Enlarge a Door for an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Doorway

Anyone can enlarge a doorway if they put their mind and, most importantly their power tools into it. If you want you can just call us and we take care of it for you, otherwise keep reading and you will learn how.

Enlarge a nerrow door so a weelchair can go through.

Enlarge a nerrow door so a weelchair can go through.


To begin with, you will have to get a reasonably-sized craw bar, a small nail-pulling carpentry pry-bar, a framing hammer, a sawzall with  6″ thin demolition blade. Usually a ADA door is 34″ to 36″ wide, and if you need to read this to get it done, don’t try anything beyond 36″.

Remember to remove the screws from the hinges, otherwise you may end up with more screws to cut.

Remember to remove the screws from the hinges, otherwise you may end up with more screws to cut.

Start by removing the existing door, if there is one. Cut the door jamb at the bottom parallel to the floor at both sides, including if you are planing to use a new pre-hung door instead of hanging the new door yourself.

Removing everything makes it easier to access and remove the headers. If you want to remove only one side to save time, (which we do not recommend) I would choose the latching side, not the hinge side. The reasons are obvious, if not stay away from this project. Also be careful not to damage the floor. Cutting along parallel to the floor is almost certain that you will cause some damage to the floor, have a plan “B” to repair it if you fail to protect the floor during this endeavor. There is also the option of using one of these vibration power tools that cut with a vibrating blade. They work well, specially for baseboards, trims and small details. Keep in mind that you will have to redo the flooring on the portion of the doorway that was extended.

After you made sure the jamb is not attached to the floor, remove the door trim from both sides of the door jamb (inside and out, top, left and right) if not obvious from where to remove the trim, stay away from this project.

At this point you may see a gap in between the door jamb and the drywall where the jamb was possibly shimmed by the original installer. If not you should pry in between both so you make room for the sawzall blade. Stick the blade there and go from the top all the way to the bottom, detaching from the studs one side of the jamb at the time. Make sure to cut all connections in between the jamb and the studs all the way around, including top and both sides. You will feel that the jamb is getting loose. Pry it in or out just enough to make sure it is completely loose.  If so, have someone help you here, and press both jamb sides towards each other in the center of the door. That will reduce the vertical size of the jamb assembly and you should be able to pull it right off. Have an extra pair of hands for this step on the outside. Believe-me your floor will thank me later.

Remove the drywall, or plaster from one side of the doorway to expose the studs you are removing and also expose the header. You will need to be very precise here. Also you will need to note if the wall is load bearing or not.


Yes, I was yelling at you. This step is critical and if you need to shore up, jack joists up, or anything to that nature, you better off calling professionals.

Learn the proper nomenclature first. King Stud, Cripple Stud, Header, sill plate, etc...

Learn the proper nomenclature first. King Stud, Cripple Stud, Header, sill plate, etc...

Remove the header and the studs to the side that you are enlarging the door. Cut the new studs and header to the right size. I cannot help you this because every project is a different measurement. Measure twice and cut once. Make the rough opening so the new door will fit with a bit of play. 1/4″ is a good rule of tumb for projects like this one. Have wood or plastic shims at hand, you will need them to plumb and level your new door frame.

If the new door is a pre-hung, insert the new assembly in the rough opening and use your shims to make sure the door is perfectly leveled, plumb and perfectly aligned with the walls around. Have a pair of hands hold the door at one side and hold as you check and hold on the other side.  Keep doing this at every nail or screw you drive affixing the jamb to the studs. Do the screws slowly so you have control of any deformation of the jamb as you drive it. Keep shimming as needed to make the connections solid and sturdy. Sometimes, pre-hung doors come with markings that help you decide where to place your screws. Go all the way around making sure the door jamb is properly attached to the adjacent studs.

Keep Shimming all around the door jamb, make sure it will be plumb, leveled, and straight.

Keep Shimming all around the door jamb, make sure it will be plumb, leveled, and straight.

If you are not using a pre-hung door, I suggest you call us, because if you are reading this, I can say for sure that your carpentry skills will not be good enough to handle the hanging of a new door from scratch. Unless you have a few extra dollars to spend buying multiple doors and frames, I suggest leaving this part to professionals. Once you had your pre-hung all attached, leveled, plumb, and aligned, remove the pre-hung frame holders and test the door. It should open and close properly, if not, now is the time to make adjustments.

Install new drywall or plaster where you removed, install new trim because the old one will not fit, repair the flooring, thresholds or anything else you damaged on the process of doing the job.  Expect collateral damage.

Prime and paint anything you touched and needs painting.

Then put all your tools back in your shop, clean it all up and no one will never notice that the door jamb had been yanked out of there. If you decide that this project is too much for you, just let us know and we will come by and take care of all the steps. Click on Contact us and give us a call. We may be able to price the job over the phone.


Or Get the Full ADA guidelines by clicking here.





Areas and respective zip codes covered by The Ultimate Handyman

90004 Los Angeles, CA
90005 Los Angeles, CA
90006 Los Angeles, CA
90010 Los Angeles, CA
90017 Los Angeles, CA
90019 Los Angeles, CA
90020 Los Angeles, CA
90024 Los Angeles, CA
90025 Los Angeles, CA
90026 Los Angeles, CA
90027 Los Angeles, CA
90028 Los Angeles, CA
90029 Los Angeles, CA
90034 Los Angeles, CA
90035 Los Angeles, CA
90036 Los Angeles, CA
90038 Los Angeles, CA
90046 Los Angeles, CA
90048 Los Angeles, CA
90049 Los Angeles, CA
90057 Los Angeles, CA
90064 Los Angeles, CA
90066 Los Angeles, CA
90067 Los Angeles, CA
90068 Los Angeles, CA
90069 West Hollywood, CA
90077 Los Angeles, CA
90095 Los Angeles, CA
90210 Beverly Hills, CA
90211 Beverly Hills, CA
90212 Beverly Hills, CA
90291 Venice, CA
90401 Santa Monica, CA
90402 Santa Monica, CA
90403 Santa Monica, CA
90404 Santa Monica, CA
90405 Santa Monica, CA
91403 Sherman Oaks, CA
91423 Sherman Oaks, CA
91602 North Hollywood, CA
91604 Studio City, CA
91608 Universal City, CA
90070 Los Angeles, CA
90073 Los Angeles, CA
90084 Los Angeles, CA
90209 Beverly Hills, CA
90213 Beverly Hills, CA
90294 Venice, CA
90295 Marina Del Rey, CA
90406 Santa Monica, CA
90407 Santa Monica, CA
90408 Santa Monica, CA
90409 Santa Monica, CA
90410 Santa Monica, CA
90411 Santa Monica, CA
91413 Sherman Oaks, CA
91495 Sherman Oaks, CA