how to extreme

Installing a New Exterior Door

Construction How-To, Framing, Remodeling, Windows & Doors December 3, 2010 Sonia


By Matt Weber

 

From cutting access to framing and installation.

 

 

 

 

 

I recently built a nice, big deck at the rear of our project house, but there wasn’t a door to access it from inside. I decided to install the door in the kitchen at the corner of the house, since the only other two options were the master bedroom or a bathroom. The kitchen posed problems of its own, with a huge set of oak cabinets leaving us only about 8 feet of wall space with which to work. The project was definitely a challenge, but I managed to support the ceiling, cut through the wall, reframe the wall and install the door. Here’s how it went.

A T-Jak is a helpful tool to support the top plate while you install the studs.

A T-Jak is a helpful tool to support the top plate while you install the studs.

Use a T-square to mark the ceiling joists near the location of your temporary brace wall.

Use a T-square to mark the ceiling joists near the location of your temporary brace wall.

 

Solid Support

Any time you’re cutting the studs out of a load-bearing wall, you must construct a temporary brace wall to support the overhead load. If you’re dealing with a multistory structure, I’d suggest consulting a structural engineer about how to support a heavy load. In this case I was working on the top floor with only the roof overhead, which is easily supported by the bracing techniques shown here. To build this, I first marked the proposed location of the door on the wall, and then marked the location of the ceiling joists. Make sure the brace wall runs perpendicular to the ceiling framing, otherwise you’re just holding up drywall.

 

Measure between the top and bottom plate, and cut the temporary studs to fit.

Measure between the top and bottom plate, and cut the temporary studs to fit.

I then installed a top and bottom floor plate, each made of 2-by-10’s. Protect the flooring and finished ceiling by placing a few sheets of corrugated cardboard between the plates. Extend the brace wall so the top plate extends a few feet beyond each side of the proposed door location so the overhead framing is completely supported when you cut through the existing wall. Build it about 3 feet out from the wall you’re about to penetrate to allow room to work.

"Snug" the studs in place. Use shims if necessary rather than banging them into position with a hammer, which might damage the floor or ceiling.

“Snug” the studs in place. Use shims if necessary rather than banging them into position with a hammer, which might damage the floor or ceiling.

It’s nice to have an assistant hold the top and bottom plates while you install the temporary studs to support the ceiling, but I didn’t have that luxury. Instead, I used a T-Jak, which is a threaded, telescoping cabinet jack that works great for all sorts of overhead installations when you need a third hand. Beginning in the center, locate each 2-by-4 stud beneath the marks for the ceiling joists so you’re transferring the weight directly to the vertical support.

Make sure the studs are plumb on each face and toe-screw them into place.

Make sure the studs are plumb on each face and toe-screw them into place.

When installing the studs, don’t bang them with a hammer to wedge them in place—doing so risks damaging the floor and ceiling. Instead, “snug” them between the plates, using shims if necessary. To make sure they stay in place, I fasten them temporarily by toe-screwing the studs into each plate once they’re plumb.

Diagonal cross-braces strengthen the temporary wall.

Diagonal cross-braces strengthen the temporary wall.