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exterior door replacement


Whalen68
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I need to replace an exterior door.  I'd like to replace this old wooden exterior door with a newer prehung door that will not only look better but would be more efficient.   The problem I have is that it is 33.5 inches wide.  Should I be looking for a 34 inch or 36 inch door?

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34" doors used to be fairly common. They are a little bit harder to find these days, unless you're in Canada. If it's old enough to have a 5/4" thick jamb you very often have enough room for a 36" door in the old rough opening. Swapping out the old jack studs with thinner modern counterparts will gain you up to an inch more. 

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Remove the indoor casing from both sides of the door to see how much framing width you have to work with. Also, check if there are any 'trimmers' added in these two spaces that would allow you to install a wider door by removing the 'trimmer'.  You've got to leave some gap once the new door is installed.  Don't allow the new door to touch the framing anywhere. 1/4 inch is enough if the wall opening is framed well.

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The frame likely includes that transom.  Don't forget to check the height too, as 84" high doors were as common as 34" wide ones. 

Best option would be a custom rebuild of the whole thing. You might want it to look like it fits the looks of the rest of the doors and windows.

Edited by Jim Baird
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