Whether you’re trying to upgrade your office or home, creating new doorways is a great way to increase functionality and flow between spaces. However, it’s important to make sure that any load bearing walls aren’t impacted by the addition of a new doorway. If you know what you’re doing, putting in a doorway in a load bearing wall may not be as difficult as it seems. You’ll just need to take some proper measurements, install some structural supports, and frame out your new door opening with care.
Locate the load-bearing beam.
You will want to locate the load-bearing beam in your wall before you try installing a doorway. You can find the beam by using a stud finder, hammer and nail, screwdriver, drill or chisel.
There are several ways to locate your wall’s load bearing beam:
- Use a Stud Finder
- Strike Against the Wall with a Hammer and Nail
- Hold up Screwdriver on Edge at 90 Degrees Against Wall (If It Floats Above it’s Not Underneath)
Write down the dimensions of the doorway opening.
Before you begin, you’ll want to write down the dimensions of the doorway opening. These measurements will allow you to determine how much wood and how many sheathing boards you need for your project.
- Measure the width and height of the doorway opening.
- Measure from floor to ceiling.
- Measure from ceiling to floor.
- If applicable, measure from wall-to-wall (in this case, I didn’t have a wall on one side of my doorway).
- Determine where in the middle of your opening that will be; measure outward along all four sides (this measurement will determine how far apart each stud needs to be when they’re installed).
Measure to find the center of the load-bearing wall and mark this point, then transfer this point to your joists in the attic above.
Measuring to find the center of your load-bearing wall and marking this point, then transferring this point to your joists in the attic above, is easier with a few tools. You’ll need a measuring tape (of course), but can also use a measuring wheel, chalk line, laser level or plumb bob. A framing square will help you transfer the measurements from wall to ceiling joist and give you more accuracy than just eyeballing it. A spirit level will help keep you from drawing lines at an angle rather than straight up and down; once again it’s easy enough to do without one but being off by just a fraction of an inch can make all the difference when cutting out holes for windows later on.
Make markings for a new header for your doorway opening using an 1×8 board and a 2×6 board.
- Make markings for a new header for your doorway opening using an 1×8 board and a 2×6 board.
- Use a framing square to ensure the new header is square, then use a chalk line to ensure it’s straight.
- Attach the two boards together with nails or screws (you can use either wood or metal). You’ll need to make sure they’re level as well—this helps keep the doorway plumb, which will make your life easier when you get around to installing drywall in this room.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the old header and place your new header in place, then nail it into place with 12d galvanized nails.
Next, use a jigsaw to cut out the old header and place your new header in place, then nail it into place with 12d galvanized nails. Once you have the door frame secured, lay down some scrap wood on top of your curb and position it so that when you drop your door into place (which is called hanging), the top of your door will be flush with the top of your frame. This ensures that there are no gaps between them once you secure them together with nails or screws.
Probe up through the floor to check that all is clear above your door opening. Then, cut away any sheetrock or plaster that might be covering the area directly above your door opening.
- Probe up through the floor to check that all is clear above your door opening. Then, cut away any sheetrock or plaster that might be covering the area directly above your door opening.
- Remove any nails or staples that are holding up pieces of lumber in place on either side of the doorway, using a nail puller (if you don’t have one, use pliers).
- Cut 2 x 4s to length and set them into place at either side of where the new doorway will be, fastening them together with screws so they form an “X” shape across it where they meet in the center (the “X” should point toward one wall). These boards act as temporary supports while you frame out around them later on—so make sure they’re level!
Install temporary 2×4 support jacks under either side of the new door header, followed by additional blocking supports as needed.
- Install temporary support jacks under either side of the new door header, followed by additional blocking supports as needed.
- Remove temporary support jacks once permanent supports are in place.
- Frame in a rough opening for your new door and install it temporarily with 2x4s or other temporary framing members to hold it in place while you frame out the rest of your wall. You’ll want to make sure this doorway is square! If not, adjust until it is before moving on.
- Hang drywall from top to bottom overtop where you tore down load bearing walls (or anything else that was previously there). Apply joint compound and tape, then sand and finish as desired
Remove your temporary support jacks once your permanent lintel supports are in place, then frame in a rough opening for your new door.
Once you have your permanent lintel supports in place, remove the temporary support jacks and frame in a rough opening for your new door. Use a stud finder to locate the studs, then use a framing square to mark their locations on the wall. Use a hammer and nails to nail each of these studs into place.
Finally, attach the header joists from above with 2″ × 4″ top plates that are secured with screws or bolts through each end of the header joist into each bearing wall stud below it. You may need additional blocking between these top plates and ceiling joists as well; consult with an experienced carpenter if necessary.
Hang your drywall, apply joint compound and tape, then sand and finish as desired.
The process of hanging drywall is similar to the steps you would take in any other project. Once you have your studs marked, cut, and installed, it will be time to hang the drywall.
The first step is to apply joint compound and tape over any seams that are visible on the surface of your wall (if they aren’t already). To do this, use a long board as a straightedge and apply strips of paper tape along all edges where two pieces of drywall meet. This will help with keeping things lined up neatly when taping them together so that there are no gaps or overlap marks when finished.
Once this is done it’s time for the actual drywalling: place two sheets horizontally along each stud (and ensure they’re flush at every corner), screwing into place every 8 inches apart from each other with screws about 1/2 inch from either end so that they’re hidden by wood trim later on in construction
A doorway can be installed successfully in a load bearing wall with careful planning and attention to detail.
If you plan to install a doorway in a load bearing wall, it is important that you pay close attention to the structure of the wall and make sure that it will support the weight of the door. To do this, you must use a header.
A doorframe must have enough space for its new door so that people can pass through without hitting their heads on it. If you are installing a swinging door, there should be plenty of clearance at floor level so that someone can swing their legs under it without getting tangled up in the hardware or hitting their shins against its edge. If your new doorway is going to open onto an exterior wall, then there should be enough room between your existing framing and where your addition will go so that nobody can get trapped behind them if they decide not want enter through one side but instead walk around both sides of your addition when they come home later on (assuming they will remember which side has been modified).
When hanging a new door with hinges and locksets into an opening previously used only as access point such as garage doors or passage ways between rooms within homes/apartments/condos etcetera which may have been converted from single family residences into multi-family units etcetera after being bought out by developers who wanted to create more housing opportunities for low income families who might otherwise struggle finding affordable places where rent prices don’t exceed 25% or even 50% of income earned from jobs located nearby; if done properly according
So to recap: first, locate the load-bearing beam (or joist) in your ceiling. Then, measure and mark out a new header for your doorway opening. Use a jigsaw to cut away the old header and install your new header in place. Next, install temporary supports on either side of the new header, followed by additional blocking supports as needed. Then remove the temporary supports once you have sufficiently braced your new header with permanent lintels. Finally, frame in a rough opening for your new door using standard framing procedures; then hang drywall and finish accordingly. With careful planning and attention to detail at every step along the way, you’re sure to have success.