How to Install False Doors

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In times past, false doors were sometimes installed to create confusion for intruders into the home. These days, false doors are usually more of a design element intended to add some architectural detail to the space. Fortunately, installing a false door is not much different from installing a working door.

Things You'll Need

  • Doors
  • Door pulls
  • Framing pieces
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • Screwdriver and Screws
  • Hammer and Finishing Nails
  • Skill saw
  • Drill, Butterflies, and Wood Screws
  • Hinges
  • Biscuits
  • Wood Putty

Prepare the Wall

  • Prepare the wall where the door is to be mounted. Clean the surface and surrounding area thoroughly

  • Measure and mark the area for the door framing. Make sure to take into consideration the dimensions of the door proper. Use the pencil to make a light outline to indicate the door. Allow a quarter of an inch for the door hinges, and mark the position where the framing pieces that compose the false door jamb will be mounted to the wall.

  • Address the floor molding. Measure the width of the area where the bottom of the door and the door framing will cross over the existing molding. Cut out the interior section of the molding using the skill saw.

  • Install the framing pieces. If wall studs are located behind the surface of the wall, this will require simply holding the pieces in place while using the hammer to drive in the finishing nails. If this is not the case, use the drill to create a hole in the framing and the wall, install the butterflies, and then screw the wood screws through the framing and into the hole.

  • Place the door in the completed frame and hold in place with the masking tape. Determine the location of the hinges that will allow the false door to swing to open and closed positions, and mark the positions with the pencil.

  • Attach the hinges. Line up the hinges on the framing first, then balance the doors on biscuits to attach the hinges to the door facing. Once in place swing the doors to ensure the fit is right and that the bottom of the door does not drag on the floor.

  • Attach door handles or pulls to the doors. Simple pulls work very well since no locking mechanism is likely to be required to keep the door in a closed position.

  • Use wood putty to fill in any gaps between the molding and the door framing. Paint or stain as needed to provide a finished look.

Tips & Warnings

  • For interior spaces with no windows, such as basement or interior room, installing two French doors along with a painted outdoor scene can help to give the space a more open feel.
  • Don’t try to get too complicated with the false doors. If you never intend for the door to ever open, it can be secured to the wall and the framing mounted around the door. But if the door is intended to open and reveal the wall underneath, make sure to use decorative hinges and allow enough space at the base so the door will not scratch the floor surface.

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