How to Frame a Door

Learning how to frame a door involves simple carpentry skills and a basic understanding of framing. The frame of a door is a modified part of the wall frame that takes into account the unique size and structure of the door and its jambs.

How To Frame A Door In Your House

  • Locating the door. Before you can build a frame for your door, you'll have to know the size of the finished door. Most interior doors are 2'8" wide, but some can be narrower-exterior doors are typically 3' or wider. You'll also need to know where the door is going. If this is new construction, follow the plans for door placement. If this is a remodel, you'll want to place the door such that opening and closing it won't obstruct traffic. Generally, you'll want your door opening to be the width of the door plus 2" and the height of the door plus 3".
  • Coming to terms. The parts of a door frame all have specific names. The sides of a doorframe are made up of two studs nailed together. The outer stud is called the king stud and runs the entire length of the wall. The inner stud (called a jack or trim stud) is shorter, running up to the cross piece at the top of the doorframe. The shortest stud, running between the top of the doorframe and the top of the wall, are called cripple studs. The horizontal pieces, from top to bottom are: the top plate (the top of the wall framing, the header (the top of the actual doorframe) and the sole or bottom plate (the bottom of the wall.)
  • Which wood. Most framing, including door framing is done with 2" by 4" lumber. New construction plans may call for different size wood for the door header depending on the structural requirements of the wall.
  • Layout the opening. To begin, mark the width of the opening on the sole plate. On either side of these marks, make another line 1 1/2" from the opening line. The outer lines mark the inner face of the king studs. With a plumb bob, transfer these marks to the top plate.
  • All hail the king! Install the king studs, placing the inner face of each stud on the outer line of your door opening.
  • Jack of all trades. Next, measure and cut the jack studs to the height of your door opening. Nail a jack stud to the inside of each king stud.
  • Getting ahead. Measure and cut two pieces of wood for the header such that they fit between the king studs. Place one header piece on top of the jack studs and nail it into place. Nail the second header piece on top of the first.
  • Vertically challenged. Measure and cut three cripple studs to fit in the space between the top of the header and the bottom of the top plate. Install one cripple stud above each jack stud and one in the middle of the header.
  • Got sole? If you're adding a door to an existing wall, you'll need to cut out and remove the section of sole plate between the jack studs.
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