How to Remove a Metal Door Jamb
Metal door frames give added strength and durability compared to wooden frames for commercial and certain residential applications. While wood frames simply slip between the wall studs during installation, metal frames are designed to wrap around the studs, making removal more difficult. Identifying the type of frame used in the opening makes it easier to reveal fasteners and successfully remove metal frames.
Remove Three-Piece Frames
Examine the horizontal header of the frame. If you can see visible lines between the header and each jamb, the frame is a three-piece or knockdown frame. If the frame has been welded along these lines or no lines are present, follow the instructions for welded frame removal.
Remove the screws securing the hinges to the frame, then carefully lift the door off the hinges and set it aside.
Look for fasteners along the bottom of the door frame. Use a screwdriver or drill to remove these fasteners. If you don't see any fasteners near the bottom of the frame, use a pry bar to gently remove the baseboard along either side of the frame to reveal concealed sill anchors. Use the drill or screwdriver to remove the fasteners securing these anchors in place.
Back out any remaining screws securing the frame to the studs. Check both sides of the opening to ensure you removed all screws.
Grasp one leg of the frame along the bottom near the floor and slide it along the door sill until it rests at roughly a 30-degree angle from the studs. This allows you to disconnect the jamb from the header by disengaging the tabs holding the two together near the top of the frame. Set aside the jamb.
Pull the header down at an angle until you are able to disengage the tabs connecting it to the remaining jamb.
Grasp the remaining jamb and pull it off the stud to remove it from the opening.
Remove Welded Frames
Examine the horizontal header of the frame. If you can see visible lines between the header and each jamb, follow the instructions for removal of three-piece or knockdown frames. If the frame has been welded along these lines or no lines are present, you are working with a welded or one-piece frame.
Remove all screws connecting the hinges to the frame, then lift the door out of the opening and set it aside.
Look for any visible fasteners in the frame and use the screwdriver or drill to remove them.
Put on safety glasses and use the pry bar to pry each jamb of the frame away from the wall. This reveals concealed fasteners connecting the frame to the studs. Slip a reciprocating saw or grinder between the frame and the stud, and use it to cut any hidden fasteners or anchors. Repeat on both sides of the opening to free the frame from the studs.
Cut the frame at each end of the header using the reciprocating saw or grinder to divide the frame into three separate sections.
Slide one jamb of the frame away from the stud, starting at the bottom until it forms roughly a 30-degree angle to the stud. Disengage the tabs connecting the header to the jamb. Perform this step carefully to keep the header from falling as you already may have cut the tabs while cutting the frame in the previous step.
Disengage the tabs connecting the header to the remaining jamb and remove the header from the opening.
Grasp the remaining jamb and pull it away from the stud and out of the opening.
- The jambs of a metal frame connect to the header using simple tabs that slip together without the use of fasteners. They can be separated by hand.
- Make sure the grinder or reciprocating saw is equipped to cut through metal.
Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
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