Author Topic: DIY door install help wanted  (Read 731 times)

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
DIY door install help wanted
« on: July 20, 2018, 04:14:26 AM »
Hi all,

I'm thinking about installing a door myself.  I'm not that great at this stuff but I can think things through, can do things carefully, and have seen some of it done before so I think I'll be OK.

Currently I have what we call around here a "bonus room" above my garage.  The bonus room is fully finished space.  The room is long and rectangular with a narrow flat ceiling section, two short vertical walls, and two sloping roof sections which parallel the exterior roof.  There is a staircase leading up to the bonus room.  At the top of the stairwell there is an opening through which one passes to enter the bonus room, but there is no door there.

The opening is 38.5" wide.  The left side of the opening is 96" tall.  The right side is 80" tall.  The top is horizontal on the left half and slopes downward at about a 45 degree angle on the right half.  Thus the entry would be a 96" x 38.5" rectangle except for the ceiling cuts off a 19" x 16" triangle in the upper right corner.

The walls comprising the left and right side extend into the room about 4 inches horizontally beyond the lip of the top step.  The bonus room floor and stairwell are carpeted.  There is floor trim on the walls extending from the lip of the top step, in to the room, and around the perimeter of the bonus room.

In general, I want to frame in this opening for as wide a door as I can reasonably fit (on the order of 34"), install the door, drywall, mud, texture, and paint.

I have found this how-to:  https://www.wikihow.com/Frame-a-Door-Opening

Questions I have so far, I'm sure I'll have more:

1.  The how-to link suggests putting down a sole plate.  Since I have existing carpet and the entry appears to be square, I'm thinking of skipping this step and instead cutting out the carpet with a utility knife where the remaining left and right segments of the sole plate would be, then just nailing the sole plate segments into place into the subflooring.  Is this OK or should I do something different?

2.  The light switches for the bonus room happen to be on the left hand side wall of the stairwell wall, such that one can stand on the next-to-the-top step of the staircase facing into the bonus room and use one's left hand to operate the switches easily.  I think they are close enough to the interior of the room that I think they might interfere with the left side of the door frame.  I'm thinking I can just cut an opening on the back side of that wall segment exactly where the switches are now and just move the box and switches "through" the wall so that they are now inside the room instead of outside.  I'll have to patch the hole in the drywall where the switches currently are.  And turn off power to that circuit when I'm doing this.  Any tips here?

3.  I looked at doors at Home Depot today, and they all gave measurements for rough openings of like 36" x 82" for a 34" x 80" door for example.  The most conservative route, based on the above how-to link, would be to put a 96" king stud on the left, an 80" king stud with a 45 degree angle on top on the right, then two 80" jack studs inside those.  Assuming 1.5" per stud, that would leave me with a 32.5" x 80" opening.

a.  If I end up with a 32.5" opening, can I use a door that fits a "rough opening" of 32"?  Or is 0.5" too much gap?

b.  A less conservative route would be to skip the king studs and just put an 80" jack stud on each side and the top plate on top of that.  That would give me a 35.5" rough opening width.  I don't think they make doors that size, do they?  (I'm not willing to do custom.  Given the triangular indent in the upper right, this would mean that the top plate 2 x 4 would have a triangular section that would need to be cut out on the top right.  Would this be kosher?

4.  I've tried to get a quote from the builder who built my house, but haven't had much success.  I think this is more a handyman kind of thing.  If I had a handyman do it, I think they would end up costing me about twice the raw materials.  I think the door will run me about $150 (I want a solid core door for noise purposes), and the rest of it should be maybe another $250.  So I think the handyman route would be about $1000.  Does that seem about right?  Any advice on doing it myself versus hiring it out?

I'm sure I'll have more.  Thanks for any help.

craiglepaige

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1161
  • Location: Ohio
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2018, 05:53:18 AM »
Hi all,

I'm thinking about installing a door myself.  I'm not that great at this stuff but I can think things through, can do things carefully, and have seen some of it done before so I think I'll be OK.

Currently I have what we call around here a "bonus room" above my garage.  The bonus room is fully finished space.  The room is long and rectangular with a narrow flat ceiling section, two short vertical walls, and two sloping roof sections which parallel the exterior roof.  There is a staircase leading up to the bonus room.  At the top of the stairwell there is an opening through which one passes to enter the bonus room, but there is no door there.

