How to Properly Measure Your Space for a Hidden Door

woman uses tape measure to measure door space.

Whether you’re looking to make a sanctuary within your home or safeguard your prized possessions, a secret door can create peace of mind for you and your family. Before diving into installation, properly measuring the space you intend to put the door in is essential. Here’s how to get it right with Hidden Door Store’s guidance.

Basic Guidelines for Measuring Space

Accurate measurements are crucial to successful hidden door installation and avoiding costly mistakes. The Hidden Door Store standard requires measurements to be correct within ¼ inch. Here’s what you should measure:

  • Height and width of the desired door opening or wall framing
  • Distance between the doorway and adjacent walls and other furniture to determine the desired clearance for unobstructed door-swing
  • Ceiling height to make sure the door can stand up in place
  • Location of a nearby electrical outlet inside the secret room if a wireless access control switch is necessary
  • Verify space for access down stairs, around corners, in elevators and more

All measurements should be taken from the top, middle and bottom to ensure uniformity. Inaccurate numbers can only cost you time and money.

Measuring the Rough Door Opening

The rough opening (RO) refers to the structurally-framed opening in the wall that receives the door. Here’s an overview of how to measure:

  • Start with the width: When getting the width, measure from stud to stud, not from the existing casing. Measure the width at the top, bottom and middle of the opening. Use the smallest measurement to ensure the door fits properly and has enough clearance to operate without any issues.
  • Measure the height: Measure both sides and the center of the RO from the header to the concrete slab or subfloor. If there’s a threshold in the opening, remove it to acquire accurate measurements. 
  • Be precise: Aim for accuracy within ¼ inch when measuring to ensure a snug fit for the door.
  • Avoid oversizing: It’s common for people to provide oversized measurements to ensure the door fits. However, this is unnecessary because door manufacturers undersize the door from the opening measurement by ¼ inch in all directions. Giving larger measurements may lead to excess shim space, affecting the installation.

Your door opening needs to be plumb and level, meaning that it needs to be perfectly upright and balanced for the door to fit properly. Uneven doorways will make it much more difficult to fit and properly disguise the door without it being obvious that a door is there. If you know your wall has a bow in it or your floor is far from level, consider correcting those issues before beginning the installation to get the best result.

In certain cases, it may be important to consider your city’s building codes. This is especially important when the secret door is installed in a commercial setting or at the top of a flight of stairs.

Floor Carpet

Do you have a carpet in the doorway? Heavy secret doors — especially those that contain shelving — can compress carpet, which could create a rubbing problem. Installing the door over the solid subfloor and then carpeting up to the threshold is recommended. Take height measurements of the rough opening from the solid subfloor, not the top surface of the carpet.

Replacing an Existing Door 

Remodeling your secret space and existing hidden door also requires new measurements, as your current door frame blocks the actual dimensions of the doorway. This situation will require removing the existing frame or trim casing. Trim casing is intended to hide the gaps between undersized doors and the surrounding doorway, but this will also get in the way of your measurements.

To remove trim casing, you’ll want to carefully cut the area with a utility knife where the trim meets the wall. Many modern homes use latex paint which can peel off of the wall if removed improperly. Removing the nails is easier, as most trim casings only use brad nails, which are easy to pry off.

hidden mirror door in closet, designed by Hidden Door Store

Measuring for Mirror Door

Taking measurements for a mirror secret door entails special requirements. The goal is to make the mirror look like it’s hanging on the wall as seamlessly as possible. To achieve this, keep the bottom of the mirror door frame a few inches above the baseboard level.

This means you have to add a footer to the opening before the door installation. When measuring your desired door height, start from the footer you just added, not from the floor. This ensures the door fits with the added space at the bottom.

If you’re replacing a tall door with a mirror door, consider adding a header to make the mirror even more realistic. Wall-hanging mirrors usually don’t go as high on the wall as doors, so a header helps create a balanced look.

How The Hidden Door Store Ensures Accuracy and Quality

With Hidden Door Store’s professional help, you can ensure accurate measurements. You can access door sizing and installation guidelines for your desired hidden door type on the website. These documents will show exactly what the measurements need to be and why they must be measured.

Unlike competitors, the Hidden Door Store uses your measurements to create a meticulous test jig for your desired hidden door, signifying a commitment to quality and precision. Trialing the door in the test jig ensures your door operates smoothly and looks aesthetically pleasing.

Why Hire The Hidden Door Store

People can measure doors in many ways, resulting in inaccurate measurements. Talking with a secret door specialist from the Hidden Door Store can save you time and hassle. The team has been serving clients for over two decades, ensuring they have the appropriate tools and knowledge to build the secret door of your dreams.
The company has a standard procedure called the “one finger test,” which examines an installed door’s ability to open with just a finger’s push. With this, you can ensure you get high-quality service that’s worth every penny. Contact us to get more information about measuring a space for your hidden door.