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Remodeling 15: How to Build a Door

You're planning on building a shop or backyard shed and would like to build a door a little wider or taller than a conventional door. You can go to the Door Shop and order a custom door and pay through the nose or build a door yourself.

build doorI've built exterior doors for buildings and garden sheds before without a problem. The door framing shown is for a 4' x 6'-8" door, perfect for a large storage shed. I found that the thickness should not go more than 1 3/4" if you are going to use standard locksets. One thing to watch is to rip nice straight boards. I use spruce 2x4s and rip them down to 1 1/4" x 1 3/4" (in half). Pick out nice straight ones with very few knots. Spruce is one of the strongest woods for its weight. For the outer skin use 1/4" plywood G1S, pick two sheets that are not warped, that are laying flat on the pile. Drill for fasteners, one 3" x #8 flat head wood screws, countersunk in each frame intersection. Use glue, as well.

Add the backing for the lockset, as shown, layout for the lockset to avoid placing screws in the drilling spot. Use 1 1/2" styrofoam fitted tight in the hollow core and with a hand saw resting on the door frame saw off the excess styrofoam.

Cut your plywood to size. Apply wood glue all over the frame and fasten the plywood to the door frame with small galvanized nails, set and fill.

Drill for the lockset and rabbet out for hinges, as shown, with the middle hinge centered between the two hinges. Use 3 1/2" butt hinges for the door.

Notice the hinge is rabbeted in the door and kept back about 1/4" from the door edge. This is the door from the garage to the basement. Notice the spring loaded hinge that is required to keep car exhaust out of the house.build door hinge

If the door thickness when finished is 1 3/4" you can use a standard door jamb or construct that, as well. Check out the thickness of wall including sheathing on the outside and drywall or inside finish on the inside. Make the door jamb out of 1x6 or 1x8 depending on the studs and finish used.

Rip down a 1/2" thick door stop for the top and sides. If the door is on a tall gable end without any protection from rain, a threshold may be a good idea. Slope the outside of the threshold a bit to run water away from the door; actually 7° is the standard.

The threshold should overhang the outside to cover the sheathing and siding.build door threshold

For weatherstrip, the best I've seen is a saw cut in the door stop which accepts an 'L' shaped foam strip. Door shops use this technique with new exterior doors.

Notice the saw cut in the door stop to accept the weatherstrip.build door weatherstrip

The door sweep consists of a channel sweep that slides on the door itself and fastens to the inside. Allow about 1/2" for clearance.

The door sweep, notice the clearance of about 1/2" from the bottom of the door to the threshold.build door bottom

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