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Question DetailsAsked on 9/6/2014

Can an entire door unit with sidelights fit into a larger door opening....

Going from a larger door unit with sidelights to a smaller unit with sidelights...3in difference in width between present door unit an new one..what can be done to make the door frame smaller or is this impossible .. .new door is wood with beautiful glass......both doors are each one unit

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2 Answers


This should be one of the easier jobs for a carpenter as long as the height of the door is the same or the replacement one is shorter. It sounds like if your measurement is correct you would have to add one stud to each side and patch both the sheathing and the siding in to fill the gap. I might be inclined to make the exterior trim a bit bigger to fill the gap if your siding is hard to match. This job is way easier than going to a larger door and having to enlarge the opening. You will have to also patch a small area of drywall on the interior. Aside from possibly having to return for a finish coat the followind day if they do not use quick set spackle it should only be about a days work for a carpenter and helper.


Answered 5 years ago by ContractorDon


Good reply by Don as usual. As he said, downsizing is much cheaper than a larger unit that requires a larger rough opening. Because adding a few inches of drywall or panelling inside and a few inches of siding outside is costly and expensive, I usually recommend going with a reasonable match but not perfection on the fill-in of the siding/drywall gaps, including housewrap from the rough opening over the gap area and under the existing siding, then find or design a built-up brickmold or facing trim inside and out which will be just a hair wider then the gap you are filling - soyou don't actually see the 3 inches of repaired gap. You can use mulitple pieces of wood for this - commonly a larger flat piece of 1x for the base piece, then a decorative trim or brickmold abutting the door for accent and to relieve the plainness of a flat 3 or 4 inch wide board, unless that fits your house Ditto inside and out, though inside you usually use a more dainty, decorative molding.

You can see examples by googling this search term - images for decorative door trim

Many major door manufacturers make trimout pieces specifically for this - quite wide (up to about 6 inches) and typically 7 or 8 feet long and the same finish as the doors - you rip to desired width and put the cut edge against the door, so it is identical in appearance and finish to the door itself.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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