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Old 11-24-2009, 02:36 PM   #1
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


I have an issue regarding installing a door in an existing door jamb in my very small tight hallway (4'4"x3'6"). This little bitty hallway has three doorways in it, one at each end and one on the left which leads to my bathroom I'm remodeling. I have the door that goes in the existing doorway to my bathroom, but it was taken out in the past because the hallway is just too narrow and it led to huge traffic flow issues. The house has been in the family for 50 years and my husband's father had installed a bi-fold closet door in its place, but I just don't like that idea at all. It seems kind of trashy to me. I would like to put french doors in, but I'm not sure that they make them that small (the door opening is 27 1/4"). When I say the door opening I mean the finished door opening not rough (I am not tearing the existing frame and trim out). My question is this: is it feasible to cut my existing solid core door in half to make french doors out of it? And have it work right? I would rather not have to special order a new custom door (budget!) if I can get around it. But, maybe after I buy all the hardware neccessary to do this it will end up costing just as much?

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Old 11-25-2009, 06:22 AM   #2
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


It can be done, but I don't see that improving the problem any. It is still a 28' door opening, and esentially still a bifold door, the hinges have been moved.

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Old 11-25-2009, 08:06 AM   #3
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


It sounds as if the original bathroom door opened into the hallway? Is there space in the bathroom for the door to open into this room? Re-swinging the door might require a new door jamb, but if existing jamb is painted you should be able to patch and sand the current jamb to hide the old hinge and latch plate mortices.

Other possibility is a pocket door, but this would require major rework.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Well, having the french doors would help because they would only swing about 13.5" into my hallway instead of the full 27 1/4". The bifold door is no longer here so even if I wanted to take the hinges off and reuse it, I couldn't. I understand that it's pretty much the same effect, I just don't like the aesthetics of it. I still do have the original door, however. The jamb and trim are all stained wood original to the home and I really don't want to mess with them too much. The bathroom itself is only 4'x6' and the sink is right behind where the door would swing, so it would be a really tight squeeze to get in there if I swung the door that way (I have tried to do this already). I have thought about a pocket door but the smallest pre-made kits I have found require a 50" rough opening which I do not have even with the existing door frame gone. (because the door trim on the door on one end of the hallway take up that space). Plus the hallway is underneath a staircase in the middle of the house and I don't know what exactly the wall is supporting. I think a pocket door would have been ideal, but it's just not going to work out in this situation either. I should probably post pictures . It's very hard to explain a 110 year old house's quirks in just words. I will take some and post them.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


You will actually lose space in the opening since it will then have two door leaves projecting into it, whereas now you only have one. It is also doubtfull that the existing door has the stiles and rails arranged for it to be cut in half without losing structural strength. The hinge and latch stiles on a normal door extend the full height. Cutting the door will leave the top and bottom rails exposed without a continuous stile.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:44 AM   #6
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


No, I'm not worried about losing space lengthwise along my wall. I'm concerned about a 27" door swinging all the way into the 3'6" width of the hallway. They won't take up more of the space that I'm worried about. I will post a picture of the door shortly as soon as my camera recharges, and we'll see what you think of it. I see your point though (about the rails and stiles).
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:02 PM   #7
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Ok the pictures are up in my album. I haven't quite figured out how to post them in a thread yet.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:20 PM   #8
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


4ft x 6ft would be an extremely tiny full bath (I don't even think it is possible to get all the fixtures in that space). You may have to step in the toilet to get enough space to swing the door closed behind you.

A 4ft x 6ft half bath should be workable with an inward swinging door. I believe our half bath is that size, or smaller, and has an inward swinging 24-inch door.
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:05 PM   #9
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


It is only a half bath, but I still don't like the inward swinging door idea. It is just simply too tight. I don't like having to squeeze myslef around the door to get into the bathroom. To be fair, I haven't tried the door yet with the new fixtures installed, so it may just work, but I doubt it. I used to have a full vanity in there and I'm replacing it with a pedestal sink. I really kind of fell in love with the idea of french doors. I guess I'm just going to end up paying for some custom ones.
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:16 PM   #10
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Is there enough room so that the door could be used as a sliding door on the outside of the bathroom (running on a track like a barn door) and trimmed out so it would be shut into some trim for a finished look? The track can be trimmed around also so not to show as much.

I know this would not be french doors but it would not take up too much space into the hall or the bath....just thinking out loud mostly
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:11 AM   #11
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Boy, just shows you what a difference a few countries can make...up here we call "French Doors" solid doors that have glass in the middle. See-through...

I thought to myself why would someone put see-through glass doors (even opacified) in a bathroom. Oh! Bifold doors? Nope not that...

I speak french every day - but would you mind explaining what you call a "French door"?
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:44 AM   #12
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Depending on the extent you are willing to go to as far as mess, you could install a pocket door as opposed to running it on an exposed track....
(I was born & raised in Belleville,IL.)
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:45 PM   #13
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


ccarlisle -- I would call a French door a door that has many panes of glass in it and it swings not bi-folds -- at least in my area
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:41 AM   #14
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Turning an existing solid core interior door into a french one?


Phew...at least someone sees a French door the same as me...Thx Mike

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