Enlarge a Door for an ADA Doorway

We help you Enlarge a Door for an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Doorway

Knowing how to Enlarge a Door

To start, anyone can enlarge a door if they put their mind and, most importantly their power tools into it. 

If you want you can just call us and we take care of it for you, because we know how to do it well; otherwise, keep reading and you will learn how.

Share these instruction with those whom actually need it.

DIY'ers way to Enlarge a door:

DIY – necessary tools to enlarge a door:

To begin with, you will have to get a reasonably-sized craw bar, a small nail-pulling carpentry pry-bar, a framing hammer, a sawzall with  6″ thin demolition blade. Usually a ADA door is 34″ to 36″ wide, and if you need to read this to get it done, don’t try anything beyond 36″.  As a matter of fact, looking up online doesn’t get you the experience necessary to perform this task for the first time. Therefore we recommend you to follow all advices here.

DIY – Demolition:

Most importantly, make sure that there are no structural members distributing loads over the existing door header. If there is any load-bearing member over the door, let this job in the hands of professionals, just call us.

Otherwise, you can keep going with demolition. 

Definitely, start by removing the existing door from the hinges — if there is one already. 

Next, just cut the door jamb at the bottom, parallel to the floor at both sides, including if you are planning to use a new pre-hung door instead of hanging the new door yourself.

collateral damage during demolition to Enlarge a Door:

Removing everything makes it easier to access and remove the headers. 

If you want to remove only one side to save time, (which we do not recommend) I would choose the latching side, not the hinge side. 

The reasons are obvious, if it is not obvious to you, just stay away from this project. In fact this shows that this could go terribly wrong. But I am not here to discourage you. It is obvious that I’m just explaining what I know. 

Also be careful not to damage the floor. Cutting along parallel to the floor is almost certain that you will cause some damage to the floor, have a plan “B” to repair it if you fail to protect the floor during this endeavor.

There is also the option of using one of these vibration power tools that cut with a vibrating blade. They work well, specially for baseboards, trims and small details. 

Keep in mind that you will have to redo the flooring on the portion of the doorway that was extended.

cutting off trim, molding and door stoppers:

After you made sure the jamb is not attached to the floor, remove the door trim from both sides of the door jamb (inside and out), between the door jamb and the wall studs where the jamb was possibly shimmed by the original installer. So there may already be a gap for your saw blade.

If not, you should pry in between both so you make room for the Sawzall blade. Stick the blade there and go from the top all the way to the bottom, detaching from the studs one side of the jamb at the time. 

Make sure to cut all connections in between the jamb and the studs all the way around, including top and both sides. You will feel that the jamb is getting loose. 

Pry it in or out just enough to make sure it is completely loose.  

If so, have someone help you here, and press both jamb sides towards each other in the center of the door. 

That will reduce the vertical size of the jamb assembly and you should be able to pull it right off. Have an extra pair of hands for this step on the outside. Believe-me your floor will thank me later.

cutting drywall exposing king studs:

Remove the drywall, or plaster from one side of the doorway to expose the studs that you will be removing and also expose the header.  

Choose the side that will do the least damage. To exemplify, if you have tile in one side and drywall in another, obviously, don’t mess with the tiled side.

You will need to be very precise here. Also you will need to note if the wall is load bearing or not.

IF UNSURE STEP AWAY FROM THIS PROJECT AND CALL US. DO NOT REMOVE ANY STUDS WITHOUT ABSOLUTELY KNOWING IF THE WALL IS LOAD BEARING OR NOT!!!

image Carousel - Enlarge a Door:

cutting drywall exposing king studs removing header:

Yes, I was yelling at you by the end of the prior step. This step is critical and if you need to shore up, jack joists up, or anything to that nature, you better off calling professionals.

Remove the header and the studs to the side that you are enlarging the door. 

Cut the new studs and header to the right size. I cannot help you on this because every project is a different measurement. Measure twice and cut only once. 

Framing tEnlarge a Door:

Make the rough opening so the new door will fit with a bit of play. 1/4″ is a good rule of thumb for projects like this one. So measure it twice and frame only once. An example of rookie mistake is sizing the rough frame too small or exactly the size of the new pre-hung door. 

Have wood or plastic shims at hand, you will need them to plumb and level your new door frame on the following step.

Hanging a new pre-hung:

Sometimes, pre-hung doors come with markings that help you decide where to place your screws. Really good pre-hung doors have sturdier frames and come reinforced to prevent deformation. Do not remove those reinforcements until door is 100% screwed in place.

Go all the way around making sure the door jamb is properly attached to the adjacent studs.

Sometimes, pre-hung doors come with markings that help you decide where to place your screws. Really good pre-hung doors have sturdier frames and come reinforced to prevent deformation. Do not remove those reinforcements until door is 100% screwed in place.

Go all the way around making sure the door jamb is properly attached to the adjacent studs.

Considerations if you are not doing a pre-hung:

If you are not using a pre-hung door, I suggest you call us, because if you are reading this, I can say for sure that your carpentry skills will not be good enough to handle the hanging of a new door from scratch. 

Unless you have a few extra dollars to spend buying multiple doors and frames, I suggest leaving this kind of door install to professionals. Go with pre-hungs.

Once you had your pre-hung all attached, leveled, plumb, and aligned, remove the pre-hung frame holders and test the door. It should open and close properly, if not, now is the time to make adjustments.

Finishing it off:

Install new drywall or plaster where you removed, install new trim because the old one will not fit, repair the flooring, thresholds or anything else you damaged on the process of doing the job.  Expect collateral damage.

Prime and paint anything you touched and needs painting.

Then put all your tools back in your shop, clean it all up and no one will never notice that the door jamb had been yanked out of there. 

If you decide that this project is too much for you, just let us know and we will come by and take care of all the steps. Click on Contact us and give us a call. We may be able to price the job over the phone.

Or Get the Full ADA guidelines by clicking here.

For all areas and zip codes where we provide constructions services, additions and remodels.  

If you either needed information or knowledge, feel free to call us at 323-651-0635 and we will be glad to send you an expert to discuss your project.

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