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We purchased a very expensive (at least for us 5,000+) entry door pair as replacement for an existing single door and sidelights. Today when the door contractor came to install the doors the opening was too small by 3/4 of an inch (the door contractor had measured for the doors prior to purchasing, these were custom made doors and are fiberglass that look like wood with full light beveled glass).

They suggested removing or cutting down the jack studs. I am not comfortable with this. Is this a good solution? This is a load bearing wall. I have postponed installation to research this. Advice?

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Don't let them hack your house up because of their mistake. They measured it incorrectly and it is their FAULT! It shouldn't even matter if it is safe or not, you spent a LOT of money on a custom door and you deserve it be done right. Make them reorder the door and if they refuse then get your money back and go with a competent contractor. –  maple_shaft Aug 22 '12 at 11:32
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7 Answers

Let the contractor hire a structural engineer to come up with an alternative that works and is safe and meets code. There are options.

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I had the same problem, also with a fiberglass door. We cut some off the door, took apart the frame and cut the same amount there. No big deal. Door fit great.

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The jack studs (Trimmers) carry the load of the header, which carries the wall above the door to the foundation.

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Try to make your answer unbiased and factual... Commentary is best kept to ones self when answering questions; although is usually fine in a comment once you get that ability. –  ShoeMaker Mar 11 '13 at 12:33
    
Thanks for the background (which was already provided in other answers) but this doesn't answer the question. –  Steven Mar 11 '13 at 18:54
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I do framing work, some time people in this line of work make mistakes. In this situation I re-frame the opening and do the job right. I usually don't make any money on this type of job but I will get a good customer.

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Im locate in los angeles area my cost to fix it will be around 500.00 –  Pepe Aug 23 '12 at 1:37
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It's easy to say they mis-measured, make 'em fix it. That's not everyone's reality. There are alternatives that may be preferable to someone (not you!) buying a new door. Hacking the jack studs with a sawzall is NOT a viable alternative, as everyone has said.

You could re-frame the entire opening with a longer header. Or you could remove the jack studs and install metal beam hangers in their place, but additional king studs would possibly have to be installed to maintain adequate support, so this is almost as much work as a longer header. It may be possible to engineer an adequate jack stud support using thinner LVLs. I like this last idea, but not sure it will really work.

Ensure this is a bearing wall. Things are much easier if it's non-bearing.

It's easy (and important) to criticise, but what's truly helpful is offering viable alternative solutions :)

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Often you have to make do, and your solutions would fix the problem. But the labor and materials of rebuilding that doorframe and the area of the wall around it would be at least a few thousand dollars. He should press to get his contracted for door. –  bib Aug 22 '12 at 23:01
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@bib or give them the option - "What you propose isn't safe. I understand that this was an expensive error on your part, but I'm paying a lot of money and need to have the job done properly. I understand you can either re-frame the opening to suit the door, or re-order the door to fit. What would be involved with each?" And talk through what's best in terms of time/cost(theirs)/labor. Be flexible but insist on a properly done job. –  jozzas Aug 23 '12 at 4:26
    
@jozzas - Good point. Would require close supervision since they have already shown some difficulty in getting it right. –  bib Aug 23 '12 at 10:59
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Don't to it! Somebody made a mistake and it wasn't you, don't let the contractor take the easy way out at the expense of weakening your home's structure!

It may be that the contractor measured wrong, or put the wrong measurements in the order. It could also be that the order was right but were manufactured wrong, or you were sent someone else's doors! Insist on getting a copy of the order from your contractor. If they ordered correctly then the manufacturer is at fault and should replace the doors with the right ones. If your contractor measured or ordered wrong then they are negligent and should order a replacement. If you let them weaken the structure of your home in order to let someone off the hook and make their lives easier the only loser is you!

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For high priced custom doors, you deserve to get it right.

The king studs are the primary support on the sides of the door (they go all the way up to the top plate. However, the jack studs are supporting the header over the door and that is supporting the cripple studs over the header. If this is a load bearing wall, these are all supporting members.

doorframing

If the jack studs are cut down, they probably need to be cut more than 3/4 inch total to accomodate shims to square the door in the opening. If you take out only 1/2 inch on each side, you have reduced the jack stud by 33%. If this is done in place, you are also stressing the remaining structure of studs, header, etc. in sawing out the excess.

It could be that the overall framing is overengineered enough to survive this assualt, but it is risky, violates most building codes and is a bad way to start a good project.

I would insist that they measure thrice (three times instead of the recommended two) and bring a correctly sized door.

P.S. I had a similar problem with a custom tempered glass shower door that I had waited eight weeks for. They played with cludging it for about a minute and then took it back for a correctly sized piece. It hurts but it is worth it.

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+1 I'd also point out that the jack should be nailed into the king every foot or so. The only way to trim it (which you shouldn't do) would be to rip it out, remove all the nails, and cut it in half. The second you rip it out is when that header drops and you need more than a new front door. –  BMitch Aug 22 '12 at 13:08
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