Double entry doors are often the first impression a guest or visitor has of your home. They can convey an impression of a specific exterior decorating style or they can convey a particular image of the homeowner that is desired. If you’re looking to add double entry doors, here are the steps to get you started.
Step 1 - Measure for Door Opening
The first thing to do is to verify the possibilities of adding a double door on the wall location where you want it. The overall width of the door opening that will need to be created in the wall is the overall width of the door frame assembly plus a 1/2-inch gap around the perimeter for the installation and leveling. Locate where the studs are placed inside that wall and choose the stud representing the start point where you want the door installed. Keep in mind that from that stud you'll have to add extra framing on both sides complemented by a reinforced header that will ascertain the overall integrity of the structure and the installation. With this being said, a transom will be calculated taking into account that a header will be added underneath the existing wallplate.
You can now take out your tape measure and figure out the width and height where you want to install the doors. If you are planning on installing sidelights or a transom above the door, also measure for these additional elements.
Step 2 - Order Doors
You can order doors from almost any large home improvement retailer or from retailers that specialize in doors and windows. You may also consider ordering complimentary sidelights and a transom to go above the door for a complete and finished door entry.
Step 3 - Frame Door Opening
The door frame is what the 2 sashes will be mounted on or attached to and provides the rigidity needed to install the assembly inside the door opening. It also provides the stability to make all the permanent necessary adjustments for both sashes and their hardware to operate smoothly—latch, strikers, deadbolts, weatherstripping, sill, etc. In order to build the frame, you will need to get boards long enough to cover the sloped sill, sashes, tolerance gaps at the top and the bottom, and the thickness of the frame header, which is another board as long as the added width of both sashes, the tolerance gaps, and enough to cover for the assembly with the side pieces. The door sill is a special cut piece and should be about the same length unless you choose an aluminum or a brass sill. Those metal sills usually cover the full width of the door frame assembly.
Step 4 - Hang Door
If you choose to install the frame prior to hanging the sashes to it, you will need to install the frame making sure it is plumb and square before attaching hinges to both the frame and the doors, and finally hanging in place.
But if you purchase a pre-hung door or hang the sashes yourself, a pre-hung door will only require that you place the door in the opening and fasten it securely into place after making sure that it is plumb and square. Doing it this way gives you a better chance to adjust as you can check the ease to open and close the sashes as well as the leveling as you perform the installation.