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garso22 11-25-2012 09:32 PM

New Entry Door + Old House = Grrrr
1 Attachment(s)
I wanted to upgrade our outdated entry door with a new prehung entry door from Lowes or Home Depot. I'm a newer home owner with little construction experience but I like to get my hands dirty. I have replaced our windows with new prehung windows so I figured this project would be similar.

First off, the house was built in 1927 and as far as I can tell this was the original door opening. I pulled the trim off around the interior of the door to see what we were working with. I went to measure the rough opening and bam I ran into issues from the get go. I don't see studs and the width is wacky 33 3/4. I was expecting to see some studs so I tried drilling a couple of little holes around the perimeter to see if the plaster was covering it but I'm not hitting any wood.

Has anybody seen this before? What would you do if you were me? Is the 3/4 inch framing around the door sufficient for a pocket door? Should I just go ahead and order a custom size? Should I just put the trim back on and give up? Should I shell out the $$ for a pro? Any idea what the damage would be on something like that?

joecaption 11-25-2012 09:39 PM

Hard to tell from that picture what I'm even seeing.
Looks like a door, the jamb then the 2 X 4 above it.

Let us know what the measurement of the door are, not the rough opening at this time.
The rough opening should be about 2" wider the the door and from 1" to 2" taller.

garso22 11-25-2012 09:52 PM

Door Measurements
Sorry, my pictures aren't uploading. What did upload was a sideways shot of the hinge and the hole I drilled to see if I would hit stud. Disregard my rough opening measurement from before:

Door Height 81.5
Door Width 33.5 to 33 3/4

garso22 11-25-2012 09:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the interior of the door.

NancyNGA 11-25-2012 10:31 PM


Originally Posted by garso22 (Post 1060447)
Has anybody seen this before?

Yep, my house was built in 1913. Recently tried replacing the front door and found out it is hung on a 3/4 inch lumber frame with at least a 3.5 inch gap behind it (4" screws just hit air space). The door appears to be enclosed on the sides by a hollow box formed by the facing and the frame, and the outside facing is flush with the wood sheathing.

I am hoping to hire a pro who has seen this before. Maybe he can figure a way to insert a stud inside the outer edge of the box somehow? (Just sympathizing and hoping for some responses. ;) )

funfool 11-25-2012 11:25 PM

What is measurement of the door hight and width?
Then also, what exterior siding do you have outside?
We can figure this out, just need right info.

joecaption 11-25-2012 11:40 PM

He gave the door size already.
But I wonder if that height was not including the threshold.

To the O/P is that the real size of the door or did you measure from the floor to the top of the door?
A normal door would be 80" that why I ask.

BigJim 11-25-2012 11:52 PM

Could be when you drilled the hole and didn't hit wood was maybe there was shims and you just missed them.

joecaption 11-26-2012 12:20 AM

It was common to find no headers and no king and jack studs in older houses in the window and door frames.
If you really want to use a prehung door someone's going to have to open up that wall and also deal with some of the outside trim.
If I went to that extent I for sure would change it to a 36" door.
Another option is to just buy a slab door and cut it to fit in the same frame you have now.

ddawg16 11-26-2012 03:20 AM

I feel your pain....our house was built in 1952.....tried to replace the side door....width was 'more or less standard'.....but the height was 2" more.....ordered a custom door from a standard sized door.......

As Joe said....your going to have to open up that wall......and when he says open it up....he means 'open it up'.....don't try to save yourself some work by only cutting back as much as you 'think' you need to...cut all the way to the ceiling....and on the sides....try to find the next stud and cut back to there.

Fix'n it 11-26-2012 10:29 AM

until you pull the "whole" door out, you are not going to know what you are dealing with.

HomeSealed 11-26-2012 02:03 PM

The rough framing around your door should not be right against your jambs, so its no surprise that your holes hit nothing. You have a 34" width, which while uncommon, is somewhat of a standard size (although that does not mean that you can buy one off the shelf). On the height, as Joe alluded to, we need to know exactly where you are taking that measurement from. If you have an RO of 82"+, you will be fine with a standard height door. Many homes of that age have either smaller (79") or larger (84") doors, so make sure that you are measuring properly.
My advice on how to proceed: hire a pro. Doors are tricky enough to get right as it is, the last thing that you want is a door ordered wrong or some major installation hassles. That said, I realize that this is a DIY board, so my best advice to that end would be to make sure that you have accurate measurements. Even the simplest installs can become absolute nightmares if not measures correctly.

joecaption 11-26-2012 07:37 PM

In old houses like this I try to save myself some work and having to deal with air leaks and wood rot later on.
I order a door with an adjustable sill, I know the floors not going to be level or flat so this makes up for that.
I also prefure to to get at least the rot free style, it's PVC lumber finger joined at the bottoms of the jambs and brick moulding.
Better yet but more expencive is soild PVC jambs and brick moulding.
No painting, no rot and the jambs stronger then a wooden one when it comes to a break in.

garso22 11-26-2012 09:44 PM

So I measured three times the height of the actual door. I did the middle and edges to make sure it was correct and I'm getting 81.5 each time. This is the actual door size.

joecaption 11-26-2012 09:53 PM

Still not a big issue if you have wood siding and wood trim outside.
We call it hammer it to fit and paint it to match.
Still may want to find someone that's worked on older homes and not just new constrution. Totaly differant ways of thinking.

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