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How Do I Make a Temporary Exterior Door?

Adam Yeomans

During the remodeling process, a significant number of people will enter and leave your home. Installing the exterior door prematurely could cause damage to the door from being bumped and beaten by the excess foot traffic. Installing a temporary door will give you, your family and subcontractors a proper entry, without risking damage to the finished exterior door. This project requires very little time, and can be completed in a few hours.

  1. Attach the hinges to the door framing on the left side (facing the door from the exterior) with a cordless drill. Use 3-inch screws in each hole from maximum support.

  2. Measure the height and width of the door opening. Transfer these measurements to a 4-by-8 foot sheet of OSB and cut the OSB with a circular saw.

  3. Cut two 2-by-4s the same height as the OSB sheet you cut in step 2 and screw them along each edge. Cut three more 2-by-4s that will go on the top, bottom and middle of the temporary door. Attach all the 2-by-4s with 1 1/4-inch screws. This is your temporary door.

  4. Attach the temporary door to the hinges by screwing the sides of the hinges to the 2-by-4s of the temporary door with 3-inch screws. Test the door to make sure that it opens and closes. Trim or remount the door if necessary.

  5. Cut a board 2-by-4 1/2 inches long. Lay it down and drill a 3/8-inch hole through one side. Go to your temporary door and measure back 10 inches. Drill a 3/8-inch hole through the mid-brace of the door at this point. Attach the 12-inch long 2-by-4 piece to the door with the 4 inch bolt and put a nut on the end. Hand-tighten the nut. The piece should be able to freely move back and forth.

  6. Cut two 2-by-4 pieces about 3 inches and one 2-by-4 piece 12 inches. Attach the 3-inch pieces so that the bottom one allows the 12-inch piece attached to the temporary door to sit on it level and the other is about 10 inches higher up the side of the door frame. Use 3-inch screws to attach the pieces. Attach the 12-inch 2-by-4 to the 3-inch pieces. This creates a lever catch.

  7. Drill a 3/8-inch hole through the middle of the 12-inch piece attached with the bolt that forms a lever. Drill a 1-inch hole about 12 inches above it through the OSB of the door. Push a rope through the hole in the OSB and push it through the hole in the lever. Tie a large knot on the end to keep the rope from pulling through when the rope is pulled. This will open the door from the inside.