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>Home >Basement construction >How to frame a door

How to frame a door

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Before we get started, here are some general door framing tips for DIYers:

  • Buy prehung doors - These are doors that are already mounted in the frame. It will save you headaches later.
  • Normal 'room size' doors are 30" or 32". If you need extra space, such as an entry to a storage area, go with a 36" door.
  • When you design your basement, pay attention to which way the door will open. Will it open
    in? Or out? Left-handed or right-handed? The doors will be labeled with a diagram- make sure you get the correct one.
  • Normally the rough opening for the door is 2" taller and wider than the door. Therefore, the rough opening for a 32" x 80" (height is pretty standard) door would be 34" x 82".
  • Solid-core doors will keep the sound in (and out) much better than hollow-core doors. If noise is a consideration, go with solid.

Enough of that, let's get started! For this example, I'll be creating the rough opening for a 32" door into the office.

Mark the top and bottom plates

1. Begin by marking the top and bottom plates, similar to the way you do when framing a wall. You'll mark for studs every 16" O.C. (on center). You'll skip one or two of the studs that end up in the doorway.

Marking studs for a rough door opening, marking studs, how to frame a door, framing a door

Door framing tip: Cut 1/2 way through the bottom of the bottom plate as shown above. This will make it easier to cut away the opening after the framed section is in place.

Cutting the studs

2. Next cut the appropriate number of studs (6 if you're making an 8' section). Measure from the floor to ceiling and subtract 3 1/2 inches as you did in the section on how to frame a wall.

3. Begin nailing the frame together using 12D nails. Use two nails on both the top and bottom. You should have a full length stud at each of the "X's" on the diagram above.

4. Cut two 80 1/2" studs (don't forget the 1 1/2" for the bottom plate) to use for the trim (or jack) studs. These will be nailed where the "O's" are in the above diagram.

5. Cut a stud 3" wider than the rough opening (in our case we need a 35" stud. This is the header of the door. It should fit snugly atop the jack studs.

6. Measure and cut one (or two depending on the width of your door) studs to fit between the top of the door opening and the top plate. This is a cripple stud.

Diagram of a door opening

Your door opening should now look similar to the diagram below. It may vary depending on the lenght of the wall section, and the width of the door.

creating a rough opening for a door, prehung door opening, framing for a prehung door

7. Next, tip the wall into place and nail the top and bottom plates using 12D nails at the top, and Tapcon screws (or other appropriate fastener) at the bottom. See "How to frame a wall" for further details.

8. The final step is to cut thru the bottom plate with your "saws all" or a handsaw. Since you've cut thru the bottom of the plate in step 1, your saw blade will be spared the damage of cutting into the concrete.

Finished door frame

The finished roughed in opening for the office doorIf you've done everything correctly, your frame will look similar to the picture on the left. Next you're ready to hang the drywall!







Construction Topics

Tools you'll need

The 3-4-5 rule

How to frame a wall

How to attach walls

How to install insulation

Drywall estimating

How to hang drywall: Step-by-step

How to cut drywall

How to cut around outlets and openings

Drywall installation tips

How to frame a door

How to trim a door to fit

How to finish a door

How to frame around poles

How to finish drywall

How to sand drywall

Tips for buying, finishing, & installing baseboard molding

How to fix squeaky floors

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