The opening is 38.5" wide.  The left side of the opening is 96" tall.  The right side is 80" tall.  The top is horizontal on the left half and slopes downward at about a 45 degree angle on the right half.  Thus the entry would be a 96" x 38.5" rectangle except for the ceiling cuts off a 19" x 16" triangle in the upper right corner.

The walls comprising the left and right side extend into the room about 4 inches horizontally beyond the lip of the top step.  The bonus room floor and stairwell are carpeted.  There is floor trim on the walls extending from the lip of the top step, in to the room, and around the perimeter of the bonus room.

In general, I want to frame in this opening for as wide a door as I can reasonably fit (on the order of 34"), install the door, drywall, mud, texture, and paint.

I have found this how-to:  https://www.wikihow.com/Frame-a-Door-Opening

Questions I have so far, I'm sure I'll have more:

1.  The how-to link suggests putting down a sole plate.  Since I have existing carpet and the entry appears to be square, I'm thinking of skipping this step and instead cutting out the carpet with a utility knife where the remaining left and right segments of the sole plate would be, then just nailing the sole plate segments into place into the subflooring.  Is this OK or should I do something different?

Why use a sole plate? You don't need it the same way you don't need a sole plate for your bedroom doors.

2.  The light switches for the bonus room happen to be on the left hand side wall of the stairwell wall, such that one can stand on the next-to-the-top step of the staircase facing into the bonus room and use one's left hand to operate the switches easily.  I think they are close enough to the interior of the room that I think they might interfere with the left side of the door frame.  I'm thinking I can just cut an opening on the back side of that wall segment exactly where the switches are now and just move the box and switches "through" the wall so that they are now inside the room instead of outside.  I'll have to patch the hole in the drywall where the switches currently are.  And turn off power to that circuit when I'm doing this.  Any tips here?

Have you done any electrical work before? Main thing is to be careful and shut power to the switch before doing any repairs. This would be insanely easy for any qualified electrician and would cost next to nothing if you think you can't do it yourself. I would search youtube in order to decide if it's something you're comfortable with.

3.  I looked at doors at Home Depot today, and they all gave measurements for rough openings of like 36" x 82" for a 34" x 80" door for example.  The most conservative route, based on the above how-to link, would be to put a 96" king stud on the left, an 80" king stud with a 45 degree angle on top on the right, then two 80" jack studs inside those.  Assuming 1.5" per stud, that would leave me with a 32.5" x 80" opening.

a.  If I end up with a 32.5" opening, can I use a door that fits a "rough opening" of 32"?  Or is 0.5" too much gap?

A 1/2 inch gap around the door frame is adequate. You need some space to plumb it, so use shims and then cover with trim work. If you care about heat/cold, you can fill the gap with expandable foam, but I don't think you'll need to worry about that.

b.  A less conservative route would be to skip the king studs and just put an 80" jack stud on each side and the top plate on top of that.  That would give me a 35.5" rough opening width.  I don't think they make doors that size, do they?  (I'm not willing to do custom.  Given the triangular indent in the upper right, this would mean that the top plate 2 x 4 would have a triangular section that would need to be cut out on the top right.  Would this be kosher?

Don't bother.

4.  I've tried to get a quote from the builder who built my house, but haven't had much success.  I think this is more a handyman kind of thing.  If I had a handyman do it, I think they would end up costing me about twice the raw materials.  I think the door will run me about $150 (I want a solid core door for noise purposes), and the rest of it should be maybe another $250.  So I think the handyman route would be about $1000.  Does that seem about right?  Any advice on doing it myself versus hiring it out?

$150 for a solid door seems reasonable.

$250 for the rest of the materials is really high, not sure how you calculated it.

A handyman needs to make a living just like you and me. I don't think this is a $600 job, as you have the math done, but rather about half. If you don't think you're capable of doing it, which you should be if you're of good health, then maybe post the job on a local FB page (or the sorts) for $300. I know if I was to see this come up for $300 I would totally be on it.




Papa bear

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 662
  • Location: Ohio
DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 06:13:10 AM »
Any way you can upload a picture of each side of the opening?  That would help.  And I can't post a long write up, but here's some tips written haphazardly on a phone.

When buying a pre-hung door, the door jambs are 3/4" sized.  So back of napkin says take your nominal door size and add 2" to it to get your RO.   This leaves a little bit of wiggle room to get the door in.  You are going to use shims to have your jambs fit into your rough framing. It's important to install the hinge side first.  This has to be plumb and level or your door will ghost move on you.

