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Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

This spring I plan on installing a front entry double door, however my existing door is a single door. As far as the framing goes, I think I am good, however does anyone have any suggestions on:

1 - Interior - removing a section of wood & lathe plaster wall without it all crumbling.

2 - Exterior - cutting into aluminum siding without it curling or bending and having to reside the whole front side of my house.

Existing door is 36 x 84
New doors will be 64 x 84


A. Spruce
Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

Every opening has a header to support the structure around the opening, however that header is only as wide as the existing opening. To widen your doorway, you will need to open up the wall and install a new, longer header that will accommodate the new door width.

If your entry is just a bit wider than what the new door will be, then I'd suggest removing the lath and plaster from wall to wall and floor to ceiling to give you access to the framing and any electrical that will need to be relocated. Once the new door is in you can install drywall instead of lath/plaster. You shim the studs so that the finished surface of the drywall will be at the same height as the plaster.

As for the exterior, it is usually easier to remove "fake" siding and reinstall it after the work is finished rather than trying to cut/modify it in place. The reason being is that you're going to have to deal with whatever the original wall surface was too. I'd recommend consulting with a fake siding installer for assistance.

Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double


Far be it from me to discourage your enthusiasm, but this is not the easiest of alterrations. You might want to farm this one out and observe. At a minimum,I would do a little research as to how that door needs to be framed out, i.e. rough opening, required dimensions of the header, etc. You are involving insulation, electrical, plaster or drywalling, re-installation of the siding, properly flashing around and over that door, setting the sill weather tight and to line up with the inside flooring, etc.

Guys like Spruce spent a lifetime accumulating such knowledge. I am a pretty handy guy myself, but I gladly yield to the pros when I see that I am getting in over my head. Sometimes you are just better off doing what you do best and letting the pro do what he does best.

Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

The above answers emphasize just some of the difficulties in making such a renovation. Enlarging a front door could be way too complicated, with some unforeseen traps and expenses. Consider all the fact before you start.

Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

just looking at this thread. i have to agree with sprucey.

what you want to do is something i do on a regular basis.. only difference with the exterior is if theres metal siding on the place we compeletely remove it.. honestly metal siding something from the past.. if a peice gets damaged your not going to find a replacement peice anywhere. then you'll have to try to rig up some after the fact trim detail to try to hide it

Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

I was thinking that as well and since there will be little left on the sides and only 3 rows up top, I think I will replace it with the same size fiber cement.

Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

As this thread shows, what seems so simple at first may not be once you get started. Inside those walls can be wires, pipes, gas line connections and odd-dimensioned studs. On those walls is one of several different plaster installations and unknown wall sheathing on the outside.

Were I you I would rethink the whole concept of changing the door size and if I still felt I had to go ahead with it I would be prepared for all manner of surprises and expenses. If I didn't know for certain that I was up to everything I might encounter, I'd get an experienced remodeling contractor to do the job and keep the Tylenol people in business himself as I watched without a headache.


A. Spruce
Re: Making a Single Entry Door into a Double

As has been pointed out, this project will likely be a pretty good sized can of worms. An experienced DIY'r could handle it without too much trouble if they think the project through first and set up a game plan. Be prepared for it to take two days from start of demolition to having the house resecured with the new door. Notice I said resecured and not finished. Completion will take up to a week, even for an experienced tradesman.

What I do in situations like this is to do exploratory surgery from the inside. The first thing is to mark out the location of the new doorway, then carefully demo the wall within that space. As I mentioned earlier, it may be easier to strip the entire entry wall from floor to ceiling and side to side if the new door will take up most of this space. This way you can tell just how much restructuring will need to be done for the new door. You can also assess the electrical needs, exterior siding, etc. At this point you need to determine if you can continue on your own or if you need to call in help.

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