Widening an exterior door

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by shluffer, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. shluffer

    shluffer New Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The situation:
    I have a wooden exterior door which has four hinged panels. It open at the junction of the middle two panes, and the door opens like a bifold on both sides (exactly like a bifold closet door, but heavier and designed for an exterior door). I am planning on replacing it with a sliding door. The problem is that the rough opening after I tear out the door will be 95 inches (stud to stud). It may have more space, but i can't see except to confirm the 95.

    On either side of the door (or at least on the side that I have managed to open up so far) there are three studs sistered together supporting the header. I assume that this wall is structural, but the only thing above it is a roof (the house in one story in this area).

    The problem:
    The door I want to put in (not yet ordered:) ) requires a 96 1/8 rough opening.

    Possible solutions
    1. I would like to add a stud to the left side of the three studs sistered together on the left side of the door (facing from the inside), and then remove the stud the furthest to the right. I would do this on both sides (but add farthest to the right and remove farthest to the left on the right side of the door). This will increase the opening size to 99 inches. I would then have to add in a stud on either side of the door 1.25 inches wide to get the opening down to the proper 96.5.
    2. Purchase a custom sized door two inches smaller (this doubles the cost of the door and is not as energy efficient)
    3. Put in a smaller door and close up the wall (the wife wants the light from the larger door so this is suboptimal)
    4. Put in a smaller door and close up the wall with floor to ceiling non-operable windows (this would be more complicated in getting everything sized out correctly, but would be doable)

    I would like to go with solution 1. Will this solution work? Will I be weakening the structural integrity of the house above the new door? Are one of the other options just plain better? If so why? Is there a better solution I haven't thought of?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,819
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    What if you pull one stud and replace it with a 1 x 4?
    You pick up 3/4" that way and wind up with 95.75"
  3. shluffer

    shluffer New Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My concern about moving one side is that it would push the door off center. There is only 10 inches of wall on either side, so I was thinking it would be noticable. Now that you mension the idea, I'm thinking that I wouldn't notice the inch or half inch that it would be off.

    The studs are true 2x4 (its an old house) so putting in a 1x2 would give me an extra 1.25 inches getting me up to 96.25. I need 96.125. I think your solution is better than mine. Its a little less work without loosing any aestetic. I would have to check with the wife is the off-center will bother her.

    My big concern is the structural issue. Will moving the studs (or maybe only one) weaken the structure? I can't imagine it would but I'm nervous about it.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Exterior walls are load bearing. If it is on the end with the gable, it is at lease supporting the gable wall above, and possibly some floor. If it is on the slope of the roof, it is holding up the roof!

    To mess with anything there, I would probably want to construct a temporary support wall about 1' inside.

    Frankly, it will be quite a bit of work to modify that structure. Considering all the work and the cost of that, I think I would opt for a custom door. If you are in a large city, there should be a door and window factory within striking distance. Get quotes from some "door and window" factories, HD, and your best bet may be the local commercial lumber yard.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Are ALL three studs UNDER the header? If so, then modifying one would not harm the structural intergrity of the opening. However, if it is the normal way with only the one under the header and the other two adjacent to it, then you may have to rethink your options, but it also depends on the direction of the ceiling joists if they are setting above the header or are parallel to it.
  6. shluffer

    shluffer New Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have attempted to attach a picture. The drawing is not even close to scale. The line above the studs is the header. I think it is doing double duty as the header for the door and support for the roof joist above, but I'm not sure. I don't think it does both, but would like to err on assuming it does. The only thing above the room is a flat roof (tar). The inerior wall (on the left facing the door as pictured) is load bearing and supports the second and third story above the room to the left of the room I am making changes in. The wall on the right is an exterior wall, also load bearing. The header runs the entire length of the pictured wall with the door in it. So it is supported in the corners where the pictured wall meets the walls on the left and right, as well as with the three pictures 2x4s on each side. Once I'm done I will have moved the support for the doorway either an inch an a half on one side, or three quarters of an inch on both sides from the center of the door, and reduced its thickness from 6 inches to 5.75 (the current are true 2x4).

    The floor joysts run parallel to the header. I don't know which way the ceiling ones run in this specific ceiling, and would have to tear out the ceiling to figure it out. In the room next door, they run parrallel to the header. There should be a joist above my header, but it may be supported by the header, so I am trying to make this decition based on the header being "supporting".

    It is also worth noting that this room was a sunroom before the prior owners created this door and removed a cople of windows. I have reason to beleive this wall had two windows with no support for the roof in between (that is how the other side of the room is set up)

    My process would be:
    1) add the yellow studs (don't want to remove support untill I add other support)
    2) remove the red studs
    3) put a 1x2 on each side where the red studs have been removed

    One side may be enough to get the rough opening I need, but I may to both to be able to center the door. If it is centered enought moving only one is up to the wife.

    The outside wall in this part of the house is not an issue to fix, so that part is not an issue.

    Attached Files:

  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    if your drawing is accurate, then the two red studs are redundant and can be replaced by 1x4's to give you adequate space, AND center the door.
  8. shluffer

    shluffer New Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I checked. the header goes all the way across. I don't see any rafters perpendicular to the door, so they must run parallell.

    If anyone is interested I'll post pictures once the inside wall is out and there is something to see. I would be doing it in the hope someone would comment if there is something that needs modification. This will be slow, so it may not hold anyones interest (the wife expects it to be 6+ months and I don't want to dissapoint)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
Similar Threads: Widening exterior
Forum Title Date
Remodel Forum & Blog DUROCK Cement Board for Exterior Walls Dec 25, 2013
Remodel Forum & Blog Exterior Wall Set directly on joists - is it ok? Nov 19, 2013
Remodel Forum & Blog Mold inside exterior walls, WTF!!! Feb 26, 2013
Remodel Forum & Blog Need some guidance on an exterior painting problem Sep 13, 2012
Remodel Forum & Blog Triming Exterior Fiberglass Door Jun 13, 2011

Share This Page