Oh No! Will Appliances Fit Through My Doors?

LaurieApril 27, 2010

I just had the worst thought. I'm about to close on a 1915 Four Square home (a small one at that), and realized that the front door may not accommodate today's sized appliances.

We're heading over there to measure the door hopefully today or tomorrow to double check, but what happens if they are too narrow? The only other door we can use is the one leading to the basement and I'm pretty sure that door is the same size as the front entry.

It's the oven, fridge and washer and dryer that are the problems of course. All of these are much larger than they made years ago. The fridge in the house now is rather small and the oven is an old 30" (I'm thinking of a 36"). There is no washer/dryer although hookups are there so I imagine there had to have been a set there at one time.

I guess I'm just venting more than anything - and looking to see who else has been through this problem and how they got around it.

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Years ago I was antiquing and fell in love with an expensive antique amoire. Bought it on the spot (non refundable, of course), and THEN realized it would not make the turn from the tiny hallway into the back bedroom of my 1920's bungalow! After much trial, scraped woodwork, etc. we dismantled the top of the amoire, got it where it was going, then reassembled. Also took off the door frames, which is an easy solution if you need just an inch or more space. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 6:48AM
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When you measure the door be sure you go from stop to stop inside the jamb.

The door and hinges can be removed to gain a little extra space since most door do not open far enough to completely clear the opening.

The next alternative is to remove the door jamb.

If you carefully remove the inside door casing (trim on the wall) you can usually see how much room this will get you.

At that point you can use a sawzall to cut the nails holding the casing and pull it outwards.

It can be a major job.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 7:05AM
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Thanks for the detailed info brickeyee! We may have to use it, unfortunately. I have a contractor on hand, the house needs some upgrading so thankfully there will be a person who has experience in handling this kind of situation but still it could be a problem. I printed out the specs of the appliances and I'm going to send them over to him, along with the door measurements and see what he has to say about it.

I had toyed with the idea of taking out the window on the back wall of the kitchen and putting in a slider but I was concerned about cost. Now I'm thinking that a small double French door that opens out - one which won't take up the whole wall but can allow something large to pass through may be a good idea after all. I'll have to start pricing those.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:35AM
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You aren't going to like me saying this, but on moving day, we found that our 1 piece queen sized box springs wouldn't fit up the stairwell. The depth and height of the risers and steps resulted in us going to the mattress store on moving day evening to buy split box springs.


re the appliances, you can always remove the trim around each door.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:30PM
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I live in an area where most of the houses are older and have 30" or 32" main doors. When you take the doors off the appliances, they fit through easier - you can also take the door off the house and remove all the hardware and trim.

When I bought my sxs fridge, I expressed concern and the delivery guy told me they had not found a house yet that they were not able to find some way to get the appliances in.

Now, I've had lots of issues where I could not get a piece of furniture into a room without making changes to the furniture or the room. We solved the queen box spring/stairway issue by removing the door to the stairwell and cutting the wall above the door open to the ceiling. Though now we have a stairway that is no longer a major fall hazard.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:44PM
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We have 36" exterior doors, and there was no trouble bringing our new french door fridge into the house and parking it in the dining room. But after we got the spot ready for it in the kitchen, it took removing both doors on the fridge, and the molding around the two doorways of the kitchen. At that time, we had only ourselves to do the work, and we were quite exhausted when we got it in its new home.

We also purchased a heavy duty front loading and stacked washer dryer unit with only ONE plug in. We had to take the back door off its hinges to get the unit inside, because the door would not go back far enough to clear that extra inch of space we needed. But once that was done, an easy fix, we had the two delivery guys set it up inside for us.

The next thing which we are going to enjoy doing is bringing inside the clawfoot slipper tub. Interior doors are not 36" generally, and I think our widest interior door is 32" with the door removed. If we can get the contractor/plumber to do the moving, it should be wiggled into the back door, through the kitchen door, through the archway from the dining room into the hall, through the doorway of the back/master bedroom, and then through the doorway of the master bath into the alcove where it will hopefully remain for the rest of its useful life!

It lends new meaning to building the house around something that will never never be removed--in one piece at least.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Around here sometimes they take the entire exterior housing off the Washer and dryer to get it down into the basement. I don't know how this is done. I looked at a house (1770s) with 22"-24" doors throughout. Hardly any furniture in that place.

I designed a renovation of a 1950s rancher with tiny doors 28"w(--24w" on bathroom) x 76"h . When the counterdepth fridge was delivered there was an opening in the wall and it was put into one of the bedrooms. Luckily with the doors off the fridge it fit through the bedroom door of the finished house. If it had been conventional depth we would have had to make a hole in the wall.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 6:27PM
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Wow, the stories you're telling are fantastic, I'm enjoying hearing them although they are also kind of distressing!

Anyway, my partner went and measured the front door today. It's 34", thankfully. The range, refrigerator and washer/dryer should have no problem getting inside *wipes brow* Obviously all others are smaller so no problem.

The stairways for furniture shouldn't be an issue although I'm glad it was mentioned. We have a rather wide stairway, and a nice wide turn too, so mattresses and dressers should make it up there with little effort.

The basement, might be a problem, but I seem to remember that it was wide enough for a washer/dryer. Somehow they got them down and out again once before lol.

Thanks for all of your tales. Feel free to add more whoever reads the thread. Like I said, it's kind of an interesting topic.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:32PM
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I think you'll be fine with just taking the door off (usually pretty easy, but is easier with two people), or taking the door and hinges off (be sure to mark each hinge so you know which is which when reinstalling). You'll need a thinnish bladed screwdriver and usually a light hammer to tap out the hinge pins to get the door off. Perhaps a heavier duty screwdriver - with a correctly sized blade - (and some strength and possibly a step ladder if you're short to get the hinges off and on again) if you have to take the hinges off the jamb. If you can, lubricate the hinge pins the night before delivery to make it easier to extract them, if needed, when the boys are standing there holding up the heavy boxes.

Don't worry about the 36" stove, it will go in sideways Think about it, it's probably intended to fit in a standard 24" deep counter run, right? Even at worst, if it's a pro-style, it may be approaching 30", but still ok. You can unbox and/or remove the appliance doors if necessary. Which is what you may have to do with the fridge anyway. If your store offers free delivery, this is one time it will really pay off. I'd suggest having some cash ready for good tips if it turns out to be onerous, but carefully accomplished.

As noted above, it's bed sets, sofas, and large case pieces that are the real probs. Unless you've got paid movers, in those cases you're on your own!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:42PM
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Many European apartments have similar problems. So large furniture is normally winched up the outside and through a window. I've seen the same technique used here on similarly tight downtown houses.


Renoing one downtown home, we were faced with the daunting task of moving a monstrously heavy old Crosley fridge down tight winding stairs. My 5'x5' moving guy had an idea. "You need this?" he asked. "Nope." "Okay, get everybody away."He hoisted the fridge up singlehandedly to an open window and tossed it three stories down to the ground.
SSSSsssss went the coolant into the atmosphere. And the fridge to the scrapyard. (Now that would be a $10,000 fine. And the loss of an antique worth up to three grand.)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:56PM
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LOL @ Worthy :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 8:45AM
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