Pre-hung vs. Slab Doors: What’s the Difference?

Choosing between pre-hung doors or slab doors might seem like a small detail when building or remodeling your home, but it’s an important decision that can affect the look, function, and durability of your doors. Let’s explore the distinctions between pre-hung and slab doors, helping you decide which is the best fit for your project.

What Is a Pre-hung Door?

A pre-hung door comes as a complete package, including the frame, hinges, and door slab. This means that the door is already attached to the frame, which needs to be installed as a unit. 

Image courtesy of Therma-Tru®

Pros & Cons of Pre-hung Doors

Installing a pre-hung door is easier and takes less time, making it a popular choice for both DIYers and professionals. Pre-hung doors also come with a weatherstripping seal, helping to reduce air infiltration, which provides energy savings and increases the weather resistance of the door.

Convenience: Pre-hung doors are ready to be installed, which means less work for you. They come with the door already hung on its hinges, fitting within a frame that’s squared and leveled.Lack of customization: While pre-hung doors are available in various designs, you might have limited options compared to slab doors, which can be customized more extensively.
Time savings: Since pre-hung doors are pre-assembled, they can be installed much faster than slab doors, which need more labor and time for proper installation. 
Consistency: Pre-hung doors offer a high level of consistency in terms of fit and finish. The door frame is precisely aligned, reducing the chance of uneven gaps or misalignment.
Secure & energy efficient: The complete frame and weatherstripping can improve security and energy efficiency, making pre-hung doors a good choice for exterior applications.

What Is a Slab Door?

A slab door only includes the door itself, without the hinges, frame, or any other hardware. This means that you’ll need to install the hinges and the doorknob or handle yourself, as well as align and fit the door into the existing frame. 

Image courtesy of Jeld-Wen®

Pros & Cons of Slab Doors

Installing a slab door is a bit more challenging and time-consuming than installing a pre-hung door, but it’s also a more versatile option as it allows you to customize the hardware, material, and frame.

Customization: Slab doors offer extensive customization options. You can choose the type of wood, design, finish, and hardware to match your specific style and needs.Alignment challenges: Slab doors require precise alignment during installation, which can be challenging for those without experience. Even minor mistakes can lead to uneven gaps and difficulties in opening and closing the door.
Versatility: Slab doors are suitable for various applications, from interior doors to closet doors, and even exterior doors with the right preparation.
Cost-effective: If you’re a skilled DIYer or have the time and patience to undertake a more involved installation, slab doors can be a cost-effective choice. However, you will need to purchase and install the additional components separately.
Easy replacement: In case of damage, replacing a slab door is generally simpler and more cost-effective compared to a pre-hung door, which might require the entire frame to be replaced.

Choosing the Right Door for Your Needs

Choosing between pre-hung doors and slab doors depends on various factors, such as your budget, DIY experience, and desired customization level. To determine whether pre-hung or slab doors are the better choice for your project, consider the following questions:

  • Installation Skill: Are you comfortable with DIY installations, or do you prefer a ready-to-install solution?
  • Customization: How important is customization to you? Slab doors offer more design flexibility.
  • Time: Do you need a quick installation, or are you willing to invest more time in a project for the sake of customization and cost savings?
  • Location: Where will the door be installed? Exterior doors are ordered pre-hung 95% of the time. The only time a slab is purchased is when it’s certain the brand of the original door and the new door slab is ordered from the same manufacturer. In that case, you should also verify that the hinges and handle line up within the existing frame as well. Interior doors can be ordered in pre-hung or slab form.

All in all, if you want a quick, secure, and weather-resistant door, a pre-hung door is your best bet. If, however, you’re working on a tight budget or want to customize a specific door style or hardware, a slab door gives you more flexibility and control. 

It’s worth noting that both styles are only as effective as their installation, so if you’re not confident in your DIY skills, it might be best to hire a professional to install your doors.

Shop Interior & Exterior Doors at Standard Supply & Lumber

At Standard Supply & Lumber, we work with leading manufacturers to ensure our products reflect the quality craftsmanship you want. Our selection of interior and exterior doors boasts popular styles from: 

Stop into one of our locations or get in touch online to learn more about our options!