How to Make a Doorway in a Wall

Building a doorway in an interior wall can help improve access to your living space and give your home a more open feel. It can also help break up a long, empty wall. Installing a doorway in a wall is a straightforward project that requires only basic carpentry skills; however, you need to have wood saws and other carpentry tools on hand to complete this task.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Sledgehammer
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • Circular saw
  • 4-inch wood screws
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Drywall
  • Drywall saw
  • 2-inch drywall screws
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall compound
  • 2-inch putty knife
  • Palm sander
  • Paint
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Instructions

    • 1

      Check to ensure that the wall is not load-bearing -- that is, that it does not support the weight of the home's structure. Load-bearing walls typically run perpendicular to the floor joists, and are commonly located near the center of the home. If you are not sure if the wall is load-bearing, contact a building contractor.

    • 2

      Determine the location and dimensions of the doorway. Interior doorways should typically be at least 36 inches wide and 84 inches tall. Check to ensure that there are no electrical outlets or wires running behind the wall where you plan to install the doorway.

    • 3

      Measure the dimensions of the doorway with a measuring tape, adding 2 inches to the height measurement, and mark the corners on the wall on both sides of the doorway. Snap a chalk line between the marks to form an outline of the door.

    • 4

      Cut through the drywall along the outline with a reciprocating saw on both sides of the doorway. Use a sledgehammer to break the drywall inside the outline, and remove the drywall with a pry bar. Remove the drywall nails from the exposed studs with the claw end of a hammer.

    • 5

      Cut through the base plate, which is the 2-by-4-lumber section running along the floor at the bottom of the wall, along the opening with a reciprocating saw. Cut through the studs at the top of the opening. Use a pry bar to remove the stud sections and base plate.

    • 6

      Cut two sections of 2-by-4-inch lumber 4 inches shorter than the distance between the base plate and the top plate with a circular saw. These sections form the side studs of the doorway. Stand one stud at each side of the doorway so that it fits inside the drywall, with the outer side flush with the opening. Drive 4-inch wood screws through the studs into the top and base plates at 45-degree angles, using a drill equipped with a screwdriver bit.

    • 7

      Measure the distance between the side studs and cut a section of 2-by-4-inch lumber to this measurement. This section forms the doorway header. Place the header at the top of the opening, and drive 4-inch wood screws into the side and top studs.

    • 8

      Cut drywall sections to fit the exposed area above the doorway, and the sides and top of the door frame, with a drywall saw. Install the sections by driving 2-inch drywall screws through the drywall into the studs and header.

    • 9

      Tape the drywall corners and seams with drywall tape. Cover the tape and screw heads with drywall compound, using a 2-inch putty knife, and let it dry overnight. Sand the drywall with a palm sander to smooth the compound. Paint the wall and doorway as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid installing a doorway in a load-bearing wall. Improperly installing the doorway can compromise the strength of your home's structure.

  • Wear work goggles and gloves while creating the doorway to avoid injuries.

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