door hinge into a plaster wall?
Hello, I've run into a challenge adding a door in a 1920 build home and am stumped about how to proceed. Sorry for the length of the post.
I'm adding the door to an interior wall that I believe was added as a renovation, probably decades ago. The wall has a cutout doorway that leads to the basement. The cutout is 80"x28". There is no wooden frame around the cutout. The previous owner had no door there, just a curtain. We need to add a door for safety reasons. Young child at home.
Here's the challenge. The wall around the doorway cutout is plaster. I know plaster won't hold a door hinge, but I thought with a long enough screw I should hit some wood back there somewhere. When I drill in I'm running parallel to the front of the wall that faces the hallway, so I thought there would be a stud close to the doorway cutout.
I chiseled out a mortise for the door, which went surprisingly ok. There was a small metal edging at the end of the frame, which I ground down to a place where the hinge sits reasonably flush with in the wall.
The bottom hinge went in well. I used longer 2.5" screws. After about .5" of plaster I clearly hit wood and it took another 15 seconds with the impact driver to get the next 2" in. It's very secure.
The top hinge was a different story. After 2.5" I could tell I hit no wood. I tried a 3.5" screw and still no wood. The screws are fairly tight, but I know that won't last with a door hinge supporting an old 50lb door.
My question is, does anyone have a suggestion on how I could anchor some screws into the plaster that would be strong enough to support a door hinge and all the motion/pull it creates?
My next bet is to try a toggle bolt. But I need to drill a large hole to fit that in, which I'd rather not do if I'm not sure it will work. I also read that gluing in a plastic anchor might work, but that just sounds like a bad idea. I would be willing to cement or epoxy the screw and hinge into the wall if that's an option as well.
Here's an image, in case that helps. I can post a broader image of the whole doorway, if that helps too.
Obviously my main concern is that the plaster will crumble over time. I'm trying to avoid a major project of having to pull down the plaster wall and add wood.
I know it's not an ideal situation, but am hoping to get an idea of how I can make it work. I'm pretty much a novice DIYer, so any help is much appreciated!
Alternately, using a stud-finder see if there is structure above or below where the hinge is on the door, as you could relocate the hinge on the door.
A safety concern would be whether this 'frameless' door would latch/lock adequately to keep a child from opening the door. The overall best approach would be to bite the bullet and create a proper door frame. Don't forget that if the door slams, it's going to likely do a lot of plaster damage.
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