Replacing door in old balloon framed house


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Old 10-11-22, 11:06 PM
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Replacing door in old balloon framed house

Hi again,
I'm looking for some insight into replacing an exterior day. The current door is about 30" x 78". I removed one piece of trim (from the top) and it looks like there are 2 studs which aren't connected to anything vertically (at least at the top) except a header. Above the header appears to be some cracking concrete or cement that seemed loose. My understanding is the house is balloon framed (built around 1880 I believe). From what I have removed so far I can't really tell if the cut off 2xs are connected to anything else.

I'm hoping to replace the door without making this into a huge deal.
I have considered:
a. Trying to order a custom door to fit the current opening.
b. Trying to find a stock door that's 30x80 and keeping everything the same except bumping up the height 2", trying to add some type of 2x4 header to keep everything connected. (I haven't had much luck sourcing a 30x80" door at a reasonable price though).
c. Bumping out the opening to accommodate a 32x80" door. These doors are available, but I'm not really sure what's going on with the studs and stone.

As always, I'm looking for any thoughts, pictures below.
Thanks!




Black is velcro tenant has placed

Exterior



 
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Old 10-12-22, 05:29 AM
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It appears the 2x4 with 2" vertical at the top of the door was added to accommodate a shorter door replacement. The real header is above that and notched at the ends sitting on verticals from below.My guess is what you referred to as cement is plaster since they did not have drywall in 1880s. In order to determine if the door opening framing is adequate by visual, you need to remove the plaster by light taps from a hammer or using a putty knife and provide another photo of the area.
 
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Old 10-12-22, 06:12 AM
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There won't be a load bearing header on a balloon framed house, but if you alter the opening you would need to add one. It's going to be a major job to make the opening wider, so while a standard 32" door may be cheaper, the time and expense of opening up about 4 feet of wall to the ceiling (in order to put in new king studs,, header and trimmers) is going to eat up any savings. Not to mention the plaster repair, assuming you can do it all from inside and not get into the siding at all.

The concrete above the door jamb is just your plaster base and they used concrete kind of like insulation back then, filling in all the gaps around doors and windows, so any concrete between the door frame and the framing will come out. The height looks fine to me. You should have no problem getting a 30x80 door to fit, as it will sit about 1/2" below your finished floor. Then where the concrete/plaster got knocked out, you would likely want to use spray foam to seal up around the new door jamb.

You will likely have a hole under the old door sill once you remove it, so don't be surprised if you have to clean up the notches that were made in the old floor joists... you will want to insulate that space under the floor, notch the joists down further, if needed, so that you have a level base to put a flat subsill on. As mentioned earlier, the new prehung door will sit 1/2" below the finished floor so that new subsill you put in should be about 1/2" lower than the finished floor too and be level... so that you don't need to shim the door at all when you caulk it and set it in place.
 
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Old 10-12-22, 08:02 PM
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Thank you guys for the advice!!! I'll work on a 30x80" door!
 
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Old 11-08-22, 09:20 PM
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I got the door and got it in. Mangled some trim trying to get the old one out with some of the old trim. As it turns out the opening was 34" wide, so I ended up filling it back in with a 2X and 1X. If I had more time I would have went back and got a 32" door but whatever, done for now. Thanks for the help!


Removed trim before replacement

After replacement
 
 

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