For your particular job, you don't have to frame this out like you are building a new place.  This isn't a structural opening and will only be holding a door, drywall and trim.  You can put a few 2x4's up on one side to make up the space.  You don't have to build true king and jacks.  Your top plate really is only a drywall nailer.  It does nothing to hold the door. Don't forget that you can use 1/2" drywall or 3/4" wood to fill in space too! It doesn't have to be 2x4's.

The hinge side does all the work. That needs to have a good solid piece to nail into. Make sure that side you either add a new board or you take your existing drywall out to get back to the wood.

Dealing with your angle is going to be a PITA.   Good luck with that!!  I might add more later when at a computer or if you have some pics so that we can make better recommendations.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Cadman

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
  • Location: Midwest
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 06:52:00 AM »
First thing I would do is verify that the hinge side of the opening is truly plumb, and that you have a consistent 38.5 inch width from top to bottom. Next I would verify the drywall on the hinge side is fastened to solid wood framing (I'm assuming it's directly over the wide side of a 2x4 without deadspace behind it, and assuming it's not a metal stud).

If these things are true, I'd go for a 36" pre-hung interior door (you said you wanted the widest that would fit). With jambs, that works out to 37.5 width and gives you an inch wiggle room. If the existing opening is consistent and true, you can bring that gap down to 1/4" by throwing a 1x4 between the wall and the non-hinge side of the frame and shim as appropriate.

If the threshold is carpeted, treat it like any other interior door. No sill plate required, just leave a small gap between bottom of door slab and the floor when securing the frame.

There should be no problem putting the hinge side jamb up against the existing drywall as the force will be distributed evenly, just be sure to add a 1/2" to screw length to account for it.

Frame out the opening above the door with 2x4's and drywall each side. Probably easiest to use construction screws here, too, instead of nails to keep everything aligned during install. Nothing is in shear, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Any reason this needs to be a solid slab door vs. hollow core?

Edit: There's no need to add extra 2x4's as they technically already exist in your door opening. Doing so means reducing door width and increasing the size of trim you'd need to hide them.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 11:47:30 AM by Cadman »

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 08:02:53 AM »
1.  The how-to link suggests putting down a sole plate.  Since I have existing carpet and the entry appears to be square, I'm thinking of skipping this step and instead cutting out the carpet with a utility knife where the remaining left and right segments of the sole plate would be, then just nailing the sole plate segments into place into the subflooring.  Is this OK or should I do something different?

2.  The light switches for the bonus room happen to be on the left hand side wall of the stairwell wall, such that one can stand on the next-to-the-top step of the staircase facing into the bonus room and use one's left hand to operate the switches easily.  I think they are close enough to the interior of the room that I think they might interfere with the left side of the door frame.  I'm thinking I can just cut an opening on the back side of that wall segment exactly where the switches are now and just move the box and switches "through" the wall so that they are now inside the room instead of outside.  I'll have to patch the hole in the drywall where the switches currently are.  And turn off power to that circuit when I'm doing this.  Any tips here?

3.  I looked at doors at Home Depot today, and they all gave measurements for rough openings of like 36" x 82" for a 34" x 80" door for example.  The most conservative route, based on the above how-to link, would be to put a 96" king stud on the left, an 80" king stud with a 45 degree angle on top on the right, then two 80" jack studs inside those.  Assuming 1.5" per stud, that would leave me with a 32.5" x 80" opening.

a.  If I end up with a 32.5" opening, can I use a door that fits a "rough opening" of 32"?  Or is 0.5" too much gap?

b.  A less conservative route would be to skip the king studs and just put an 80" jack stud on each side and the top plate on top of that.  That would give me a 35.5" rough opening width.  I don't think they make doors that size, do they?  (I'm not willing to do custom.  Given the triangular indent in the upper right, this would mean that the top plate 2 x 4 would have a triangular section that would need to be cut out on the top right.  Would this be kosher?

1. Don't need a sole plate. You really don't need any plate anywhere along the lower floor since your opening is only 38.5 inches wide to start with. Anything you run vertically, just go floor to ceiling.

2. The hard part will be removing the existing box from the stud and any flanges that are between the stud and the drywall on the outside of the wall now. A much easier solution would be to install a retrofit box on the otherside of the wall after destroying the existing box to get it out of the way and then switching the wire. Hopefully they left enough slack in the wire to do so. Many times contractors skimp by pulling them drum tight.

