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What Is a Kerf Jamb?

Tuesday September 21st, 2021
Whether you're building or renovating a home, the finished product requires several considerations regarding the details. One detail you might not think makes a difference is the type of door jambs you use in your home. A kerf door jamb is one type that's becoming more popular for its clean lines and modern look without the use of traditional door case moldings.

8 Reasons to Use a Kerf Jamb

  1. Clean, Finished Look
  2. Modern and Minimalist Styles
  3. Prevents the Need for Case Mouldings
  4. Bullnose and L Corner Options
  5. Works for Interior and Exterior Use
  6. Weatherstripping
  7. Allows for a 180-Degree Swing
  8. Accommodates Different Door Styles and Sizes
The main purpose of a door jamb is to hold a door in place. The jamb is where the hinges affix to the frame to allow it to remain in position and swing open and shut. But there's actually a lot more that goes into a door jamb. It also acts as part of the door seal system, allowing for weather stripping to keep water and air from coming into your home (or letting the air you want to stay in escape). Additionally, a door jamb can look different, depending on the type you use, which can affect the overall design of your home's interior or exterior.

And a kerf door jamb has its own set of unique features that influence your home's weatherstripping capabilities, door function, and design. Cutting kerf in the door jamb is becoming more popular—especially in homes with minimalist and modern designs—but the look isn't for everyone. Understanding what a kerf and kerf door jamb are, how they function, and how they influence a final look can help you decide whether to use a kerf door frame in your home.

What Is a Kerf Jamb?

A door jamb helps support and secure a door to the frame. In fact, it's one of the most important parts of a door because it keeps the door in place and allows it to swing open and shut. Of course, this is only the case with traditional doors that sit on one side of the door frame, rather than other types of doors that rotate from hinges affixed to the top and bottom or slide along a track.

In the case of a traditional door jamb, the jamb secures the door with each hinge. Where the jamb and drywall connect is usually hidden with door casing, also known as molding. The casing hides any rough-looking edges that appear when the door frame and drywall unite.

A kerf cut door jamb eliminates the need for door casing. For this type of jamb, a kerf, or small slit, is cut into the jamb to allow the edging of the drywall to fit within the jamb. Cutting kerf in a door jamb creates a more unified look between the drywall and door jamb, so there's nothing to hide with door molding. For this reason, you'll typically hear a kerf door jamb also referred to as a caseless door jamb.

What's the benefit of a kerfed door jamb over other types of jambs, like the rabbeted door jamb and split jambs? The primary difference of a kerfed jamb is its ability to transform the look of a door frame. The finished look will be clean and smooth, which works well with modern designs, whether for an interior or exterior door. On the downside, the kerf door jamb will set you back in costs more than others, as they typically take a few extra steps and more precision to install properly.

8 Reasons to Use a Kerf Jamb

There's a lot to consider when building or renovating a home, and the look of your doors is one of them. A traditional door casing might be the norm, but that doesn't always make it the best fit for your home. Here's what to know about a kerf door jamb and its benefits.

1. Clean, Finished Look

Normally, a drywall corner bead sits against a door frame and door jamb. To cover the area where they meet and create a cleaner look, the frame gets covered with wood trim, also known as door casing or molding. But molding might not be the right option for every exterior or interior door.

Grooved door jambs, like the kerf jamb, offer a space for the drywall corner bead to fit snugly within the jamb. The kerf gets cut to the size necessary for a drywall corner bead (depending on sheetrock thickness) for perfectly sized housing. The result is a super clean and finished look to accommodate higher-end styles.

2. Modern and Minimalist Styles

Minimalist and modern styles tend to fit the kerf door jamb best. These two styles focus on impactful designs with clean lines and minimal accessories. Adding a kerfed door jamb detail to your doors can create the smooth lines around your door that these styles require.

A drywall corner bead helps accomplish this look. The bead installs on the outside of two pieces of drywall where their corners meet. With a kerf jamb, the end of the drywall corner bead tucks into the kerf, resulting in that same smooth look. Ultimately, door casing won't distract from your modern, clean look.

