How to Frame for a Door in Balloon Framing

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 75-250
What You'll Need
Carpenter's square
Measuring tape

Balloon framing looks amazing, but can be a hard feat to accomplish, especially if you are new to this type of carpentry work. In order to do this type of framing, you need to have the structural pieces go from the top of the frame all of the way down in one single swoop. Here are a few tools that you will need in order to help you with this framing process along with some steps that can help guide you through:

Step 1 - Prepare the Wall

Before beginning any actual framing process for the doorway, you have to make sure that the wall is prepared. Check to see if there are any holes that need to be filled and if so, use spackle and a putty knife to fill them. Then, make sure that there is no mold or water damage in the walls near by that make cause them to be a bad structure to build on.

Step 2 - Check the Size

You are going to have to decide how big you want the door frame to actually be. Measuring the opening with a measuring tape will help you find the dimensions to work off of. Typically a door is about 35 to 36 inches wide and about 80 inches tall. You will also want to find the center of the door so that you can mark it on the top and bottom to stay consistent as you build. You will need to place a king stud in the ceiling plate and you can use your center measurement to help guide you as to where to put it. Be sure to use the level so that you know it is straight and can be a good stud to build on and use as a reference. Do the same thing with the bottom so that you have a floor reference as well.

Step 3 - Install Boards

Once you have determined the studs, you can move on to installing the actual wood and door frame. Remember that as a balloon frame, you are going to be using long single posts so that you have a long sleek look. Each of these posts will need to be lined up in proportion to the studs that you just found or installed.Use a hammer and nails or a drill to install and secure each one of the posts in.

Step 4 - Cut Floor Plate Out

Finally, you will want to cut out the bottom so that you can leave room for the prehung door and floor plate. Be sure to cut between the trimmer studs.

Keep in mind that typically a balloon door frame is used on an entrance way or a wider hall and you do not always need a door. Rather you may just leave it as an open entryway. This is more common in dining rooms so that the flow of the home continues.