Friday, February 8, 2008

Cutting the Bottoms Off Doors (Postponement of Utter Failure)

I know I promised utter failure as my next post... it's coming. I forgot that I hadn't yet shown off my utter success in door trimming!

You say your door is too tall for your door space now that you have put down slate tile? Here's how to fix this in 15 minutes or less.

Painter's Tape, 2 inches wide
Circular Saw with a sharp blade
Straight Edge
Tape Measure

First, measure the door jamb to determine the proper height. You want at least 1/4 inch of difference between the door and the frame/jamb heights... we went with 1/2 inch due to our uneven natural stone flooring.

Place tape around the door bottom where you want to trim it, covering both top and bottom as well as the sides. (Always trim a door up from the bottom). Measure, and use a straight edge to draw your cutting line.


We always use our level as our straight edge. It's the straightest thing around!

Carefully line up your circular saw on the cut line, with the blade going into the door about 55%. Cut along line (turn off saw) and flip the door. Carefully cut on the other side to complete the cut.


If you did not line your lines up perfectly on each side, there will be a small lip or ledge on the bottom at the juncture of the two cuts. Use a belt sander to even the bottom of the door. We managed to line it up perfectly, and did not need to sand it down.

  • WHY? Why cut both sides separately, instead of just cutting through the whole door in one pass?
  • Splinters. You might get away with that in a new door, or in a solid door, but ours is a laminated mahogany. The blade tearing through the veneer from the back would likely splinter and dislodge the mahogany... which is not something we wanted to happen.

After you have made your cuts, take sandpaper to the door bottom to smooth your work. Sand lightly on the edges of your cut to round them naturally and to help them blend in with the rest of the 70 year old door. You will want to do this BEFORE finishing the door, if it is not yet finished.


Corey said...

Will definitely have to keep this in mind, as I'll be laying hardwood floors upstairs and all of the doors upstairs need to be replaced.

P.S. The word verification was 'nosuv'. I think this is a hing that your blog is 'green'. :)

Tim said...

As well as the tape, I always cut the veneer with a knife along the line that the saw will cut, this further reduces the chance of splintering. I do this for all cuts for which I want a neat cut. Whichever saw I am using.

Anonymous said...

We did this with closet door and a back door to our garage. It scared our "know-it-all" neighbor, but it worked great! :)