3. For a rough opening like that, I would find a nice solid 30 or 32 inch door (not hollow core) which is typical sizing for interior doors. Add 2x4's on each side of the opening and one across the top to act as a header. If you can't get a full 80" rough opening height, it is much much easier to shave an inch or two off the bottom of the door than it is to mess around trying to customize your jam and door for an angle cut off the corner. Like others said, you don't need to worry about king studs and such since this is not going to bear any load other than the door.

J_Stache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 08:08:24 AM »
RO measurements usually have a good amount of wiggle room.  If the frame is square, plumb, and level, you can get away with minimal RO. Ignore the wikihow page and read the article below.  Gary Katz explains what to do and why to do it.

http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2013/08/09/problem-free-prefit-doors/

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2018, 01:43:34 PM »
Thanks everyone!  I've read through most of it and will read through it all some more and digest it all.

To answer a few questions (in order of being asked as best I can):

I was doing a sole plate just to be "proper" in case there was some reason for sole plates to exist that I didn't know of.  I can certainly skip it.

The reason for the solid core door (and the door in general) is that the bonus room serves as my son's bedroom and he is very noise sensitive, so he wants the sound dampening qualities of the solid door.

I haven't done electrical but am not afraid of it and can find the proper breaker in the garage.  The main thing I was wondering about is how to get rid of the existing box in the wall where the switches are.  I may be able to put the new box in on the other side but above the existing box.  That would help with any taut wiring problem also and may make more sense any way given that the existing switches are actually above the first step on the staircase, so they might be lower to account for the step height.

I'll try to post some diagrams later.

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2018, 02:53:01 PM »
I haven't done electrical but am not afraid of it and can find the proper breaker in the garage.  The main thing I was wondering about is how to get rid of the existing box in the wall where the switches are.  I may be able to put the new box in on the other side but above the existing box.  That would help with any taut wiring problem also and may make more sense any way given that the existing switches are actually above the first step on the staircase, so they might be lower to account for the step height.

Almost all boxes are fastened to the stud next to it. The easiest and fastest way to remove the old box it to run a sawsall with a demo blade between the box and the stud to severe any nails or flanges holding it to the stud. If it can be removed I do so but sometimes they aren't designed to come out after drywall without doing even more damage to the drywall so I just let it fall down into the wall cavity.

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2018, 11:13:15 PM »
Hi all,

I've attached an image that has three diagrams in it.

Diagram A is at the top of the image.  It is a floor plan view of the bonus room around the opening at the top of the staircase.  It contains measurements 1 through 6.  It is intended to convey a bird's-eye view of the context of the opening.  It is a little hard to tell from the diagram, but there is a single step between the bonus room and the landing, then the staircase takes a right turn and descends the rest of the way to the main level.

Diagram B is at the lower left of the image.  It is a cross-section view along the horizontal dashed line labeled (b) in diagram A.  It contains measurements 7 through 11.  It is intended to convey the opening itself.

Diagram C is at the lower right of the image.  It is a cross-section view along the vertical dashed line labeled (c) in diagram A.  It contains measurements 12 through 18.  It is intended to convey the layout of the wall on the left side of the opening and the location of the double light switch.

Measurements are as follows (all are in inches):

1, 6:  4.75
2, 5, 15:  4.5
3, 13:  13.25
4, 10:  39
7:  19
8:  25
9:  80
11, 14:  96
12:  103.5
16:  8.75
17:  43.5
18:  3.25

---

Decisions:

Pretty sure I can do this myself, so I'm going to do it myself.  I can afford to pay someone else, but I'd rather do it myself so I gain the skills and the experience.  I'd rather move towards Mr. MMM-style self-reliance rather than clownish hire-everything-out dependency.

I'm going to move the light switch to the other side of the wall.  Since the top of the existing box is about 41.5" above the bonus room floor, I think I may leave the existing box in the wall and put the new box above it and be consistent with the other light switches in the rest of my house.  This way the switches will be in the room itself and the switch plate won't interfere with the new door jamb and door trim.

I'm going to have the hinge be on the right side of the opening.  First, the light switch will be to the left of the opening.  Second, the opening itself enters into the right half of the bonus room, so with the hinge on the right, the door will mostly open up against the right wall.  If the hinge were on the left, then the door would block the sight lines into the room.  Third, it's more natural for a right-handed person going up the steps to open the door to the right with their right hand.

I'm going to insulate in the framing above the door to further deaden the sound.

