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Thread: Framing a door

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member tim-diyer's Avatar
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    Default Framing a door

    I am currently doing some work on my home (built in 1885). They previous owners put in a door, but did not build a fram for it. They bascially cut out an opening and slapped it in. So, unlike other projects they did, I am starting somewhat from scratch. I now know that my house was built with a balloon frame style. Is there something different or special I need to do in order to build the frame for the new door? It's a prehung 36" door. I was planning using two 2x10's with a 1x8 sandwiched inbetween for the header. I was going to build it to the next exising studs (for my king studs) on both sides and then put in double jack studs next to those. Any input is greatly appreciated.


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  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    A couple of things that you need to take into account is that the studs there are not the same dimensions as any of the studs you will find on today's market, and that the standard 4-9/16 door jamb size will be too small in a house that uses those studs and lathe & plaster walls.

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    DIY Member petrie's Avatar
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    I would think 2x6 header would be adequate. You got nothing now and it hasn't sagged. Maybe you can rip some strips to even out the door frame and the studs. I'd take a look at a black and decker diy frameing book. They tell you how to deal with ballon frameing vs platform frameing for various remodel jobs.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If the frame is secured to the studs on either side and it is plumb, what is your problem? Apparently it is NOT a bearing wall and even if it were, a header over the frame would be cosmetic, not functional.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member tim-diyer's Avatar
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    I have learned that the lumber used is actual size 2x4 and 2x8...etc. My concern is that the studs on each side of the existing door support the weight of the ceiling joists, so both sides are supporting weight. I just don't want to hack those off and have it sink on me.

  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You can use post jacks to support any load that might be there while you rework the framing.

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    DIY Member ankhseeker's Avatar
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    Hey petrie,

    Is this the book you are referring to?

    http://www.amazon.com/Carpentry-Remo...decker+framing

    I am looking for a good reference. Terms in this thread are new to me so I am curious.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    My question is, "why rework the framing" in the first place. It looks good just the way it is. Jack studs, headers, etc., are just to provide an opening for when the door is installed. Yours is already installed.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member tim-diyer's Avatar
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    I need to "rework the framing" because as I posted originally, I am putting in a larger door. The door in the picture is about 26" wide. I'm putting in a 36" so it will extend past the current opening into at least two of the studs that are supporting ceiling joists.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The way that wall is constructed, the studs you need to revise are NOT supporting the ceiling joists. They are 'helping' to support the horizontal beam, and it is substantial enough that it does not "NEED" their help. If you are just making the opening 10" wider, it should only "impact" one of the studs, so just do what you need to in order to make the new opening, and do NOT worry about the roof falling down.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member tim-diyer's Avatar
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    I'm just too unfamiliar with this type of framing and so are many other people I've talked to. Mentioning balloon framing seems to send them into confusion mode. Seeing the studs directly below the joist made me think that it helped to support it. That's been my biggest concen is that, sure up to this point, there's been no sagging, but cutting into more of what "looks" like support - I didn't want to have a problem all of a sudden. So the studs that are on the left side of the door are what I can attach my header to? If so then I will only be cutting into the studs to the right of door to make the header long enough.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Balloon framing is a very old technique, but if I remember correctly, the walls are continuous from the foundation to the roof and the floors are attached to them, as opposed to our common method of building a wall, placing the floor structure on top of it, then putting the next wall on top of the floor and so forth.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    If the frame is secured to the studs on either side and it is plumb, what is your problem? Apparently it is NOT a bearing wall and even if it were, a header over the frame would be cosmetic, not functional.
    +1

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  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim-diyer View Post
    I need to "rework the framing" because as I posted originally, I am putting in a larger door. The door in the picture is about 26" wide. I'm putting in a 36" so it will extend past the current opening into at least two of the studs that are supporting ceiling joists.
    Hmm, I did not see that in the original post that you were installing a larger door. My Bad.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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    DIY Senior Member DougB's Avatar
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    There is not a lot of difference between balloon framing and our current 'platform' (stick built) framing.

    Balloon framing was popular because of the availability of long boards, and it didn't require as skilled carpenters.

    The 'studs' in your wall go from the first floor - all the way to the roof - the horizontal board (near the ceiling) is called a ledger board. The floor beams (of your second floor) hang off this ledger.

    To make the door opening larger - I would put in a double header above the door - to bear the weight of the cut studs. Have the double header span from an existing stud on the left - and go all the way to the next existing stud on the right - past your new larger door opening. Then all you have to do is add a stud to properly frame the door opening. Tie this stud to the bottom plate and the new header. If you want to beef it up - you could put some horizontal bridging between the new stud and the existing stud on the right.

    I find it easier to use screws. You can get 'engineering' grade screws http://www.grkfasteners.com/index.php/en/products/r4 at HD. Don't use long drywall screws - they are brittle.

    One thing about this kind of home: Since the studs go from the bottom plate all the way to the roof, there is a path for fire to readily travel from floor to floor. Consider installing some firestop material - foam, stuffed fiberglass, etc.
    Last edited by DougB; 03-28-2014 at 09:07 AM.
    If a hammer won't fix it, it's an electrical problem.

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