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Project Guide

How to Frame a Door

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Choose Your Lumber
an array of different types of wood

Before you begin, it’s important to determine which type of lumber will work best for your door frame. Focus on the structural qualities of the wood as well as the visual appeal of the finish. 

The following are the most common types of wood used for interior door frames:

  • Pine – this is the most popular since it’s easy to source and widely available throughout the country. It’s a softer, lightweight wood that is resistant to swelling and shrinking.
  • Alder – this wood features a uniform and moderately fine texture, making it great for interior use. It’s a versatile wood that sands easily and has virtually no odor.
  • Fir – this type of lumber is known for its superb durability and strength. It can feature a wilder and more distinct grain pattern with a coarser texture.
  • Birch – this wood features a uniform, fine-grain finish and is popular for interior trim, paneling and a variety of furniture pieces.
Nail the Top Plate
illustration of a hammer against a nail in the top plate of a door frame
  • On the ceiling, snap a chalk line to indicate where the top plate of the new wall will be installed.
  • Cut the material for the top plate to length.
  • Nail the top plate through the ceiling into the ceiling joists or blocking.
Mark and Nail the Sole Plate
illustration of a man making a mark where the sole plate of a door frame will be installed
  • Mark the floor where the sole plate will be installed with a plumb bob.
  • Nail the sole plate to the floor by driving the nails into the floor joists or blocking.
  • Don’t nail the sole plate to the floor between the jack stud locations because this portion of the plate will be removed before the door is installed.
Cut and Attach the King Studs
illustration of a person hammering a nail into the king studs of a door frame
  • Measure and cut king studs.
  • Position them at the markings.
  • Drive nails at a 45-degree angle to make a toenailed joint, or attach the studs with metal connectors.
Mark and Cut the Jack Studs
illustration of a person measuring and marking a piece of wood
  • Measure the length of the jack studs to 80-7/8 inches.
  • Mark and cut them to size.
Construct the Header
illustration of a person hammering a nail into the header of a door frame
  • Make a header by fitting two 2 x 8s around a 1/2-inch piece of plywood.
  • Cut the header to fit between the king studs.
  • Install a cripple stud between the header and the top plate, halfway between the king studs.
  • Toenail the cripple stud to the top plate and the side of the header.
Nail the Jack Studs into Place
illustration of a person using a hammer to nail the jack studs into place
  • Position the jack studs against the inside of the king studs and nail them into place.
  • Nail through the king studs into the header.
Cut a Portion of Sole Plate
illustration of a person using a saw to cut a portion of the sole plate
  • Saw through the 2 x 4 sole plate at the inside edges of the jack studs.
  • Remove the cut portion of the plate.

Your frame is complete and you are now ready to install your prehung interior door.