3. Prevents the Need for Case Mouldings

Whether you just aren't a fan of the look of case moldings or you want to match your doors to your kerf window jambs, a kerf slot will give you the flush finish around the doors that you prefer. Sometimes, door placements won't allow for the same size case molding to wrap around each side and the top of the door, leaving one side's molding a different size than the other. In this case, not having to add a case molding can be the better option.

4. Bullnose and L Corner Options

A kerf door jamb allows for both a straight and clean L corner or bullnose trims for exterior or interior doors. Bullnose trims create a rounded look for smooth corners and transitions. Bullnose kerf trims also come in a few different sizes to get just the right curve for your door frame. A bullnose kerf results in a slightly softer finished look than L corner trims.

5. Works for Interior and Exterior Use

Kerfed flat jambs can be used on a wood door or double doors both inside and outside of your home, so it's easy to get a matching look throughout. Kerf door jambs are sturdy and reliable enough to hold various door sizes, including heavier exterior doors.

One of the perks of kerf door jambs is how the door insulation strip sits snugly inside the kerf cut into the jamb, allowing for exterior door weather stripping and interior door draft prevention in every room.

6. Weatherstripping

A kerf door jamb allows for almost unmatched door weatherstripping, or the ability to keep water and air from seeping in. To weatherstrip a kerf door, you place the foam weather stripping seal into the kerf cut into the frame. Contractors use kerfs not just on doors, but also windows to allow for a kerf weatherstrip to seal frames.

Kerf door jamb weather stripping is among the most reliable you'll find for your interior and exterior doors. When the door closes against the weatherstrip-containing kerf, it seals shut against the door frame. This allows your home to keep heating and cooling costs down and can prevent pests from entering.

Additionally, some door jambs that don't have ample weatherstripping in place might already be rotting from moisture. In some cases, cutting a kerf into the door jamb and adding a weather strip into the kerf can be a temporary fix to prevent further weather damage. Contact a professional if you're unsure about whether your door jamb is sturdy enough to do this with or whether it would benefit from a replacement.

7. Allows for a 180-Degree Swing

A kerf door jamb offers a unique perk that traditional door jambs can't guarantee: they allow a 180-degree door swing with completely concealed hinges. Unlike regular doors and jambs that swing open one way, a door jamb with a kerf allows the door to sit flush with its frame and the wall. Therefore, there's nothing on the frame that gets in the way of the door opening in either direction.

You'll see this type of door in places like hospitals or hotels, where one door works to close off the main room and the bathroom. However, you could also use this type of door in a bedroom with a master bathroom, as an example.

Double hinges can work on some traditional door frames, but a jerk door jamb can hide the hinges completely within the frame. The finished look comes from kerfs cut into the door jamb and the hinged side of the door, with each kerf housing one side of the hinge.

8. Accommodates Different Door Styles and Sizes

An important consideration to make in the type of door jamb you use for your interior or exterior doors is what kinds of door styles and sizes they can accommodate. The good news is that a kerf jamb can hold lightweight to heavy doors, allowing you to install just about any kind of door you want. A kerfed frame is just as strong as any other.

What's more important than the type of jamb is quality materials and a professional installation. Kerf door jambs can be challenging to install, which is why they're usually best left for professionals. The same holds true for any door and door frame if you're not experienced with installing. A professional will know the best materials to use and can get the job done correctly the first time.

Avoid skimping on costs involved to install a kerf door jamb and your new doors, and your door frames will be the perfect partners to your ideal interior and exterior doors.

Everything You Need to Know About the Kerf Door Jamb

Rustica features several types of doors for inside or outside your home. Each door can be customized to your needs to accommodate different door frame sizes and home styles. With several finishes available, your new door will be tailor-made for your home.

Rustica's with you every step of the way as you choose the right door for your space. If you're still deciding what type of door jamb would work best for the new door you've had your eyes on, reach out to Rustica. We can suggest the right type of jamb to complement your door, whether it's double doors for the dining room or an aluminum exterior door. Each door and hardware kit also comes with detailed installation instructions to help you out.

Visit Rustica.com to shop our selection of doors online, and reach out to us via chat, phone, or social media with any door jamb questions you may have.


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