How to Frame an Exterior Door Opening Part 1

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-500
What You'll Need
New exterior door
Measuring tape
Pencil and paper
2x4 or 2x3-inch wood
Utility knife
Metal lumber connector brackets

Knowing how to frame an exterior door opening is not that difficult. There are several steps you do need to understand to create a safe and secure frame before you can install your exterior door.

Step 1 – Location of the Exterior Door

Before you hammer down an interior wall, you first need to determine where the walls studs are to each side of the area where you want to put the opening. To do this, you can easily drill a hole or punch out a small hole.

Once you have identified the wall studs, you can then mark the vertical lines on the center of the studs. Draw 2 vertical lines at the center of each wall studs. This will be your guideline once you start to open up the interior wall.

Step 2 – Measuring the Door

It is important to remember that correct measurements allow you to create a level and symmetrical structure. Use your measuring tape for this job remembering to jot down the appropriate measurements in a paper.

Measure the door you would like to install so you can get the right measurement for the studs, plates and headers you will be using for framing the exterior door.

Step 2 – Removing the Interior Wall

With a utility knife, cut the vertical lines you have drawn to remove the sheetrock wall. After cutting the line and removing the sheetrock wall you will now be able to see the wall framing.

Once you have removed the sheetrock and expose the wall framing, you can now get to the insulation. Remove these as well.

Step 3 – Measuring Sole Plate

Measure the exterior door opening using your measuring tape. Make sure that you add an inch for each side as well as the top opening. This allowance is to make room for the caulk and shim. The bottom of the wall frame is called the sole plate.

The width on the 2x4-inch board horizontal should be marked as well the height nearest the 2x4-inch wall studs located outside of the door frame. A 1½-inch space on each side of the opening should also be measured and marked. This will serve as the sides of your door frame once completed.

Step 4 – Marking Locations for King and Jack Studs

After measuring the sole plate, you then need to mark the location of the king studs and jack studs. King studs are the wall studs that form the entire length of the wall. On the other hand, jack studs are vertical frames that support the header and form the inside of the door.

To mark the location of the king studs, measure your exterior door and add an extra 6 inches for allowance. These extra inches are for the width of the door on both sides.

Step 5 – Adding King Studs

You can use the existing wall studs as your king studs. However, in the event that the wall studs are not enough you do need to insert king studs on your opening.

To do this, measure the difference between the sole plate, the bottom frame, and the top plate which is the top most frame of the wall. The distance between each horizontal frame will depend on the size of your door. Cut a 2x4 lumber with the same height – this will serve as your king studs.

Insert the king studs on the marks you made on the sole plate. With the level, ensure that the studs are vertical. If everything is aligned properly, nail the king studs to the sole plate and the top wall plate.