How Do I Replace an Entry Door?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ August 26, 2011 ~ No Comments

I want to replace an entry door in my home. I will be replacing a door which is 34 inches wide with a new steel door that is 36 inches wide. What is the best method for replacing the door?

Chris R. ~ Turbotville, PA

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Chris. Replacing an existing front door with a wider model can be a fairly simple project or it can be somewhat complicated -- it all depends on the exterior siding on the home and what's located in the walls around the existing door.

If you have vinyl or wood siding on the front of your home, adding a wider door is normally not that big of a deal, but if you have brick, stone, or stucco, you should definitely get a professional involved. Your entryway is the first thing guests see when they come to visit -- you don't want it to look like a large patch job.

You should be able to get the rough opening of your new door and sidelites from the manufacturer's website or the salesperson where you're purchasing the door. Centering the new door's dimensions on the center of your existing opening -- measure to either side to get an idea of the amount of space needed for the new opening. Add about four inches to each side for new framing and any electrical outlets, switches, or fixtures within that opening will need to be moved. Plumbing pipes and ductwork shouldn't be a problem as I wouldn't expect there to be any in the walls around your front door, but if you have a security system, you may have that wiring to contend with. You will also need to have a new header installed across the widened opening so anything immediately above the door will also be disturbed. All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician to ensure it passes code and is done in a safe manner.

If you have one entry light, you might want to think about adding a second if two sidelights are installed as it can give the door a more balanced appearance.

If you are an experienced DIYer and have wood or vinyl siding on the front of your home, you may be able to handle the job with the assistance of an electrician, but if you have any other type of exterior siding, I would strongly recommend that you hire a professional contractor to oversee the entire project.

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