How to Frame a Sliding Door

Lead Image
  • 5-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 120-400
What You'll Need
Circular saw
Reciprocating saw
4-foot level
Chalk line
Cordless drill
2x12x8-inch lumber
2x4x10-inch lumber
16d nails
12d nails
Safety goggles
Measuring square

If you are able to frame a sliding door yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money. The installation requires only a few steps that can be completed in a day. Sliding doors are energy efficient and provide aesthetic value to your home. They also require much less space than a swinging door. When installing a sliding door, the frame is going to require the most attention. If the door is not framed correctly, the door will not stay in place. The steps to frame a sliding door and the tools required for the job are listed below.

Step 1 - Find a Sliding Door Location

Decide on where the sliding door will be. Check the wall on both sides and on the top and bottom for any heating ducts or electrical and plumbing. Place a mark on the wall for the dimensions.

Step 2 - Prepare

Turn the power off in the area where you will be working. Lay down construction drop cloths or plastic to protect the flooring. An opening of roughly 72-inches in width and 80-inches in height is the usual requirement for a sliding door frame. Check the 4 corners with your framing square. You can use a level to be sure it is even all the way around. Make sure the openings are at least a quarter of an inch larger on the top and the sides. Check the area to make sure it is sturdy and not rotting anywhere. If it is, you may need to create a stud.

Step 3 - Make the Header

Cut 2 2x6-inch pieces of lumber to 75-inches and make a spacer by using a half inch thick piece of wood between the 2 pieces. Nail these 3 pieces together (the spacer in the middle of the 2x6-inch pieces). This will be the header. All edges are to be even, leaving the spacer and the 2x6-inch pieces the same width. Place the header tightly on the studs and secure them in place in order to get the jack stud measurements. The jack studs will fit under both ends of the header. They should be cut where they fit snugly in the space under the new header and above the floor.

Step 4 - Position and Caulk the Frame

Place the frame directly in front of the opening and make sure it is caulked sufficiently. Install the frame without damaging the caulking. You'll probably need 1-2 assistants for this step, especially if you're installing double sliding doors.

Step 5 - Nail the Frame in Place

Install the flange with nails. Start on the top right side of the frame. Use a level to keep up with how even the frame is. Complete the nail install on the lower left hand side of the sliding door frame. Keep checking with your level to see if it is even. Nail the rest of the frame up around the door, but keep checking with the level to ensure it is equal all the way around.