I need to replace an exterior front door -- just the door slab, and not the
frame. The actual size of the existing door itself (not the opening, which
is a little larger) is 31 5/8 inches X 78 3/4 inches X 1 3/4 inches.
I assume that I will need to buy a 32x80 exterior door and trim it a little
My question is, does that mean that I have no real choice other than to buy
a wood door because only a wood door can be trimmed?
Or, is there a way to trim exterior metal doors to fit the opening?
No, you can't trim a metal door. Not and have it remain a door, anyway
The dimensions you stated for your door are very wierd. I can't magine
any builder making a rough opening that would require a door that size.
I'm thinking the rough is for a standard 32 x 80 door and if one that size
won't fit within the jamb then someone has mucked up the jamb.
It is possible, but hardly worth the effort. Generally you can get a
to-size for about $50 or so added and not having to retrofit the
blocking, etc., is well worth it in my book.
Fiberglass same deal if don't want solid wood.
But, I'd look first at as DadiOH says whether wouldn't be basically as
simple and likely cheaper to get a standard prehung unit and just
replace...means removing trim to ascertain what is the roughin opening
and why it's not full-size.
Thanks. I had a hunch that would be the case with metal doors, but I thought
that I would ask anyway.
I am not surprised that the dimensions are not the standard that are used
today. It is a very old house with wood lath and plaster walls, old-style
locks on the doors (including skeleton key locks on all of the interior
doors), and none of the interior or exterior doors are standard 80-inch or
even 78-inch door sizes.
This door is a front door that appears to be made of solid oak with a
beveled edge glass in the upper part of the door. I doubt that anyone
messed up in framing this door and I assume they just did the framing in
those days the way that this one was done and trimmed the wood door to fit.
I guess a "to-size" metal door would be an option if they can be ordered
I never bought a fiberglass door, but maybe that is an option if they are
solid fiberglass throughout and can be trimmed like a solid wood door can.
In this case, re-configuring the opening to make it a standard size to fit a
pre-hung 32x80 exterior door size would be a lot of work and probably not
worth the effort to me. It would involve interior and exterior trim removal
and replacement, and it is old-style trim attached to a wood lath and
plaster wall on the inside and wood siding on the outside. Plus, there is a
storm door that would also have to be resized and replaced. None of this
would be worth it if my other option is to just buy a 32x80 solid wood door
and trim it a little to match the existing opening.
Yes, they can; particularly convenient if there's a local manufacturer
can deal with directly. Was in Knoxville (TN); got spoiled...
They're not; you must check on trimming tolerances w/ the specific
manufacturer. Away from the soled end pieces they're foam-filled.
Which is why I said it's doable but hardly worth the effort--if you trim
thru the solid area or leave too little for the long haul you have to
route out the foam then infill w/ blocking (the cutoff works for that
for the material), anyways. Again they can be sized to the opening per
I agree, a decent-quality wood door properly maintained will likely
outlive you... :)
One caveat if you should go the new door route: read the specs carefully.
Some of the ones in the site I linked are "fused solid wood" (read OSB)
with a 5mm overlay. However, this one is solid...
Problem is, it is 36x80, too wide to trim to what you want. Well, it
could be trimmed but would look wierd.
Interesting. I didn't see it although I did go to Home Depot and Lowes
websites and tried searching within those. I still didn't catch it, and
that it was 31 3/4 x 79, even while searching on Lowes. But, it certainly
Well, let's see, just for grins...the actual search string I used was
"32x80 solid wood exterior door" and it turned out the 4th entry
Virtually all doors are undersized by roughly the same amount as this.
Used to be 3/16" width and 7/8" in height could be counted on pretty
much universally as the rough jamb opening was intended to be precisely
the even inch and that gave a standard fitting dimension for a threshold
on the bottom and clearance fitting for the width.
With the advent of the prehung and the profusion of import and modified
weatherstripping systems and all there's more variation than used to be
but the general rule is true that the slab will definitely not be the
exact nominal but under by the manufacturer's selected dimensions.
The problem is that the old door is damaged around the old lock area -- from
an adolescent or two kicking it in -- duh. The old lock is now messed up
and the door repairs that I did in the past just aren't going to cut it. I
could put it by the curb with a "free" sign on it, and it's a fairly busy
street, but most likely no one will even take it for free.
Hmmm..., that's an interesting idea!
I never thought of trying something like that. And, just 3 days ago I was
at a Habitat Re-Store near me to see if they happened to have the right size
door slab and I saw that they had similar metal brackets like the one in the
photo that go over the door. I was thinking of them as just being a way to
protect the lock mechanism and maybe make it harder to break in -- or
something like that. But, I didn't think that maybe I could take out the
whole old-style lock mechanism on the existing door, use one of those metal
brackets, back fill the hole in the door from where the old lock was (behind
the new metal plate), and install a whole new modern style door knob and
I like that idea and I will definitely check that out. I will probably have
to look at the door and lock again, and measure the metal cover plate etc.,
but I have a hunch that this will solve the whole problem.
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