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Whalen68

exterior door replacement

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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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is that the width of the opening or the width of the door?  There also is the rough opening. 

 

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How wide is the existing door? Exterior doors are typically 36 inches wide.

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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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Yes, I definitely will.  Aside from the size of the door, I need to be concerned with the interior side (framing).  It is antique and encases the door and a transom window.  I'd like to not have to mess with making any adjustments there

 

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You might not want to change the width of the door if you want to keep a transom window over it that has the same width as the existing door.

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A good finish carpenter or woodworker can make a door for you in any size or shape. (Some cabinet shops are equipped for this as well.) Right now, there might be some very lean finish carpenters out there who'd be happy to get the work. 

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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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Pop off the door trim so you can can an accurate measurement of the rough opening,  check height and width. Old door frames are usually thicker than modern pre-hung door frames.  

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