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installing exterior door

I want to install an exterior door in a room that currently does not have one.

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Posted 2011-06-15T14:16:29+0000  by cpet cpet

Hello cpet,


Welcome to the community.


It sounds like you’re in for a fun project.


First I want to make sure that you know to double check with your local building code department to make sure that this is with-in the legal building codes. I would hate for them to come and tell you that it’s not and make you tear it all down after all of your hard work. :smileysad:


Just so you know all exterior walls are load bearing so just keep that in mind as you take on this project. The opening that you are going to be making is small enough that you shouldn’t have any problems.


Figure out the size of the door that you want to install and add 1” to the width and ½” to the height to the net size of the pre-hung unit. This will be your rough opening size.


Once you have figured out the size and location of your new door and have marked it on the drywall. Double check the location on the outside to make sure that there is nothing that will get in your way. Make sure that you look for any electrical that might be located in the area. If there is it’s still possible to put a door there you will just have to relocate the electrical to go up and around the door.


Now you will use a utility knife to cut the drywall and remove it. You don’t want to use a power saw just in case there is electrical, plumbing, or anything else that you wouldn’t want to hit with it. Once you have all of the drywall off and verify everything is clear then you can start removing the old framing and adding in the new.


Remove all of the insulation from the area. It’s easiest if you use a reciprocating saw to cut the nails at the top, bottom and at any fireblocks. The stucco wire and paper is normally held on with staples so once you cut all of the nails you will need to use a small pry bar to pull the 2 x 4 from the stucco.

       door stud removal.JPG         framing a door.JPG


Before you cut the sill plate make sure you allow for the jack stud if you’re using one of the existing studs. One of the common mistakes is to cut the sill plate flush with the stud and then you figure out that you need it 1 ½” longer so that the jack stud will have a sill plate to sit on.


Now you’re ready to put your new door framing in. GotoGregg has done a post on how to build a header out of 2 x 4’s and OSB so here is a link to it so that you can check it out. Complete all of the new framing. (See picture below.)

door stud added.JPG            header.jpeg

The easiest way to mark where your door is going to be so that you can see it on the outside is to use a nail gun and shoot a nail at all 4 corners. This will allow you to wrap a chalk line around them on the outside and snap a line. This will be your guild line for removing the stucco. (Assuming that your house has stucco on it)


 Take a hammer and break out the stucco about 4-6” from the line out. This will give you the room that you will need for the weather proofing around your door. Then take wire cutters and cut the wire as close to the line as possible. This will allow you to bend it back to get the weather proofing under it. Start at the bottom and work up on both sides and then the top. Be careful because once you cut the top wire the entire piece of stucco is going to fall off. The only thing left should be the weather proofing. In my area it’s just felt paper so I can cut it off with a utility knife. In other areas of the country you most likely have something heavier so you might have to use the reciprocating saw to cut it out.


Now your opening is ready for you to install your exterior door. Here is a link to how to Install an Entry Door.  You’re going to have to repair the stucco around the door after you install it.


So let us know if you need help with the installation of the door or the stucco repair.


Thanks for your question and post some picture of your project so we can admire a job well done.  

Posted 2011-06-15T19:46:38+0000  by Christine_HD_OC
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