Widening a Door Opening
Making the bathroom wheelchair accessible
My wife will soon undergo surgery, and she'll need a wheelchair or walker during her recovery. But the bathroom door is too narrow for either device to pass through. Can I remove a stud from each side of the opening and install a wider door? The 3 inches I'd gain would be enough to allow a walker to pass.
—Charles Pifer, Garland, Tex.
Tom Silva replies: Sure you can, although you'll probably have to buy an oversize door and trim it down to fit the unusual width of the new opening. First, remove the existing door and trim, then cut back the drywall or plaster on each side of the opening so its edge is even with the vertical joint between the doubled-up studs—the jack and king studs—that support either side of the opening. Pry off the jack studs, the ones closest to the opening. To support both ends of the header, attach metal brackets called header hangers. Now you can replace the casing around the door and hang your new, wider door in the opening.