Lowe’s Closet Door Installation – Before & After with tons of images

Alright so here’s our before and after of our closet! A lot of hiccups along the way, definitely can’t take for granted the saying “measure twice, cut once” anymore 😓 Continue reading for alllllll of those hiccups. 👇

Before talking about the process of putting these closet doors in, this is the way that our house came. It’s older (1977) and houses then used to have full-length closet doors. Or at least all of ours are. But half of our closet doors are missing and the remaining half don’t work very well. And these full-length closets aren’t really sold anymore so we needed to put in a header to get the right height and put in a new door ourselves. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about all the issues we ran into!

First off, I made the mistake of just getting a random 2×4 out of our garage (we have a few lying around). When I grabbed it on the first night we started, I thought it was fairly straight when we cut it but when I started doing the framing, everything was way off. A chiropractor couldn’t put this kyphotic mess back into alignment. I came back the next day with a much straighter 2×4 and assembled the frame again and it was fine. Then I put it up in the closet opening and guess what: our closet isn’t plumb. One side of the frame landed where I wanted it but the other was about 1/2″ in. I said that was fine and I would just fill in that difference with compound.

We start installing the hardware and from the get-go, the top railing wouldn’t fit the width of the opening. Hmm, weird. Turns out the door kit we got is for 48″ openings. And our closet was 47¾” at the top and 47½” at the bottom (remember that bottom part for later, you’ll see why). I said okay, we can still make this work. The position that the doors would hang in, we can cut a little bit of the top railing to make it fit and still be able to get the doors in. I chopped away about half an inch using a chop saw.

So now the top railing fits horizontally and we’re hanging the doors up. Next issue we ran into was that the opening of our closet was not TALL enough. The doors fit but they were so snug that they were scraping the door jamb. This might have been my fault. I might have made the opening 80½” instead of 81″. But the packaging said that 80½” would work so go figure. I wasn’t about to start all over from the framing to make it half an inch taller. A little hacky way to get that extra half inch of height was to cut the flooring in that just tiny part where the door jamb sits and get to the subfloor so that’s what we did. It sits where the door is pivoting so it’s in an inconspicuous place anyways. After cutting away the floorboard, I replaced it with a thin piece of wood and we were good to go.

Alright so the doors are installed and they fit vertically. We attempted to close the doors and… they won’t shut all the way. The top of the doors seem fine but towards the bottom, they’re meeting too early. This is because the bottom of the opening is half an inch narrower than the top. Okay so I’m super stumped and defeated. Sooooo defeated.

But an idea pops into my head: what if we just sand down the sides and get that half inch back? We originally tried doing it by hand but that was going to take days so we stopped by Home Depot real quick (we had masks and touched basically nothing!) to get an orbital sander. With the sander, we made quick work of the drywall and were able to sand down practically to the corner bead.

Misalignment is clearer with this lighting

We reassemble everything now that we’ve gotten our walls sanded down as much as we could. The doors are ready to be closed. And again, they won’t close all the way because the bottom door jambs are too close together. Technically, they were closing but you would have to always close both of the doors together at the same time for them to meet. Not sure if that makes sense but this wasn’t going to work.

Recessed in both the floor and the wall.

Two days later, we decided to cut into the corner beads and recess the door jambs into the wall. Using a multi-tool, we were able to remove both the metal corner bead as well as the drywall. The door jamb was now recessed into the wall practically half an inch. We only did this on one side because the other had absolutely no room to work with. Swipe through the pictures and you’ll see the door jamb both in the floor and in the ground 🤦‍♀️But we needed to do this.

We reassembled everything together once more and the door was finally closing how we wanted it to. We fine tuned it a little more and got what we have here.

If you’re still reading this somehow, thanks for joining in on this mess… More to come with this closet soon! And heng around for our next project: fixing the flooding problem in our backyard!

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