So we have two once beautiful, but now both irrepairably worn, and unsustainably badly insulated doors on the house. They are non-standard size, and reside in an arched opening, with fixed window on the top.

The cost to replace them, even with an almost half-price discount is way too high - I can buy 5 quality standard size doors for the same amount.

Original door

So I checked, and in theory, it would be possible to have ordinary, standard size doors fitted in the place of the current ones, the opening is luckily large enough.

Original and planned door alignment

Securing the sides of the door frame seems to be OK - can be done with the standard long screws going into the wall. It even seems that I can use the wood of the original doorframe on the sides, meaning less waste.

I'm unsure about the the top of the frame. What should be put there? Would a thick enough piece of wood be enough? And how to fix that to the wall/remaining wood frame? Or should I put an iron "beam" there, cover it with wood, and use screws to fix the top of the door to that?

  • 2
    Before condemning the door to the bin, you might consider consulting some local woodworkers or architectural conservationists. You might be quite surprised at what they can actually bring back to life.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 24, 2022 at 0:06
  • @FreeMan trying that route too - it woudl be possible to get it in shape, but I'm afraid insulation-wise it would still fall short of what I'm after...
    – ppeterka
    Oct 24, 2022 at 0:11
  • 2
    what is your insulation concern, the glass or the thickness of the wood? or is it an air sealing concern? Oct 24, 2022 at 1:24
  • 1
    You should not need any iron beams or anything like that above the new door (if that's the route you take). The old door frame is not supporting the arch, and the frame is not wide enough to need anything more than a 2x4 across the top (of it when needs that).
    – brhans
    Oct 24, 2022 at 4:13
  • @FreshCodemonger well, all aspects are problematic. The glass panels and the width of the wood are all below expectations, the door itself is warped beyond use, and also, the structure is also compromised. It also has seen previous attempts of fixing these issues - sadly not really feasible to fix.
    – ppeterka
    Oct 25, 2022 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


Your question really just comes down to making a rough opening for a door and the top header for the door jamb.

Normally you'd have full length king studs on each jamb side and then jack studs that the door header sits on. Between the door header and the top plate of the wall you'd have cripple studs. Here is a diagram for a load bearing wall with rough openings. wall framing

In your case, the original rough opening will/should have all this structure so you only need enough to keep the new door installation rigid.

What does the outside look like? Ideally you'd just rip out the door and go back to rough framing and then add studs to bring your rough opening down to the size of the new door. The biggest issue with that is the siding on the outside.

You could do as you've written, you shouldn't need iron for the header. If you aren't doing a criple above the rough door opening you might want to use something larger than a 2x4 as the rough opening header.

  • Forgot to mention: the door is in a brick wall...
    – ppeterka
    Oct 26, 2022 at 12:21
  • Actually, this does answer the question, I didn't think of it this way: so as long as there is something the equalling the strength of a properly constructed drywall structure - it just works
    – ppeterka
    Nov 8, 2022 at 13:28

What I suggest may be cheaper in materials but it will take a bit of work to finish it out properly.

Put a "sunburst" over the door, leave the door the same width and height, but change out the arched window for this.

enter image description here

  • This doesn't seem to answer the question. Changing the dimensions of the door is the focus of the question; how that affects the window above is secondary. Oct 24, 2022 at 12:58
  • @user4556274, To keep the "character" of the entry from the outside, this can be used over a standard sized door or whatever size door that goes in there. According to the illustration the OP made, there was a question as to what to add over the door. Here is a copy and paste, "I'm unsure about the the top of the frame. What should be put there?" This is my answer. It does not really matter if the door is the same width, or narrower. The OP's sketch also suggested that they would entertain the idea of a taller door than standard, presuming the original door was a standard height, not in width
    – Jack
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:18
  • Thank you for your answer. Unfortunately, the question would be about how to secure the door appropriately if the height is changed - aesthetics aside. The problem is that leaving the door the same size means 5 times the price which is out of question as of now.
    – ppeterka
    Oct 25, 2022 at 7:11

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