Bedroom French door planning

Adding French doors to my bedroom is one of two major projects that I want to accomplish this summer. This blog entry expands upon an item in my To Do list.

I'll update this blog entry as I have more thoughts and information

05 Aug - Now scheduled to happen this coming weekend
08 May - added caution about moving electrical
29 April - added pictures
24 April - measured window and it's 60" wide. Exactly as much as I need. I'd be more comfortable if it were slightly oversize.

Warren and I previously added French doors to the kitchen which open to the back yard. This planned second set of French doors will also open into the back yard and replace a sliding window that doesn't meet current fire codes for emergency egress. I envision a little patio area that's a sort of separate outdoor room just outside the doors and maybe a nearby tree (Western Redbud?) for shade. I will also need to regrade at least part of my back yard and tie in whatever I end up using as patio material with a path down the side yard, so there's some garden planning that naturally goes along with this project.

Major Milestones
  • Determine if doors will fit in window opening exactly - looks about the right size.Windows are exactly 60" wide - same as French doors. I'm uncertain if the 2 30" wide doors plus 2 3/4" door frames will fit under existing header. Better measurements have convinced me that the doors will fit in that spot without modification.
  • Clear out space elsewhere in the house for temporary storage
  • Clear out bedroom along the wall where I need to workMostly done 5 Aug
  • Take before picturesJuli took some
  • Prepare door framing stock with edge treatment consistent with house. Varnish oak threshold and threshold plank so it's ready to go
  • Prime door framing stock (6 sides) so it's ready to go.
  • Provision myself with plastic sheets and pieces of 1x2 wood to make a protective wall within the room to keep dust from spreading
  • Erect protective plastic sheet - not needed until I demo the interior wall
  • Kill electricity to outlet in wall below window. This will kill most outlets in the house, so make sure I have sufficient extension cords to run from garage.Proved this concept on 7 Aug when I demoed the exterior portion.
  • Cut and demolish wall - Underway Thursday eve, 7 Aug
  • Assess if a new header is required.
    • Each door is 30" wide. I determined last time that a 4x8 header would be required but there's an existing header in place that's already lasted 50+ years.
    • Dry rot or termites might force a new header
  • Prehang doors
  • Install new electrical
    • interior switch for exterior light
    • exterior outlet
    • exterior light
  • Install doors, door stop, new knob and bolt hardware
  • Install threshold
  • Repair stucco
  • Repair plaster

Construction materials needed:
plastic sheet
electrical supplies - check my inventory
1x2s for dust shield
2x4s # tbd have two 10'. Should be fine w/what I already have.
4x8 header (tbd, depending upon what's already there) I'll go with what's there.
6 brass hingesPurchased a while ago
Door knob and deadbolt
oak thresholdPurchased from Seers Lumber
oak plank to build up threshold
1x8 (or x10 or x12 to rip down) clear pine planks for door framing. Purchased x6 but I'll go back and get x8 pieces because it's the right thing to do rather than to be a little undersized with x6.
door stop material
brass screws of various sizes
Order bug screen for doors

Here's a before picture, taken on 27 April 2008.

Here's a digitally altered "after" picture. I've added a notional window to the left of the French doors by copying and pasting a couple panes of the doors. The window will add symmetry, bring light to the end of a hallway, and provide screened ventilation from the bedroom. That's on my long term To Do list, so it won't be part of this activity.


  1. Hello,
    Thanks for posting this information. How long it all of this take from start to finish and did you do it without any professional help?

    Thank you

  2. You're welcome.

    This was the second door I've done. My buddy helped me with both of them, but neither one of us is a professional. He has the greater skill, having done similar projects before.

  3. I just realized that I didn't answer how long.

    It took a weekend to get bust out the wall and install the doors. Stuccoing was another weekend.

    Interior trim is still not complete as I write.