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Community and Q&A

Cutting down an exterior door

Geoffrey Cook | Posted in General Questions on

OK…I desire a door that is energy efficient but trying to save money too. This door is will replace the old 3/4″ wood door that leads out onto the deck outside our bedroom.

The problem is the door is only 71″ tall and there isn’t room for much more than that…maybe a couple inches max. The current door is 28″ wide and I have room to go a bit wider.

My question is: Are there any stock entrance doors out there that I could cut down to make work without compromising the door or air sealing? I can order a custom door for about 600 bucks but would rather not spend that much. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If I can cut a door down, anyone have any tips or strategies to make it successful?

Thanks and Thanks.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    If you want to buy a frame-and-panel door with solid wood stiles and rails, it isn't that hard to cut it down, as long as the stiles and rails are wide enough to retain structural integrity after they are trimmed. You want a door that has not been predrilled for the lockset.

    You'll need a saw or a sawblade with very fine teeth. To avoid splintering the grain at the cut line, first place some masking tape on the cut line, on both sides of the door.

    You'll also need very sharp hand plane or power plane to finish the cuts. Don't forget to paint or varnish the exposed wood at the cut lines.

    If you haven't done much finish carpentry, you'll find that it's very easy to ruin a $400 door. So if you lack confidence, order the custom door.

  2. Geoffrey Cook | | #2

    Thanks Martin,

    You have confirmed what I have read since posting, at least a hundred times that it is not a good idea even if you are quite confident in carpentry. I'll be shopping around..Thanks again!!!!!

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