Widening Doorways for Interior Doors

  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-250
What You'll Need
Chisel or Hammer
Drop Cloths
Chalk Line
Drywall (sheet rock)
Spackle Tape

Sometimes an interior door is just not wide enough to be functional. In homes built in the war time era, they were made compact in form and function for that time. Today's standard is a 36 inch doorway. This allows for everything from bulky furniture to wheelchairs to move about freely from one side of the doorway to the other. If you live in a home that is still very compact, with tiny doorways, you can widen the doorway in just a weekend. Here is how:

Step 1 - Prepare Your Area

Remove any furniture that is close to the door. Put down drop cloths in the space you are working to protect your flooring surface.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Door

First, remove the old door. Pop off the hinges and pull up on the door. It should lift up easily. If you cannot pop the hinges with your fingers, then try the flat side of a hammer or a small chisel. Unless they have rusted in place, they should come up fairly easily. As an added helper, you can grease or oil the door hinges to help pull the door up and off.

Step 3 - Remove the Door Moulding

Most doorways have moulding on the tops and the sides. Remove all the moulding. Generally, you can use the same chisel you pulled out in step 1 to pull back on the moulding. It should pop right off. If there is casing on the inside of the doorway, remove the casing as well.

Step 4 - Create a Small Hole

You now need to find out what is behind the wall. Create a small 2x2 square hole in the wall next to the doorway. Use your flashlight to look inside the wall. Make sure you will not disturb any electrical wire or plumbing.

Step 5 - Cut the Wall

Using your saw, cut the wall board (Sheetrock) all the way up. If you are not handy at cutting along a straight line, make sure you mark off your wall first using a chalk line and a level.

Step 6 - Remove the Framing

Once you have cut away the sheetrock, you will still see the framing. You need to remove the framing by cutting the nails that secure the doorjamb in place. Use a reciprocating saw, as it does a great job at cutting through nails. Remove the studs completely.

Step 7 - Install New Framing

Now, install new framing with 2x4s or 2x6s (depending on what has been used for your existing wall). Measure the opening of your doorway to make sure it is big enough. Always allow an extra couple inches for framing and casing

Step 8 - Add Sheetrock and Spackle

Install Sheetrock to your newly framed opening. Start at the top corner and work down. If you are adding multiple pieces of Sheetrock, remember to tape and spackle the joints. Spackle any screws that were used to put the drywall up. Check that the drywall is plumb by using a level.

Step 9 - Add Trim and Door

Put new trim up by tacking it into place with a couple finishing nails. If you were able to save the old trim, you can reuse that instead. Add your door hinges and your new door.