How to Frame a Wall With a Door

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Whether you're building a home, finishing a basement, or just changing an existing floor plan, knowing how to frame a wall with a door can come in handy. Framing walls and doors separately is relatively simple, and planning ahead to frame a wall with a doorframe already in place can make the job even simpler. With some careful measurements and common tools, you can create the framing for a straight, strong wall and well-placed door with ease and confidence.

Things You'll Need

  • 2x4 lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Framing nails (8d and 16d)
  • Concrete nails
  • Circular saw
  • Stud finder
  • Combination square
  • Plumb bob
  • Metal joint connectors (optional)
  • Mark ceiling. Use a stud finder to locate the ceiling joists or blocking along the line of your new wall. Mark both edges of each joist so you'll know exactly where to place nails later.

  • Cut plates. Cut two pieces of 2x4 lumber to the length of your wall. These are your sole (bottom) and top plates.

  • Mark stud positions. Line the top and sole plates precisely on a flat surface (using clamps if necessary), and use a combination square to measure and mark where the studs will go between them (usually every 16 or 24 inches).

  • Mark doorway. Measure the width of your door unit from jamb to jamb, and then mark the plates where your doorway will go. On each side, add 3/8 inch and mark again, add 1.5 inches and mark again and finally, add another 1.5 inches and mark yet again. This allows space to set your door unit and frame in with a jack (door height) and king (wall height) stud on each side.

  • Attach plates. Nail the top plate to the ceiling by driving 16d framing nails into the joists or blocking. Then use a plumb bob to line up the sole plate precisely below the top plate, and secure it to the floor using concrete nails (or 8d framing nails, for wood floors).

  • Place full studs. At each stud mark (except the jack studs immediately beside the doorway), measure the distance between the top and bottom plates, and cut a 2x4 to match. Tip each stud roughly into position, and tap it with a hammer if necessary to get a precise placement. Then connect each stud to the plates by driving 8d framing nails in diagonally (toenailing), or by attaching metal joint connectors.

  • Place header and cripple. Measure the distance between the king studs at the height of the door unit, cut a 2x4 to match (the "header") and nail it into place through the king studs. Next, measure the distance between this header and the top plate, cut a 2x4 to match (the "cripple"), and nail it into place halfway between the king studs. Be sure to toenail the cripple to the top plate in addition to nailing up through the header.

  • Place jack studs. Measure the distance from the bottom plate to the header, cut two 2x4s to match, and nail them into place through the king studs and header.

  • Cut sole plate. Saw through the sole plate at each edge of your doorway to allow the door unit to extend from the header to the floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you prefer, you can also lay out and assemble your frame on the ground and then raise, place, and secure it to the floor and joists or blocking. If you choose this approach, make your wall 1/2-inch shorter to give you room to tilt it into place. When marking the position of your studs, draw lines for both edges and mark in between them to remove any doubt about where things should go.
  • In step 4, be sure to cross out the marks for any regularly spaced studs that fall within your doorway. It seems obvious that you wouldn't want a framing stud in the middle of your doorway, but it's easy to get into a rhythm while framing and accidentally nail something in place without thinking about it.

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