to 3/4 inch thick; the 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 by grinding it off; do not bend or twist it off.

At this point, the steel studs will be in place, leaving out the studs around the rough opening. Stand the frame up in the wall line at the proposed location. Using a proper size spreader, 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. Make sure the frame is positioned to allow for the thickness of the drywall.

Anchor the base anchors to the floor on each jamb using a concrete screw or drive pin-type anchor. In this application, we are using a drive pin anchor. Install a minimum of six anchors; place three on the hinge jamb and three on the strike jamb. Proper anchor spacing is important; an anchor must be above each hinge and directly across at the same height on the strike jamb. We’re installing a 7-foot frame in this application; frames taller than seven feet, six inches will require additional anchors. For additional guidance on anchor placement, consult the industry standards as published by the Steel Door Institute. If your installation requires electrical components, now is the time to install conduits or flex cable for low-voltage wire.

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 head of the frame for level accuracy; you may need to adjust the base anchors to achieve a level head and proper floor clearance. Now move the studding in place and begin screwing the studs to the track at the bottom, installing screws on each side of the stud. Once the base of the stud is anchored, proceed with securing the studs against each jamb to the top steel stud plate. Then install screws on both sides of the stud.

Next, install the header above the frame. The stud should be perpendicular to the steel stud track. The dimension between the jambs should be the same at the top and bottom of the frame. At this point, the frame has not yet been anchored to the stud. Check the frame again for plumb, level, and square. Go to the top steel stud anchor on the strike jamb and secure it with screws. The hinge and strike jambs should be plumb in all directions.

Position the top of the hinge jamb to the stud so that it will accept the proper thickness drywall on each side. Due to the type of framing conditions that we have here at this opening, we’ve chosen to use a wood stud anchor. The wood stud anchor has ears on it which allows us to bend the ears, wrap it around the stud, and then face screw it to the stud for an easier application. Bend the anchor ear around the stud to hold the anchor in place. Attach the anchor to the stud with the screws provided. Once the anchors are secured, check the frame for plumb. Making sure the frame is plumb, level, and square ensures that the door, once installed, will operate properly.

Once the dimension and trueness of the frame are verified, the remainder of the frame anchors can be screwed to the studs. Each anchor should be secured with a minimum of two screws. When using wood stud anchors, be sure to bend the ears tightly against the stud. After the frame is secured to the studs and tightly anchored, it should be checked again for trueness in all directions. If the opening requires it, verify electrical wiring needs.

When the drywall installer arrives, the installer should check that the frame is plumb, level, and square before hanging the drywall. It is the drywall installer’s responsibility to avoid excessive shoving of the drywall into the hinge, strike, or head jambs and throwing the frame out of alignment. Spreaders should be left in place during the hanging of drywall to help prevent the frame from being knocked out of plumb. During the drywall installation, it may be necessary to chamfer back the edge of the drywall so it can slip over screw heads that may be present around the frame because of the studding. As you install the drywall, gently work it in and around the frame, trying to avoid knocking the frame out of alignment. Once the drywall is in place, replumb the frame and then anchor off the drywall.

The frame should again be checked for trueness before screwing the drywall off to the perimeter studs around the frame. The 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.

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Updated on November 29, 2023

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