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I am looking to frame in a room in our unfinished basement. In the picture, I'm standing in the area that I want to finish, and I want to put a door in that approximate location to allow egress to the unfinished part. The stairs in the background go to outside.

Trouble is, the bottom of that beam is 79.5 inches above the floor. I really want to be able to put an 80" door in there, for code reasons and for convenience.

I am thinking that I may need to frame against the ceiling right beside that beam instead of under it. Are there any issues with this? I don't want to cut down a door myself, but are there any other options? enter image description here

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Cutting a door isn't hard: clamp a straightedge to the door and go at it with a circular saw.

If you wanted to maximize height, you could use the beam as the head of the jamb. Maybe skin it with 1/4" luan to hide the rough lumber. That would leave you a 79-1/4" height, which is probably indistinguishable from a normal door.

That said, however, your adopted code might actually specify 80" height for egress, so you need to decide where you stand on that sort of thing.

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  • Thanks, good tips. Is there any problem with framing parallel to the beam, so I have a full-height frame? This seems like a good case for it, but I don't know if I might run into other issues. Plus the less I can do with that existing beam, the better. I know there's a consideration regarding the flexing of the beam and projecting the weight onto the floor through the framing.
    – trpt4him
    Nov 29 '20 at 22:25
  • So, if I'm understanding, you'd offset the wall to be beside the beam, instead of directly below it? That would work, though it'd be a little odd to have the beam/post bumping into the next room (and presumably wanting something to cover it up). I really wouldn't have any reservations at all (regarding flex) about putting the wall directly below the beam. Nov 29 '20 at 22:44
  • Right, and the space where the beam is will almost certainly always be unfinished (at least, I won't finish it), so I don't really see any downsides to having the wall offset other than losing a couple of inches, as long as the door opens inward of course.
    – trpt4him
    Nov 29 '20 at 23:24
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Yes you can install 2 5 foot long 6 inch wide 1/4" thick steel braces bolted into each side of the beam compressing the beam between them (like a vise) then carve out the 3-4 inches of wood needed from the beam that would get you your 82.5 inch high opening needed for the door frame. Probably that steel brace would be far stronger than the beam itself but it would be much cheaper than trying to engineer something out of thinner steel that would just barely be strong enough.

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    I think this is the sort of advice that an engineer would be willing to stamp, but if it was my house, I'd want the engineer's stamp. Nov 29 '20 at 20:11
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    How did you decide “Probably that steel brace would be far stronger...”?
    – Lee Sam
    Nov 29 '20 at 23:23
  • Always appreciate you, @LeeSam Nov 30 '20 at 0:04

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