Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Closing the Doorway

Between the spare room and the bathroom was a doorway. The extra doorway occupied valuable wall space, and went unused for three years in the house. When it came time to close this door for good, we enlisted the help of our amazing neighbor David, who is also a carpenter.

First, remove the trim. We tried to save as much as we could, to reuse when we finish the basement. Our woodwork is easily replaced, so I'm not sure it's entirely worth the effort and having to save a bunch of boards in an already small basement, but oh well.

(This picture doesn't entirely capture how bad that green was. 
We have since painted it, as a temporary solution.)

Then, select straight studs. For this small opening, we needed five total. We measured the opening and  cut the boards accordingly. We couldn't get the 16" on center spread, so we spaced them pretty evenly- I forget the exact measurement. We laid everything out, then nailed it in place (two nails at each junction).

We tapped the frame into place with a hammer, working carefully. We measured how deep the frame set within the wall, to get as close as we could to the depth of the drywall. Then we nailed through the new frame into the existing framing.

We used regular drywall, although looking back I might have selected a specific product that our plastered recommended. I forget the name, but will try to track it down. It's a type of drywall that works best with plaster. But it's the same idea, and our regular drywall worked fine.We used drywall screws roughly every foot down the length of each stud.

Apply a plaster bonding agent to the drywall, and use a lightweight plaster. Spread it over the wall. We liked a product our plastered used- it sets in 20 minutes. That means you've got to work fast and will likely have a big a wasted material, but it sets much faster than some other products we used. Everyone has their own favorites, but we're happy with it.

After working for hours and hours and more hours to make the wall look good, we did eventually hire a plasterer to skim the wall. It took him no time at all, and the finished look is great. We use a bonding primer before painting over plaster. Not sure if that's always necessary, but that's what we're doing.

So there it is! In a nut shell, that's how we removed the doorway, with tremendous help from an experienced neighbor and our plasterer. While I mostly watched the framing process, it's absolutely doable.


  1. The roof is on! We still need to build the doors, and do siding, then paint. But we totally use it in it's current state. And love it. Oh- and total we put down some paves in front. I'm scouring Craigslist for some siding materials!

  2. blue board is the kind of drywall you are probably talking about. Really hard and heavy and made especially for plaster to bond to :)