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How To Cut Down A Hollow Core Slab Door

After new carpet or tile is installed, interior doors usually need cut down in order to open and close properly.

If the door is made of solid wood, this task shouldn't be too much of a problem. Measure the amount you want to take off, draw a straight line across the bottom of the door and make your cut with a circular saw.

If the home has hollow core slab doors however, the job becomes a bit trickier. There are two important factors that you want to keep from happening when cutting down these types of doors.

  1. Do not cut off the entire bottom interior framework of the door.

  2. Do not chip the veneer along the cut line.

Fortunately I have found a few tricks that will help you cut down your hollow core door without either of these conditions happening.

First, measure the total amount that needs to be taken off the door in order for it to open freely.

Take that measurement and divide it by two. Now inscribe a line on the top and bottom of the door that will remove your total measurement.

Ex: If you need to remove a total of 1” from the door, then you would inscribe one line 1/2” across the top of the door, and one line 1/2” across the bottom of the door.

The reason this is so important is because hollow core doors are constructed out of 1” wide pine or composite framing boards. If you were to remove an entire inch from the bottom or top of the door, you would be removing the bottom half of the internal framework of the door. This leaves you with no structure for the veneer casing to adhere to. Eventually the door will begin to delaminate.

Now lets address how not to chip the veneer of the door. Circular saws will chip the veneer casing of door if you do not take the following precautions.

First lay a line of painters tape along the line that you inscribed earlier. Next, take a utility knife and carefully score your cut line with it. Once you have established an initial scribe, run the utility knife along the line approximately 4 to 5 more times. This step ensures that the veneer will already be cut prior to you cutting the door down with a circular saw.

Don’t forget to do this step on both sides of the door.

Now you are ready to carefully cut the door down with a circular saw. If available use a blade with a high tooth count. The more teeth a saw has, the finer the cut.

After your done you can remove the tape and you should have a clean cut line.

I hope this post helps you salvage your interior doors!

K&A Handyman Services


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