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I have three doorways in close proximity to one another, and I want to replace the doors in them. Aside from one door being completely absent, the other two have numerous problems, including gaps at the top, damage, rubbing with the frame, and stripped holes. The problem is that the doors are all unusual sizes: 29.5", 30.5", and 31". The two smaller doors are at opposite ends of a small hallway with little room to expand the doorway, so while expanding the doorway may be an option, it will be difficult and limited.

How can I find doors that will fit these doorways, or otherwise install new doors in their place?

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    The sizes you listed are not entirely out of the range of planing them down. Also, what point are you measuring from *(and are you using a known good measuring device)? I realize these are some basic questions, but just checking. lastly, if machining a door edge is not on the top of your list, how much room do you have to put a proper door in with frame and is it worth considering? (example, are the existing frames worth keeping) – noybman Sep 14 '17 at 0:44
  • Are pocket doors an option? – Jasper Sep 14 '17 at 2:55
  • @noybman I'm measuring the interior of the door frame, with a tape measure. the two smaller doors' franes each have about 1.5 inches to the wall on one side, and are flush with the wall on the other, and the third has plenty of room. They seem to be in OK condition, but I can't guarantee that they're square, or otherwise worth hanging on to. – THiebert Sep 14 '17 at 3:15
  • @Jasper can you install pocket doors behind light switches? – THiebert Sep 14 '17 at 3:16
  • @THiebert -- "Can you install pocket doors behind light switches?" is worthy of being a question in itself. My house has nine pocket doors, and none of them have light switches on the portions of walls that enclose pockets. Two of them have plumbing hardware (such as mixing valves and shower faucets), but those pockets are in extra-thick walls. – Jasper Sep 14 '17 at 3:45
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Quite simply, you get doors of nonstandard size via special order.

When looking at door replacement, measure the size of the door slab itself, not the frame. If you have e.g. a 30 inch door, that means the rectangular piece of wood that is the door itself is 30 inches wide (and likely 80 inches tall which has been standard in the USA for decades, although that can vary as well). A 30 inch door may require a 30.5 inch gap measured from edge to edge of the frame (note: this is an example, I don't know the actual clearance). If you try installing a 30.5" door slab into a frame with exactly 30.5" of clearance, you will not be able to close it. Doors have thickness, and the hinges need a little bit of wiggle room as they swing the door out.

Your question is slightly ambiguous about what exactly you are trying to replace, so I will cover both options here.

  • Replacing the door slabs: simply measure the doors themselves. Measure the width, height, thickness, the dimensions and locations of the hinge plates, location of the latch (the part that sticks out of the side and keeps it closed), etc.

  • Replacing the door along with the jamb, i.e. a complete pre-hung door. Measure the width and height of the door slab, and also the rough-in size. Do this by removing the door casing carefully to avoid damaging the surrounding area, and removing any other obstructions that prevent viewing the underlying wall framing. You should be able to see the edge of the drywall and, depending on how tight the jamb is to the wall framing, the jack studs that surround the door. Measure the width and height of the rough-in opening. I would also measure the thickness of the wall: while a 2x4 wall is fairly standard, you may encounter "sideways stud" walls that are thinner, or even a 2x3 wall. This could be the case in older construction near closet doors (my house has a few like this).

When you talk to the person helping place the special order, it helps to have all of these measurements already done. "Hi, I have a door slab with dimensions X by Y, rough-in is A by B. I need a pre-hung door that will fit in this opening."

Do not underestimate the importance of measuring all of these things instead of going to the nearest big-box home improvement store and grabbing a door off the shelf that may or may not fit. Even little things like making sure the mortises for the hinge plates match (if buying only the door slab) will save you time and frustration later on.

  • I'm +1 it because overall you covered everything, but please note that he said the slab does not exist. Can't measure what he doesn't have. Which is why I went down the path I went, since most plain door slabs even at a big box store allow a level of trimming/planing. Or, re gluing hollow cores if you are creative... anyways... +1 – noybman Sep 16 '17 at 1:18
  • "slab does not exist" is not entirely true: "I have three doorways in close proximity to one another, and I want to replace the doors in them. Aside from one door being completely absent". I also want to be careful with advice when someone is asking a question like this, they likely do not both own a table saw and the necessary knowledge to use it to trim a door slab correctly to fit a jamb. I do, and that task still confounds me sometimes in these older homes where nothing is both plumb and square, and margins in door edges are razor-thin. – user4302 Sep 18 '17 at 3:49
  • I agree. I was only talking about the case where one slab does not exist. Thus he needs to understand what to do with that door since he only can measure the opening. You didn't cover that case. Unless of course you are suggesting he replace te entire door, which is where I was going in my initial comment, as he has room to work, he can buy doors that fit the rough and its a far easier job with lots of how-to videos, sites, etc. – noybman Sep 18 '17 at 4:13

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