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Old 09-20-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


I'm considering replacing two short double hung windows with a sliding patio door in my kitchen remodel. The width of the existing opening is about 62.75" between the trimmer studs framing the windows. The height of the top of the opening also seems to be within range of various stock or custom patio doors.

Likely I would not do any more than the demolition myself, and perhaps not even that. Who knows, though. A friend of mine just did two sets of patio doors at his house, so maybe he'd show me how its done.

What I'm wondering is if it would be either considerably more difficult to DIY or considerably more expensive in installation costs to hire out if I wanted to do a door that's wider than the existing opening. Any thoughts?

There would be just marginally more demolition, but perhaps considerably more framing, going with a wider door.

There does seem to be a stud between the two existing windows, which are directly adjacent to each other. Maybe that puts the kibosh on avoiding any major reframing since there would be no equivalent stud with the patio door.

My exterior is stucco and the interior is plaster on rock lath wallboard. I've seen 5' (60") patio doors, so obviously, that would seem to fit the existing 62.75" width.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:29 AM   #2
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


You are going to have to put in a header that reaches across the entire opening, so there is a fair amount of sugury and framing that is going to occur, no matter what you do. You have stucco repair to do, no matter what you do. As you said, the demo difference is not substantial.

I would put in the wider width door you want... IMO.

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:23 AM   #3
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
You are going to have to put in a header that reaches across the entire opening, so there is a fair amount of sugury and framing that is going to occur, no matter what you do. You have stucco repair to do, no matter what you do. As you said, the demo difference is not substantial.

I would put in the wider width door you want... IMO.
This is pretty far from my area of expertise, but I believe there would be considerably less framing with the 5' door. I think I can summarize the existing situation by saying that if I go with 5', the existing header should suffice and the studs flanking the windows can also stay. In other words, the only existing framing members I would have to remove would be the sill and the cripple studs. That makes some assumptions about the existing framing, but I can see some of it after having removed the window trim.

Does that change the equation at all?

Ideally, I'd probably do a 7' door, but if there's going to be a significant difference in cost and/or hassle, 5' would suffice. This is an 8' wide room, so, in some ways, the extra wall space from going with a 5' would be nice.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:25 AM   #4
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


My comments were based upon thinking you had two separate headers and had to redo the header no matter which way you went. If there is already one adequate header across the two windows, yes it would be simpler, easier, and cheaper to go with a door that would fit the existing opening.

Removing just the sill and cripple studs is relatively trivial. I would suggest to demo the exterior stucco back a good 8-10" or so from the opening to allow you to properly apply flashing and tie in the wire for the new stucco. If there is any horizontal wiring run under the window you will have to make accomodation to run it up and around the new door.

In a recent remodel I had a similar situation. As you are trying to do, I reused existing headers. I replaced an exsisting 8' patio door and another approx 8' window with matching tall windows, the windows were bought to fit the somewhat narrower of the two openings.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:54 AM   #5
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


YUp, as long as their is a single header you should be OK
BUT - if the header is undersized you may need to replace it
I've found that older houses the framing is less likely to move

Putting in a 7' door would need a new header
My last house I pulled apart the inside & reframed a new header for a slider
When it was all framed out I removed the window & cut the siding/sheathing & installed the slider
It was mid Jan when I did this

Best part was making most of the cuts & then kicking the wall out
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:22 AM   #6
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Replacing windows with sliding patio door, should I match widths?


It pretty much depends on just what you have and what you really want.You wont know what you have till you open it up and like has already been mentioned if its not a full header it will need replaced.That stud in the middel is going to have to come out either way.IMHO I would go with the larger door and either way the project is DIY if your a bit hand or have a freind to show you how like you said.In my home I took out 3 window that were right next to each other and put in a french door but had to re fram the whole thing it took about half a day

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