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Pre-hung vs Slab Doors: What's The Difference and Which is Better?


Are you in the market for a new door and need to make a decision? Or just curious about the difference between pre-hung and slab doors? Either way this blog will help you out!


Each type of door has its own advantages and disadvantages, at the end of the day it generally comes down to your preferences and what you need. Let us explain the difference between pre-hung and slab doors as well as each type’s pros and cons. Read on for a clearer picture that may help you make a well-informed decision.


What’s The Difference?


Pre-hung Doors


Pre-hung doors are usually sold as the “complete package” by manufacturers. These doors come already installed to a door frame. Pre-hung doors are easier to install and are shipped “ready to go” to make the installation job easier and quicker compared to other door types. These doors are generally much heavier to handle - especially when you get a pre-hung exterior door which usually has a heavier/higher-density door core.



Slab Doors


Slab doors are doors that are supplied without the frame or hinges. They are simply just the door, which means you will have to purchase the frame, hinges, and everything else you may need separately. The installation of these doors may take additional effort and time, but the possibilities open up in terms of design, placement, and customisability.



Pros & Cons


Like most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which door is better, pre-hung or slab. Both types of doors have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Let’s take a look at each door’s pros and cons:


Pre-hung Door Pros


Easy installation: Seeing that pre-hung doors come pre-installed with hinges and a door frame, it results in a hassle free installation process of the door.


Shipped with all necessary hardware: Pre-hung doors come with hinges and a three-sided frame already installed, you just need to pick out your handle, plate and lock (you’ll also need the glass for a door that requires it).


Wide Variety: Pre-hung doors, although limited in some aspects regarding style and customisation, do come in quite a wide variety of different styles and materials to suit your needs.


Energy efficient and well sealed: Most pre-hung doors are designed to be energy efficient with features such as weatherstripping and insulation. They are also designed to seal very well - blocking air and water from leaking into your home.



Pre-hung Door Cons


Expensive:  Due to pre-hung doors being made with high-quality materials and coming with pre-installed hardware, they tend to be more expensive than other door options - especially if you look at doors with additional features such as custom materials etc.


Heavier than other doors: Seeing that pre-hung doors come pre-assembled with a door frame they can be much heavier than regular doors, thus making them more difficult to handle when you’re DIY-ing alone - that being said, we do recommend hiring a professional to help you install your doors.


Lacking in terms of design freedom: Pre-hung doors are generally less flexible in terms of customisation and design than slab doors are.



Slab Door Pros


Less Expensive: Due to the fact that slab doors do not come packaged with any additional hardware, they tend to be cheaper than pre-hung doors.


Lighter and easier to handle: Slab doors are purchased as just a door alone, which means that the whole item (the door) is much lighter and easier to handle than pre-hung doors. Certain types of wood weigh more than others, which means that the door you select may still be too heavy to handle by yourself.


More flexible regarding design and customisation: Due to slab doors not being constricted by the stain, paint, frame etc. - which is already installed with pre-hung doors - you can do a lot more design and custom work by yourself to ensure that the door matches your home and your vision.



Slab Door Cons


More difficult installation process: The installation of slab doors tends to be more complicated than that of pre-hung doors seeing that you are going to have to do the bulk of the work - from adding a finish to the door to installing the door frame and hardware.


Requires additional hardware: Slab doors do not come packaged with any additional hardware. You will thus need to purchase the hardware you need separately, such as: a door frame, door handles and strike plates, door locks, etc.


May need professional help and modifications: For those uncomfortable with a DIY project of this scale, you will require professional assistance, which will add to the overall cost of the project. Professional help may also be required when the door slab is too large for your doorway or door frame, as it will have to be cut to size and treated afterwards.






Pre-hung Doors

Slab Doors

Ease Of Installation


Complicated and more difficult


Packaged with all necessary hardware (excluding handles and locks)

All hardware needs to be purchased separately


Moderate variety of styles and materials (lacking in design and customisation variety)

Wide variety of styles, materials, design possibilities and customisation options

Energy Efficient Features

Generally energy efficient and sealed

May not be energy efficient or well sealed, depending on your installation


More expensive

Less expensive


Heavier and more difficult to handle

Lighter and easier to handle



Ultimately, the better door is the one that suits your goals, budget and your taste. As established above, both pre-hung and slab doors have their own set of pros and cons which means that both solve unique problems. For example, if you’re looking for a fast and easy job, then the pre-hung would likely be better for you. Similarly, if you want a fully customised door and don't mind the extra effort, a slab door would likely be your best choice.


Regardless of the type of door you select, ensure that you do your research and speak to a professional if necessary. This will ensure that you get the right door for your needs. We also  recommend that you consider hiring a professional to help you install your door, regardless of the type of door you choose. For more information on door-related topics, please check out our other blogs.