Add a New Door Between Rooms

By James Dulley

January 9, 2014 4 min read

Dear Pat: I have done some remodeling in my house, and I want to add a door from the dining room to my study. It is not a load-bearing wall. What is the easiest way to frame the new wall opening for a door? — Linda R.

Dear Linda: Adding an extra interior door is a more common do-it-yourself home improvement project than most people realize. Often with just one additional door, the traffic patterns throughout the house can be changed. When you are seeking a quiet study, the extra door will allow you to keep the existing door closed and reduce the noise and commotion in the room.

The first step is to select the new door you plan to install. Most interior doors are 6 feet, 8 inches tall. Thirty inches wide is very common, but you may want to select a wider one if you have large office equipment to move in. A solid wood door is more expensive than a hollow fiberglass one, but the mass of solid wood will block more sound transmission.

You mentioned the wall is not a load-bearing wall, but make certain before you start cutting the hole in the wall. If you still have the building plans for your house, this may be indicated on the plans. If you are not absolutely certain, have a builder inspect it to determine if it is load bearing. Load-bearing walls require stronger lumber for the rough opening.

Locate the hole in the wall so that one of the sides of rough framing rests against an existing wall stud. The king studs are the outer-most studs of the framing. One king stud will rest against the existing wall stud and the other one will be located in between existing studs. A good target distance between the king studs is the width of the new door plus five inches. Shorter trimmer studs are nailed inside of the king studs.

The easiest method to build the framing for the new door is to assemble all the pieces together on the floor first. Once it is complete, it can be tilted up and nailed into place in the wall opening. Building it this way minimizes the need for toenailing, which is not as strong a joint as regular through-nailing.

The header, which is the top of the opening, can be made with just a 2x4 on its side for non-load-bearing walls. For load-bearing walls, double 2x8s on edge should provide plenty of strength to support a room above it. Small 2x4 cripples will be nailed in place between the top plate and the header. These can be spaced closer together than standard wall stud spacing. The header will rest on the tops of the trimmer studs.

It is critical to keep all the ends flush and the framing square. If the opening is not square, it will be difficult to get the door installed squarely. A carpenter's square can be very helpful with keeping all the parts lined up properly.

In order to minimize having to toenail, first nail the trimmers to the king studs. Follow standard code nailing patterns for adequate strength. Next through-nail the header to the king studs and trimmers. Nail the cripples to the header. Tilt up the framing and nail it in place in the wall opening.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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