Doors are Not Interchangeable

DoorsHomeowners seeking to replace exterior doors during their kitchen renovations are often surprised to learn that not all doors are exactly alike. Depending on when your home was built, the “modular” doors available at your local home improvement store may not fit your home.

While most exterior doors are about the same size — approximately 36 inches in width — this hasn’t always been the case. In some communities, local zoning boards and other regulatory bodies have attempted to codify door sizes for reasons of safety and handicapped accessibility. But homes built prior to passing those local rules usually are exempt.

Door Sizes

That means that not all doors are the same size. And when homeowners go to the big box home improvement store in their neighborhood and buy a “standard-sized” door, they are usually taken aback when the contractor tells them that it can’t be installed in the door space on their home — at least not without modifications such as a buildout.

Doors need to be flush to the wall on all four sides as well as firmly anchored into the building structure itself. So when doors that are too small are purchased, it can be difficult to make them fit without a lot of carpentry or even masonry work.

Similarly, doors that are too big for the existing space cause a lot of headaches for the workmen installing them.

Custom Doors

Not all doors are alike. So buying the wrong kind of door can cause a lot of problems. For one thing, doors are heavy and bulky to move. So returning them to the home improvement store can be a struggle.

A better plan is to ask your contractor to measure the space before purchasing a door. That way, you don’t have to make unnecessary trips or cause extra work — and expense — with the installation.


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