Installing drywall seems like a pretty straightforward task, but it is often surprisingly complicated in reality.
There are many factors to consider, with perhaps the most glaring issue being whether you should install doors before or after applying drywall.
Generally, it’s best to put in doors after fully installing drywall. By putting in drywall first, you’ll be able to better align the doorframe’s edges to easily install them and avoid potentially damaging the doorframes or getting them dirty.
Let’s look at how to properly put in doors with drywall, why it’s so important to install them in a particular order, and any other questions you probably have about the whole process.
Should You Install Doors Before or After Drywall?
In most cases, opt to install doors before drywall.
Installing doors should usually be one of the last things on your list in general for commercial construction, home building, or home improvement project.
Suppose you’re paying professional construction workers to install your drywall. In that case, there’s a good chance they’ll encourage you to allow them to go ahead and remove any doors and then re-install them after the drywall is up anyway.
There are a few key reasons why doors should go in last–or, at least, after your drywall is complete.
Drywall Installation is Messy
First, and perhaps most importantly, putting up drywall before installing doors makes both parts of the building process a lot tidier.
This is mainly because installing drywall is messy and sometimes even slightly destructive.
No matter which of the many drywall suppliers you get your products from, a bit of a mess is inevitable.
Depending on the type of doors you’re setting up, you don’t want to risk any delicate trim, staining, or glass becoming damaged, dirty, or broken.
For example, getting drywall dust and mud all over your doors, or worse, potentially breaking glass or irreparably damaging some intricate artwork, staining, or design on the door due to some minor knife damage is a definite possibility when installing drywall around them.
Excess Humidity Damages Wood
Another thing to consider is how much moisture is released into the air while installing drywall.
Excess humidity in the air during the drywall, taping, and painting process is problematic, as this will affect how the doors fit and potentially warp and damage the finished surface of the wood.
Learn how long to wait before painting drywall in our article here.
Installing Doors is Easier with Drywall Already in Place
Having drywall already in place before installing doors, particularly pre-hung doors, also makes the door installation process a lot easier.
When you hang them, it’s helpful to have the drywall follow as a guideline to install them in the correct locations.
Having those guidelines is hugely helpful if you aren’t a pro with high-level construction skills.
In short, applying drywall is a lot easier without having doors in the way the entire time.
Should You Install Doors Before or After Painting Walls?
Once more, doors should be one of the last (if not the last) parts in remodeling, building, or home improvement projects.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll usually need to go in this order: install drywall, paint the walls, and install doors.
The main and most obvious reason why you install the doors after painting the walls is to prevent the doors from becoming dirty or damaged during the painting process.
Plus, as we went over earlier, even a small amount of humidity released into the air during the painting process also has a chance of slightly warping the wood over time or causing it to expand in odd ways.
This will affect how well it fits the finished wall and possibly slightly offsets the door.
If you do all the necessary measuring to install the door after painting the walls around it, you won’t run into this issue.
But what if you need to paint or apply some kind of stain or finish to the doors themselves?
Should You Paint Doors Before or After Hanging Them?
If you need to paint or stain your wood doors, do so before hanging and installing them.
Painting a door after it’s been installed is a bit of a pain, and it’s tricky for most people to get an even, neat-looking paint job this way.
However, if you’re paying professionals to do the job, there’s a chance they’ll potentially want to install the doors before painting them or do them around the same time.
By doing this, they can caulk and paint the doors in one go.
If they have a lot of experience doing this, it’s usually not an issue.
It is possible to do this well if you’re careful and particular enough.
Still, for novices without a lot of experience who want to attempt DIY-ing everything, it’s better to take things slower, paint the doors first, and then install the fully finished doors.
Should You Install Flooring Before or After Drywall?
In most cases, flooring should also be installed after drywall before installing doors and painting the walls.
Saving the floor for last is best (especially with floors like heavy carpet, for example) to prevent damaging, staining, or spilling paint or any other products on it while putting up drywall (including ceiling drywall), installing doors, windows, etc.
Depending on the project and what needs to be done, you’ll risk doing a lot of harm to your flooring if you install it first.
Furthermore, even if you have a lot of feet of floor space to cover, you’ll be able to protect your new finished floor from any paint spills, dust, and other debris anyway with the help of a utility knife, some old cloths or tarps, and tape.
Then you won’t need to worry about it when painting the walls.
Having flooring installed before putting in any doors is also usually recommended so the doors won’t constantly be in the way while you’re installing the flooring.
However, depending on the job, the exact order you (or the hired professionals) go in will vary somewhat.
For example, putting in doors after installing flooring isn’t always a great idea if the flooring is especially delicate and prone to damage like scuffing.
Alternatively, putting in flooring after doors is troublesome in some cases, as the doors often need to be trimmed to better fit the floor measurements.
In short, it depends on the job and the preferences of the person doing it–but usually, it’s best to install flooring after drywall and before you paint the walls and put in any doors.