Widening an exterior door
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 door I want to put in (not yet ordered:) ) requires a 96 1/8 rough opening.
- 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.
- Purchase a custom sized door two inches smaller (this doubles the cost of the door and is not as energy efficient)
- Put in a smaller door and close up the wall (the wife wants the light from the larger door so this is suboptimal)
- 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.