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Framing a Door – Part 2 in How To Build A Wall Series

Are you going to be framing a door in an interior wall? You’ve gotta check out this detailed tutorial about how to build an interior wall with a door. We will also explain how to calculate a door rough opening!

When we purchased our fixer-upper, part of the renovation plans included transforming a second living room into a nursery, walk-in closet, and bathroom. That meant that we need to add new interior walls!

Last week we shared a detailed guide for how to build a wall and kept it to the basics while promising we would give you more details if you’re going to be building a wall with a door. 

As a follow-up to our how to build a wall guide, today we’re going to show you how to arrange the framing of the studs in your interior wall to account for a door. 

If you haven’t read the how to build a wall article, be sure to go back and start there first!!

Today, we’re going to jump right in and talk about framing a door. Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to define all of the “lingo” and explain how to calculate your door rough opening!

Framing a door in an exterior wall? The door framing process is a bit different for exterior doors. Here’s a good exterior door tutorial you can follow!

Keep reading if you are going to be framing a door in your interior wall!

This article walks you through how to frame a door in an interior stud wall

Calculating your door rough opening

When you are framing a door, first you need to frame space for a door in a stud wall, which is called a rough opening.

Now let’s talk some “lingo” for a hot second. Doors are measured feet first and then inches second. For example, a 32″ wide 80″ tall door like we used is actually referred to as a “2/8 door” or 2 feet + 8″ = 32″.

When calculating your door rough opening, you always add 1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ for the height (depending on the flooring) and 2″ for the width. So the rough opening for the door we were installing was 81 1/2” – 82 1/2″ tall and 34″ wide.

An important note here about the height of the door rough opening:

  • You should add 2 1/2″ if you are going to be adding flooring
  • Add 1 1/2” if you’re going to be using the original hardwood floors like we were

With the door we were installing, a height of 82 1/2″ is assuming that you’ll be putting flooring in. In our case, we were going right over our hardwood floors we were going to restore so Logan framed the door rough opening at 81 1/2″ instead.

Framing studs for door in wall

The next step when you are framing a door on a new interior wall is adding the studs for the door frame.

You need to consider the jack studs, the king stud, and the header (which all make up the framing necessary for a door).

Photo of door framing with labels : header, jack stud, king stud, base plate and top plate

King studs

The king studs go from the base plate and top plate (the base and top plate are just what 2×4 studs on the bottom and top of your wall are called).

Note: the base plate is also sometimes called the sole plate.

The top plate is one that that goes across the top of the studs and it is nailed into the ceiling joists.

If you’re lucky, the king studs will line up with the studs that will already be in the wall for your 16” on center studs in the interior wall framing. But if they don’t line up perfectly, then they may have to be added.

Jack studs

Next, you’ll attach the jack studs, which are what you’ll be placing the header on (see photo above). The jack studs are nailed to the king studs.

Note: the jack stud is also sometimes called the trimmer stud.

  • The distance between your jack studs need to be equal to the rough opening width for your door, in our case this was 34″.

Now the jack stud will be sitting on top of the base plate, so don’t forget to account for the thickness of the base plate before you cut the jack stud.

  • 2×4 studs are 1 1/2″ thick so your jack stud will need to be cut at 80″.
  • Important note here about the height of the door rough opening, 82 1/2″ is assuming that you’ll be putting flooring in.
  • In our case, we were going right over our hard wood floors we were going to restore so Logan framed the rough opening height at 81 1/2″.

Now that the king and jack studs are accounted for, it is time to consider the header of your door opening.

The header goes on top of the jack studs.

  • When adding an interior wall, chances are that it is not going to be load bearing wall so the headers don’t need to account for any weight of the house. (If you do end up putting up a load bearing wall, look up your local codes and be sure to frame accordingly.)
  • If the wall is not load bearing, this just means you can slap two 2×4 studs together that are cut to a length that will sit on top of your jack studs and between the king studs.
  • The header should always be 3″ longer than your door rough opening width to sit on top of your jack studs, which are both 1 1/2″ thick.
    • Remember that 2x4s don’t REALLY measure 2 inches by 4 inches wide. Learn more about confusing lumber dimensions here.

You may notice that in our picture we didn’t use two 2×4 studs put together for the header.  We actually had an old 4×6 lying around that was completely dried out, so Logan decided to use this instead.

Buying wood for door opening header

Whatever you do, don’t buy a new 4×4 or 4×6 and use them as headers.

They will most likely twist and mess up your drywall later as wood fresh off the rack still has some moisture content. Once that moisture leaves the beams will twist. 

You don’t have to worry much about this with 2×4 studs because they are already kiln-dried.

Cripple studs

If you have a gap between the header and the top plate at the ceiling line, you’ll also need to add cripple studs. Cripple studs are vertical studs that sit in between the header and the top plate.

Since our door framing goes all the way to the ceiling and we did not have any extra space, we did not need to add cripple studs.

The best order of framing a door in a wall

Now that we’ve got the basic lingo for door framing worked out and we talked about the measurements, let’s talk about the order for actually framing out the door.

When building your wall, the king studs will be worked into the framing of the wall, which is why it’s crucial that you have your construction plans worked out before you start building the wall.

  1. When you’re ready to start framing a door opening, cut your jack stud to the proper length and nail it to the base plate.
  2. Now add your header by putting it on top of the jack studs and nail it to both the jack studs and king studs.
  3. You can cut additional studs to fill any space you may have between the header and top plate and nail in place.
  4. Place two these additional pieces of wood on either side of the header and one or two in the middle evenly spaced (these are called cripple studs). You don’t see these in our picture because our header reached all the way to our top plate.
Photo of framing around door opening with text overlay that says how to frame a door in wall

If you’re building a wall, don’t forget to check out this post first for a basic guide on how to build a wall.

If you need to add a door to the wall, now you know how to frame it out and calculate your rough opening too!

Next up you’ll hang your door and we’ve got a whole post about how to install a prehung door here!

Did you learn a lot from this tutorial on framing a door??

Let me know in the comments below!!


How To Frame A Door

How To Frame A Door

Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Advanced
Estimated Cost: $50
Are you going to be framing a door in an interior wall? You’ve gotta check out this detailed tutorial about how to build an interior wall with a door.

Materials

  • 2x4 Studs 
  • Header wood
  • Nails

Tools

  • Framing Nailer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Circular Saw (or Miter Saw)
  • Level

Instructions

    1. When you’re ready to start framing a door opening, cut your jack stud to the proper length and nail it to the base plate.
    2. Now add your header by putting it on top of the jack studs and nail it to both the jack studs and king studs.
    3. You can cut three or four 2×4’s to fill any space you may have between the header and top plate and nail in place.
    4. Place two these filler pieces on either side of the header and one or two in the middle evenly spaced (these are called cripple studs). You don’t see these in our picture because our header reached all the way to our top plate.

3 thoughts on “Framing a Door – Part 2 in How To Build A Wall Series

  1. Thanks for the tips on how to frame a wall. I appreciate that you mentioned that it;s important to frame studs for a door. My husband was thinking about building one by himself but I think it might be smarter for us to just get a wallframe so it can be easier.

  2. I found your how to build a door frame excellent but is it any different for a outside front french doors? Do you have an article on that. I’m female, 66yrs and doing it myself. TIA
    Cheryl

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