How to Frame an Exterior Door Opening Part 3

What You'll Need
2x4-inch lumber
Exterior door
Hand Saw or circular saw
Pry bar

In Part 3 of this series on how to frame exterior door openings, you will install the header of the door. The header supports the weight from the ceiling and provides a cover for the space between the wall framing and the exterior door. It also completes the frame of the door opening. Follow the steps below to complete this project.

Step 1. Cutting the Header

The measurement of your header should be the same as the width of your door. Using this measurement, cut the 2x4-inch lumber to create your header.

There are generally two ways you can create your header. The first is to cut 2 pieces of the 2x4-inch lumber. The length of these lumbers should be equivalent to the width of the opening. Insert the pieces so that you form a header. Once the header is in position, you can nail the pieces together.

The other way is to cut two pieces of 2x12-inch lumbers. The width should also be the same as the original opening. Put a ½-inch plywood in between the 2 lumbers. Nail it together, and you have your header.

Step 2. Installing Cripple Studs

After you have measured and cut your headers, you can now proceed measuring your cripple studs. Cripple studs are type of studs that is located on top of a door. It is used to fill in the areas on top of the door opening.

To install the cripple studs, you first need to measure the distance between the top of the header plate and the ceiling plate. After measuring, cut the 2x4-inch lumber to the same measurement. Cut about 3 studs of the same sizes and measurements.

Once you have cut all 3, insert these studs in the space above your door header. Nail each stud diagonally to the door header above and to the plate on top of the cripple studs.

Step 3. Installing the Header

After nailing your cripple studs, place the header you made on top of the jack studs. You can now nail the header to the jack studs making sure that you nail the header at all sides. After nailing the header to the jack studs, nail it next to the king studs. Remember to use a level to ensure that everything is aligned.

Sep 4. Removing the King Studs

To remove the king studs, use a hand saw or circular saw. You can also use the saw to trim out any studs you find between the king studs.

Step 5. Removing the Sole Plate

After doing this, you also need to remove the sole plate with your circular or hand saw. Make sure you cut the portion between the sole plate and the top of the header.

Step 6. Removing Exterior Siding

To remove the exterior siding of your opening, use the pry bar. It is advisable to seek assistance since the door siding can be quite heavy for one person to carry. With the pry bar, remove the trim on the doorframe and cut it. Remember to cut only the amount which you need to install your exterior door.