Trim a Door to Fit
LESLIE: John in Connecticut, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Long-time listener; first-time caller.
JOHN: My question today is when installing a hollow-core door – replacement door – is there a rule of thumb for how much I can cut off the height and the width?
LESLIE: Before you get to the hollow section?
TOM: John, if you’re going to replace your doors, you probably want to buy a prehung door. You probably don’t want to get involved with trying to set your own hinges because it gets a lot more complicated. If you replace the jambs at the same time, that part of it’s already done.
Now, when it comes to adjusting the height of the door, you typically only cut off the bottom of the door. You don’t touch the top because that’s already fit in with the prehung jamb. How much can you cut off the bottom? I’d say probably two to three inches. If it happens that you have a door that’s unusually low and you have to cut more than that, there is a carpenter’s trick of the trade and that is to simply repack that area of the door. If you end up cutting more off than you have solid bottom of that door, you can take some of the material that you cut off and then trim it to fit the – sort of the guts of that and slip it back inside, glue it top and bottom, clamp it, sand it, sand it, paint it and you’ve repacked the bottom of that door and you’ll be good to go.
JOHN: Oh, very interesting.
TOM: OK, but I would definitely go prehung because you’re going to find it a lot easier to install a prehung door than to try to take a slab and make it fit the old openings. It’s probably not worth it.
JOHN: OK, well you know, there are very few problems I can’t overcome as long as I’ve got The Money Pit Radio Show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.