I'm going to use two 2x4s on each side.  First, this gives me adequate horizontal clearance for the vertical door trim on the landing side of the door frame (which elsewhere in the house is 2.5" wide and I plan to match).  Second, it allows me to better handle the diagonal corner where measurements 8 and 9 meet - I can cut the king stud on an angle and then cut the jack studs to be exactly 80".  Third, it will match the rest of the house.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 03:27:46 PM by secondcor521 »

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2018, 03:28:45 PM »
More questions:

4.  The depth of a typical door jamb in my house including trim is about 5.75".  This represents a wall thickness of 4.75" plus about 0.50" of trim on either side of the wall.  Given that measurements 2 and 5 are 4.5", I'm a little worried.  I was going to do the framing approximately where the measurement numbers 2 and 5 are on diagram A, one drywall thickness toward the landing so the surface of the drywall on the bonus room side would be flush with the short edges of those two stubby walls to the left and right of the opening.  If I do this, then the door trim on the landing side will be hanging over the step by about 0.75" and will look stupid.  How would you solve this?  1/2" would help, 1/4" drywall would pretty much solve it.

5.  With my current framing plan, the width of the rough opening is 33" (39" - 4 x 1.5").  Should I add 1/2" spacers on each side to bring the width down to 32" and use a standard 30" door?  Or should I try to fit a 32" door into a 33" RO?  Or should I skip the spacers and put a 30" door in a 33" RO?

6.  If I do add spacers, is it best to find a 1/2" nominally thick x 3.5" wide x 80" tall pieces, or just use 1/2" x 3.5" x 3.5" little squares of material and have a tall 1/2" air gap in the rest of the spaced area?

7.  If I do add spacers, where do I put them?  Between the king stud and jack stud I assume?

Thanks everyone!!

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2018, 11:19:07 PM »
OK, I answered all of the questions in my previous post, so you can ignore those.

The new question I have relates to building codes and safety.  My state uses the IBC 2015 apparently.  A worker at Lowe's told me that I can't have a door at the top of a flight of stairs like I was planning.  She thinks I need a landing of at least one tread's horizontal depth worth of floor at the top of the stairs between the door and the first step down.  Reading the IBC and looking at examples, it seems that the code may require even more - a square landing on both sides of the door that is the width of the hallway (so like a 36" x 72" rectangular floor space with the door in the middle of that).

I'm going to call the Division of Building Safety folks and ask them, as well as about permits, but anybody know offhand?

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1074
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 07:05:50 AM »
Most rules that I have seen say landings are not required for interior doors at the top of stairs provided the door swings away from the stairs. If the door swings over the stairs, a landing is required.

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2018, 11:46:22 AM »
Most rules that I have seen say landings are not required for interior doors at the top of stairs provided the door swings away from the stairs. If the door swings over the stairs, a landing is required.

Thanks!  In my case the door would swing into the room, away from the stairs.

secondcor521

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1577
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: DIY door install help wanted
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2018, 07:27:46 PM »
Updates in case anyone cares:

Talked with a guy at the county permit office and then had a friend who is more knowledgeable come over and look.

I'm going to end up having to have the door placed such that the landing at the top of the steps is equal to one tread-depth on the stairs.  I'm not sure that's officially correct according to the building code, but that's what the guys at the permit office think the code says, so that's what I have to go with.  (They gave me two other options that I have ruled out.)

I'm going to probably have the wall on the left extend such that there is an appropriately sized alcove for a closet to be framed in at a later point.  I thought about framing in the closet, but it turns out that the HVAC return is in the ceiling where the closet would be, and framing in the closet would necessitate moving the return.  No thanks - learning a bit more about framing, electrical, and door hanging is enough for my first project.

I won't have to move the light switch now since the door will be about 7 inches into the room.

I do have to add a smoke/CO detector outside the bonus room on the landing to bring the house up to code in that way.  I will daisy-chain it off of an existing smoke detector in the bonus room about 7 feet away.  I also need to swap out two smoke detectors downstairs for smoke/CO detectors due to that same code.  Adds about $100 to cost.

I officially got my building permit on Friday before leaving for a small out of town trip.  Yay!  ($197 - blech.)  The guy seemed to think I had my stuff together for a beginner.

I costed the whole thing out and the raw materials look like they'll be about $400.  My friend - the one mentioned above - said I could borrow the tools I need to do the job, so I should be set.

Trickiest part I think will be fishing the Romex through the ceiling for the smoke/CO detector.  May have to climb up into the attic, which is icky but doable.

Feels like I can do this.  Then again, I haven't actually started the work yet.  :)