Drywall is a terrific material to use for those looking to save some money when renovating. It’s great for walls and ceilings and has a number of uses that make it a very common building material. But when installing doorways into new or remodeled walls, does the drywall need to be flush?
Drywall should be flush with the door jamb to prevent gaps between the jamb and the frame or molding. Door jambs are designed to be supportive and functional, and if they’re not level or flush with the drywall, you may have problems using the door or see issues in keeping your home warm or cool.
Drywall and door jambs can be incredibly difficult to work with and install. So, read on to learn more about door jambs and why they should always be flush with the drywall.
Why Drywall Should Be Flush With the Door Jamb
The jamb is part of the frame for the door. It consists of two vertical jambs and a head jam. The jamb is often confused with the frame, as it outlines the door area. However, the door frame also includes:
- The bottom sill
- The door frame stop (so the door doesn’t swing both ways)
- The architrave (decorative molding that covers the jam)
This part of the door is typically made of wood and is covered with trim or a casing, which means it doesn’t need to look perfect. That said, the fit does need to be perfect; otherwise, you’ll see gaps and holes around the frame.
A few other reasons drywall should always be flush with the door jamb include:
- It can be unsightly
- It will prevent the trim from fitting properly
- It may prevent the door from opening and closing properly
- It may affect heating and cooling in certain rooms
Poorly Installed Door Jambs Can Lead to Weakened Walls
As you can see, the door jamb plays a number of important roles. One of the main functions of a jamb is to provide leveling and support. The frame and casings attach to the jamb, so it needs to be strong enough to hold that weight.
If you have a weak jamb, your door likely won’t close well, won’t stay closed, and might even fall off the hinges.
You May Notice a Loss of Insulation
Without properly installed door jambs, your home could leak hot or cool air. For example, if there is a gap between the jamb and the drywall on an exterior wall, you’ll probably feel air seeping in.
Inside the house, you might notice that your heater or air conditioner has to work harder to maintain ambient temperature, which can make your energy bills higher too.
You’ll often see such gaps when the trim is installed, as it sits over the jamb and the drywall, hiding the seam. So if one of those sits further back than the other, the trim will have nothing to fit against.
Check out this video to see how that may look and hear about some simple solutions:
There Is a Higher Possibility of Mold or Pest Infestation
There are no significant factors that will harm building materials inside your home. So, even if you were to spill water on your door frame or have high concentrations of moisture in your home, it’s very unlikely that it would damage the drywall.
However, if your drywall is not flush with the door jamb, you may encounter issues with insulation or even find critters in your walls.
Having a hole, even a small one, in your wall can lead to moisture and animals creeping in and out of the space. While trim and caulking can help reduce these problems, they won’t eliminate them entirely.
The Door Will Not Function Properly
If the drywall is raised away from the door jamb, chances are the door won’t function properly. This is because the edge of the door will likely catch the frame as it opens and closes.
Not only can this lead to damages to the trim and molding, but it can even prevent the lock from falling into place.
How To Fix the Gap Between the Door Jamb and Drywall
One of the most used methods of fixing a gap between the door jamb and drywall is to cut away the excess drywall.
If the door jamb is recessed, you can hold the trim in place and then use a razor knife to cut away the excess drywall.
Unfortunately, that often doesn’t look as good since the molding will then be flush to the wall.
Another method of fixing that gap is to use a small strip of wood to fill the space. Here’s how it’s done:
- Determine the size of the gap. In most cases, it will be the thickness of the drywall.
- Buy some long wooden sticks of the same thickness as the gap. They’re available in most home improvement stores.
- Cut the wooden strips to the appropriate size and width. This may be easier in smaller sections.
- Using a nail gun, secure the strips in place. They should sit snugly in the gap and make the space flush.
- Prime and paint the area. Finish by attaching the trim.
Check out this video for a visual on this method:
Using Door Jamb Extensions
Another way to fix this issue is to purchase door jamb extensions (link to Home Depot). These are mostly used in situations where the door jamb and the wall have a bigger gap or significant difference in thickness.
To use door jamb extensions:
- Measure the gap between the door jamb and the wall.
- Carefully remove the door and its frame.
- Purchase the extension material in the appropriate size and width (find this number by measuring the distance between the outer walls).
- Remove any molding or trim from the door frame.
- Clean the area, including sanding and removing any leftover nails.
- Secure the jamb extensions (using the instructions provided) with nails and wood glue.
- Refit the casing or molding.
- Reinstall the door into the existing space.
Check out this video to see how to do this properly:
When installing drywall, you need to ensure it sits flush with any door jambs. If it’s not flush, you may experience issues with the door’s function and a loss of heat or cooling through the gaps.
If the wall is not a standard width, you may need to purchase jamb extenders. Ultimately, when redesigning a door, calling in a professional may be the best course of action.
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As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.