Can I Expand a Rough Door Opening? | Brennan DFW

Can I Expand a Door Opening?

Doors - and especially the width of our door openings - aren't really something we think about too much. Until we need to get something through the doorway or we need to make our homes and spaces accessible. There are many reasons why this might happen, but instead of focusing on the why, let's take a closer look at the how.

Assessing the Need to Expand Door Openings

The first thing you need to do if you are considering expanding a door opening is to assess what doorway you currently have and what you need it to be. This could be based on your personal preferences, or it could be according to building regulations. 

In the United States, accessibility regulations are created by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and you can view the latest version of the Act and the regulations on the accessibility standards website

When you measure your door openings, be sure to measure the smallest clear opening space. This is the distance between the two inside edges that are closest together. That will allow you to assess how much your doors need to be expanded.

Situations Where Expanding Door Openings Can Be Beneficial

Accessibility is one of the most common reasons for wanting to expand the doors in your home, but there are several other reasons why you might want to. 

Style and design are a big consideration for most remodeling projects and with the modern trend towards light, bright, airy spaces, it's very common to replace old, solid doors with sliding doors, folding doors, or glass French doors. This not only improves the design and natural light inside the home, but it also makes it easier to have the very desirable indoor/outdoor spaces we all want. 

Expanding your door openings for either of these reasons also does something else automatically: it increases the value of your home, either by making it attractive for people who might want to buy an accessible home or simply because you've created a better living and entertaining space.

Potential Challenges and Limitations

Of course, making changes to your home, like expanding a door opening, isn't without challenges, which might include:

  • Structural considerations: Sometimes, walls cannot accommodate a larger door opening without adding structural beams; there might also be issues related to the placement of studs and other structural components. 
  • Building codes and permits: Making big changes to your home's structure involves a lot of red tape, and it can take time to get permission to change your home this way. 
  • Electrical and plumbing: We all love them, and they're necessary, but when they're in the wrong place, they can make expanding a door opening a lot harder. 
  • Available swing area: Many doors swing open and closed; sometimes, there's only a limited amount of space for them to do that. Expanding a door when you only have a small amount of room for them to swing is not always possible. However, you might be able to install a sliding door or another type of door with a smaller footprint. 
  • General home renovation complications: There are all kinds of potential problems hiding in the walls of your home, from termite damage and mold to hidden brickwork and concrete. So whenever you open a wall, there's a chance you'll be unpleasantly surprised! 

The good news is that none of these problems are insurmountable. With a little planning and some creativity, it should be possible to find a way to expand your doors as necessary. 

Cost Considerations

The final thing you need to consider when you want to expand your door openings is that it's not a cheap process. 

You will need to hire a contractor to do the work, and they will need to apply for permits, which also come with fees. If you need to make changes to the structural design of your home, you will need to hire a structural engineer, which is also a costly part of the process. 

When you're hiring contractors and any other specialists related to the design and construction of your home, always choose reputable, qualified people. They might not be as affordable as some other options, but they will get the job done right and ensure that your home is in good hands from start to finish.

Finally, there are the materials involved in expanding door openings. These will include lumber, drywall, and finishing products, but also the doors and hardware themselves. Doors that are not a standard size also tend to be more expensive, so be sure to get quotes for the exact sizes and specifications you need before you start budgeting.

So, as you can see, it's entirely possible to expand door openings to the size you need them to be. However, like everything in life, it will require some planning and the budget available to get the job done.

July 05, 2023


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