HOME SAFETY… The Costs (and Benefits!) of Installing Wider Doors

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Installing wider doors? Here’s a couple options. Left side; sliding door, Right side; pre-hung door

Let’s talk about the costs (and benefits) of installing wider doors in your home.

The inside doors of homes have multiple purposes:

  • They divide rooms.
  • Add privacy.
  • Reduce noise from other areas in the home, and…
  • Add fire safety with easy egress.

When it comes to aging, wide doors prolong the ability to live at home. Easy passage, regardless of a person’s mobility, is a key to keeping your options open when it comes to living well. So what specifically do I mean when I talk about wide doors?

Ideally, doors should be 36” wide. Most homes, built for the “average guy” (remember the 5’10” man between his 20’s and 40’s?) have at least some doors less than 32” wide. Usually this doesn’t pose a problem – unless you’re a family of sumo wrestlers and all need the bathroom at the same time!

But what if someone needs a wheel chair, walker, or any aid that helps with balance while moving around? Even if it’s a temporary situation, it is a problem. And remember, you don’t have to be old to have these needs! It happens a lot and to this day, homes aren’t being built with this in mind.

Check out new construction homes, even those built for the 55+ community. Chances are you’ll find doors as narrow as 27”. They’re usually found in bathrooms with a separate toilet. They’re tight to get in and out of.  And reaching someone who’s fallen on the other side is hard to do without causing further harm.

Check around your house.  You may have at least one door like this.


Door Options And Costs

Here’s the good news. You have numerous options when it comes to door styles.  I’ll start with the most common door – the Pre-Hung Door.

Pre-Hung doors are the most basic type of interior door and found throughout the house. They can be hollow or a solid wood slab and can be customized with different hardware (remember, lever-handled hardware is best), finishes and designs.

According to Home Advisor’s website, the average cost for a standard pre-hung door (up to 36”) ranges from $70 to $110. Add-on costs include resizing the opening ($40-$50 per hour of labor), lock installation ($30- $35) and trim installation ($8 – $12 per linear foot).

Just remember – wider doors need more room for clearance so check out the space needed for this before making a move.

Pocket doors – Pocket doors are popular due to their low profile. The door itself needs to slide into a hollow area of the wall along tracks installed on either end.  They’re easier to install when adding a new addition, remodeling, or in new construction.  If simply changing from a hinged door to pocket – the installer needs to be aware of pipes or wires placed inside the wall. Changing or working around these can drive up the overall cost.

One more option for pocket doors is the barn door which slides on rails located outside the wall. Installation is less but the doors themselves can be expensive. Here’s the price guide for pocket door installations:

Installation on a new build or addition runs from $140 – $180.

Installation in an existing room can go form $600 – $1000…or more.

Barn-style door installation runs from $100 – $500.

Pocket doors sliding inside or along a wall take less floor space. This is especially advantageous when you have a small room, like a separate toilet room.

French doors offer more than enough width and often enhance and open up the appearance of a home. Like pre-hung doors, you need to be aware of how much floor space is needed for doors to open, and installation will most likely be double because there are two doors to frame and balance.

Saloon doors or swinging café doors are less common and generally used for kitchen and dining rooms where two-way traffic is common.  These double doors need a special type of opening hardware known as a pivot hinge. Prices of the doors alone are impacted by the type of material, the thickness of that material and the intricacy of the door design.  Installation can range from $50 – $250.


What Wider Doors Do For Us

Overall, wider doors open up and often enhance a home’s appearance. But more important than looks is function. With our desire to live at home as long as we choose, easy passage gives us more options which allows us to live where we want on our own terms.  We don’t like to think about needing aids to get us around, but remember, people with mobility challenges come in all ages.

Although it takes a commitment to make a change like this, widening critical doors is what I like to call a “double duty” improvement. First it’s easier for everyone to get around and, your home is more open and inviting to everyone – family and friends!


Live easy,



This post is part of a continuing series on HOME SAFETY. We started with the homes entrance and working our way through the home. To check out our other blog  post, click on the photos below.

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Interior Designer in Mesa Arizona, Home Safety, Home Entrance, Aging in Place, Design for Aging

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