How to Frame a Door in an Interior Wall

Building an interior wall? Here’s how to frame for a new door.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 day
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Building an interior wall with a door frame must be handled differently than an interior wall without. While there are a few more things to remember, it can be just as easy! Impress your future house guests by learning how to frame a door using our easy steps. With a little bit of hard work, you'll get the job done in no time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Layout square
  • Circular saw
  • Handsaw
  • Hammer
  • Level


  • 2x4-inch boards
  • 16d nails
  • 10d nails
  • 8d nails


  1. Make Plans

    Building a wall flat on the floor is easier if you have the space. Otherwise, attach a top plate to the ceiling and use a level or plumb bob to position the bottom plate on the floor. Then cut individual studs and attach them with angle-driven screws or nails.

    Select the straightest studs you can find for framing to avoid problems later. Check each stud for a crown—a slight curve along its length—and install all the studs with the crowns facing the same direction.

    Build the wall with a bottom plate running across the doorway. This keeps the entire wall in one plane as you install it. Then you can cut the bottom plate out after the wall is installed. To make removing the bottom plate under the door easier, cut most of the way through it in the correct places with a circular saw.

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    Mark Studs

    Lay out the positions of the studs. Space the studs 16 inches on center—every multiple of 16 inches falls in the center of a stud. To do this, mark for each stud ¾ inch short of the multiple of 16 inches. Mark for the opening's jack stud and king stud.

    A king stud is a stud that spans the height of the wall. A jack stud is a support, typically secured to a king stud, that supports a header for an opening—which would be needed for a door or window.

    A typical residential door is 32 inches wide and 80 inches tall, so the rough opening is 34 inches wide and 82 inches tall. Rather than rely on these dimensions, however, purchase (or at least measure) the door you'll be installing before framing the opening. If you doubt how big to make the opening, make it ¼ inch on the larger side. You can always shim a too-small door to fit, but a door that's too big for its opening is a nuisance to cut down.

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    Install Studs

    Install the regular studs and the king studs. Cut the jack studs to a length equal to the rough opening height minus 1 1/2 inches to allow for the bottom plate. Nail the jack studs to the bottom plate with 16d nails and to the sides of the king studs with 10d nails.

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    Make and Install Header

    If the wall isn't load-bearing, make the header from doubled 2x4s nailed together with 10d nails. Install the header with two 16d nails through each king stud.

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    Install Cripples

    Nail one cripple to each king stud with 10d nails to hold the header firmly down on the jack studs. Attach them to the top plate with 16d nails. The infill cripples continue the 16-inch on-center spacing of the wall studs regardless of where the door is located. Space the infill cripples accordingly. Attach them with 16d nails through the top plate and 8d toenails into the header. Make sure the sides of the door opening are plumb. Tip the wall into place.

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    Nail Wall

    Attach a top plate at the ceiling. Anchor the wall by nailing up to the ceiling plate. Check the wall to make sure it's plumb with a level, and nail the bottom plate to the floor.

    When trying to tap a wall into position and get it plumb, it can be awkward to hold a level simultaneously. Instead, clamp a level to the side of one of the studs for hands-free viewing.

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    Nail Shims

    If there's a space between the top plate and the ceiling plate, slip a pair of shims between the two before nailing. Drive the nails through the shims to keep them from slipping out.

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