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Old 01-12-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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Can I widen the door jam?


Hello! My husband and I recently bought a house and one of our first major projects is to remodel the "master" bath. It is a very small space and one of my biggest complaints about it is the small entry door. It is only 24" wide and feels very claustrophobic to me. All the other doors in the house are 30." We would love to be able to widen it to a 30".

Just in case it is useful, I will attach some pictures of said door.

Would there be any code violations with moving the switch closer to the outlet? Is there a certain distance away it needs to be?

We are planning on replacing the vanity which is 22" deep with a 19" deep vanity.

The previous owners made a lot of nice updates to the house, and I would assume these are newer doors and casing because the house was built in 1986. I just can't get over how small the opening is.

So opinions or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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Can I widen the door jam?


There is nothing in the code that dictates the physical relationship between the light switches and the receptacle. But widening the door involves a bunch of work. The wall will need to be opened up to install a new header over the door and the wires for the switches may come down through the top plate, so they will have to be disconnected and refed into the new box; depending on which way they run, they may not be long enough to reach the new location. You will also have an issue with the finish flooring.

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Old 01-12-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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Can I widen the door jam?


Hi thanks for the info! I will add that our house is a one story with a full unfinished basement. I am unsure about the wiring so that is something I would definitely need to research more before we made any decisions about the wall. Would the disconnecting and moving of the box be something we should get a electrician for or is that something we could do ourselves with proper research?

We were also planning on replacing the flooring in our bathroom in the remodel so the flooring isn't really a problem.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:03 PM   #4
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Can I widen the door jam?


how in gods name did a 24" door get installed to the bathroom in the first place a 28" door is narrow enough as is
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:09 PM   #5
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Can I widen the door jam?


I agree. I have wondered if it was something the previous owners may have changed for some random reason... They did a lot of other changes including removing a bedroom to increase the size of the master bedroom. I know the guy was a contractor of sorts from what the neighbours have told me. It really is one of my biggest complaints about the house. The master closet has a nice full size door but the bathroom has this tiny little opening. lol.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
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Can I widen the door jam?


Only worries are the wires and putting in proper header. that being said yes wiring is something you could do. How I would do it is remove drywall in bathroom see where wires are and look at header. In most cases wires are long enough to be pulled up into attic and moved to new location. Best advice on wiring is get a good flashlight and turn off all power while your working but it'll only shock you if you touch two wires at the same time.lol
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:28 PM   #7
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\. \ but it'll only shock you if you touch two wires at the same time.lol
Dang I'm learning things every day---I used to get shocked touching one wire if I was grounded----when did electrical physics change?
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:44 PM   #8
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Can I widen the door jam?


I not sure what your doing but I've changed thousands of outlets, light fixtures, and switches never turning off power and got shocked if I touch any combination of the wire never by touching one at a time.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:25 AM   #9
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You have lived a charmed life--so far.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:57 AM   #10
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Can I widen the door jam?


Thanks everyone. Now when it comes to the header of the new door, I am unsure if the door is on a load bearing wall. I have watched a few demonstrations on framing for a door and I understand if the wall is load bearing you need a larger header. Would there be any issue with just building the larger header either way for the door and assuming it is load bearing? I figure once we open up that wall it would probably be easier to tell.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #11
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Can I widen the door jam?


Often 2x12s are used for headers throughout the house---it's faster for the framing crew--

No one will find fault if you over build that opening---Definitely widen that door opening--what were they thinking?

Do not be surprised if you find that the doorway was already framed for a larger door--then reduced to fit a door that the builder miss-ordered---
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:56 AM   #12
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Can I widen the door jam?


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I not sure what your doing but I've changed thousands of outlets, light fixtures, and switches never turning off power and got shocked if I touch any combination of the wire never by touching one at a time.
And you feel this qualifies you to give electrical advice to others??? Please.
If you are going to give this kind of electrical advice I would think twice about it.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:05 AM   #13
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Can I widen the door jam?


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And you feel this qualifies you to give electrical advice to others??? Please.
If you are going to give this kind of electrical advice I would think twice about it.
I've worked in all aspects of construction for over 15 years. And I've built serval house from the ground up all being passed by building inspectors.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:18 AM   #14
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Can I widen the door jam?


Oh Mile brings up a very good point. Given the unusually narrow door, it is certainly possible that there is already a larger header in there, and you may not need to do anything more than rearrange the studs for the proper rough opening. It is also possible that there is just a double top plate in there.

Headers on bearing walls are often sized for the specific load, but for door openings they are often done by rule of thumb. A pair of 2x12's is going to be adequate for a standard door in a bearing wall situation unless you live in the Taj Mahal. If you want to save a few dollars, you can custom size each header based on the opening and loading, but the savings for one door is going to be small. On the other hand, if you have headroom issues, that is another matter.

I put a pair of French doors opening onto my deck as a retrofit, with a rough opening of slightly over ten feet. This was in a load bearing exterior wall. To save headroom, I used a steel beam, which worked out very nicely. Just an example of options that may apply to larger openings.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:39 AM   #15
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Can I widen the door jam?


Thanks everyone. This has been really helpful.

I was thinking a little more and we have the same size doors (24") on our pantry and coat closet. I wonder if he just got a deal on the doors and framed the opening to fit it. lol.

I am definitely glad everyone agrees with my annoyance of this unusually small door! We are planning on ripping everything out in about a month so I will keep everyone posted. I will probably post some more pictures once we get the drywall off to get some more opinions!

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