How to Widen a Doorway

Expanding a narrow doorway can open up a space and make your home feel bigger.

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Tools and Materials:

hammer, level and measuring tape
miter saw
reciprocating saw
2x6s for the headers
2x4s for framing and temporary supports
1x6s for door frame
1/2-inch sheets of drywall and drywall mud
drywall tools
door casing

Steps:

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1. Remove old molding and door frames. Tear a hole in the drywall to locate wiring, plumbing or duct behind the wall. Call the appropriate professional to relocate any necessary fixtures behind the wall. Measure and mark the drywall then cut it away using a reciprocating saw.

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2. If you are working on a load-bearing wall, build a temporary wall to support the header while the old header is removed. We built our temporary wall using 2x4s and set it 24 inches away from the original wall. Use screws to make the temporary wall so it can easily be removed.

3. Remove existing doorway, header and studs.

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4. To make the header, nail together a sandwich -- two pieces of 2x6 with a piece of plywood in between. Add construction adhesive between the pieces for extra reinforcement.

 

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5. Set the header in place. It should just slide into place, if not, make any necessary adjustments. If there is a gap between the header, insert some shims before you nail the header into place.

 

6. Install new drywall over the open areas of the wall.

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7. Trim new doorway. Cut 1x6 to thickness of wall. Use a table saw to cut to the correct width and finish nailer to install. Cut and nail new door casing and finish or paint as desired.

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