As families grow and shrink, rooms inside the home are sometimes modified to fit the changing residents. If you have a doorway that you want to close off, the task is not as daunting as it first appears. Here are some basic steps to closing off an interior doorway.
Things you will need: pry bar, screwdriver, saw, hammer, nails, level, wallboard or plywood, lumber, caulking compound, wall tape, putty knife, paint or wallpaper.
1. Remove the door by taking the screws out of the hinges.
2. Remove all hinges and the door strike plate from the door frame.
3. Pry off the trim, taking care to pry it from the door side so you do not damage the wall next to the doorway.
4. Pull side door jams off and remove the bottom threshold. You need to remove every part of the door frame before you can prepare the opening for the new lumber, including the door frame header. The existing door frame will not leave you enough room to properly install the new wallboard so it is important you remove all door molding, trim, hardware and framing.
5. Measure the empty opening and cut your lumber to length.
6. Assemble a frame to fit the empty doorway. Purchase new lumber that is the same thickness as the adjoining wall. If your wall was built on a 2×4 frame, buy 2x4s. If the wall was built on a 2×6 frame, buy 2x6s. You will need enough lumber to go up both sides, across the top and the bottom and another vertical piece to place in the center of the doorway for additional support. For a stronger wall, consider placing a couple of horizontal supports in the frame as well. Make sure your wall framing goes all the way down to the floor and if necessary, use shims to make sure the wall frame is level when placed inside the door opening.
7. Check that the frame edges are flush with the exiting wall studs and header, and then nail the wall frame in place. Make sure your nails are long enough to go through your new framing into the house framing.
8. Measure the opening and cut the drywall to fit the opening without any gaps between the existing wall and the new drywall.
9. Mount the drywall and close the opening on one side.
10. Add insulation and/or a vapor barrier if the opening was an outside wall.
11. Mount the drywall and close the opening on the other side.
12. Add the baseboard and the top moldings if your wall has them.
13. Paint or wallpaper the closed opening wall to match the surrounding wall.
Closing off a previous opening takes careful measuring and attention to detail. Done properly, no one will know the door was there. Your door frame and wallboard must fit properly and of course, the fresh coat of paint on the entire wall will help blend the new wall into the old wall.
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