Can You Cut A 6-Panel Door?

Do you have a home project that'll require you to cut a door to size but you're hesitant to do it because you have a 6-panel door? You've come to the right page! We've consulted our door experts to ask if you can cut this kind of door, and here's what they have to say.

Yes, you can cut a 6-panel door, but don't cut too much. You can trim off 1/4 inch from the top, bottom, and sides to adjust its fit. This will ensure that you won't compromise the structural integrity of your door, and it still has a solid frame that'll block moisture that gets inside the door's interior.

Hang on because we'll tell you how you can cut a 6-panel door. We'll also give you tips along the way to make your home project successful.

Close-up of carpenter cutting a wooden plank. Can You Cut A 6-Panel Door

Cutting A 6-Panel Door

A 6-panel door consists of wooden stiles and rails. The stiles run vertically while the rails go through the horizontal length of the door. You can find the panels attached to the perpendicular sites where the stiles and rails meet.

As the name implies, a 6-panel door has 6 panels, 3 on one side and another 3 on the other. It has a strong outer frame along the top, bottom, and sides that is usually made of solid wood. But in between the wooden intersections, there is a void or hollow core.

It isn't unusual for homeowners to want to cut their panel doors to size. They may have bought the wrong size or installed new and thicker carpeting that's why the old door can't be opened all the way anymore.

The good thing is that 6-panel doors can be cut to size to make the door fit the frame or open perfectly. But of course, this is assuming that you don't need to cut off a big portion of the door.

It's perfectly okay to trim 1/4 inch off the top, bottom, and both sides of the door. The outer frame is usually made of solid wood with a width of 1 inch so cutting off a quarter of an inch won't significantly weaken your door.

If you need to adjust the height, it's recommended that you cut off from the bottom because most hollow core doors have a thicker rail at the bottom. But if you're adjusting the width, you can remove equal parts from the left and right sides of the door to come up with a more balanced look.

How Much Can You Cut Off A Door Width?

If your door is not a perfect fit for the opening where you're going to place it, do not despair. You can cut off a portion of it so that it'll fit in there just like a glove.

The strategy here is not to cut too much on each side. This is sound advice especially if you have a hollow core door. This type of door has a wooden frame along its perimeter. There may be cardboard pieces here and there to offer more support but the rest is void or hollow, thus the name.

To be on the safe side, you can cut up to a quarter of an inch on each side. The frame is usually made of 1 inch of wood so even if you trim a quarter inch, it won't sacrifice the structural support of your door.

Since you're not cutting off more than you need to, you can also be assured that the door will not warp since there's still enough frame to block off moisture. It can keep water from seeping through the inside of your door and prevent damage.

How To Cut A 6-Panel Door

Now that we've established that you can cut a 6-panel door, let's proceed to the how:

Tools You'll Need

  • Circular saw
  • Saw blade for crosscutting or plywood (minimum of 18 teeth and make sure it's sharp!)
  • Clamps
  • Utility knife
  • Sawhorses (at least 2)
  • Metal straightedge
  • Wide masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper

Procedure

  1. Mark the clearance that you need for your door.
  2. Remove it from the hinges.
  3. Place the door on opposite sawhorses. Make sure it is flat and stable.
  4. Mark the portion on the top, bottom, and sides that you need to trim.
  5. Put a masking tape below the mark to protect the finish of your door.
  6. Using a utility knife, score about 1/16 inch through your marked lines to prevent a blowout or tearout.
  7. Clamp a metal straightedge parallel to the side that you're working on. Make sure the width of the circular saw can fit perfectly. This will serve as your guide while sawing.
  8. Position the circular saw at the edge of the door. Check the teeth of the blade if they are within the scored line.
  9. Cut through the door slowly until you reach the other edge.
  10. Use a sandpaper to smoothen the edges of your newly resized door.

You just need to reinstall your door and you're done!

electric portable circular saw is on wooden board in house under construction

Can You Cut A Panel Door In Half?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can cut a panel door in half.

There are instances when you have to do this. You may want to convert your current door into a Dutch door so you can enjoy its convenience. Or you want to repurpose it as a worktop for your kitchen if you're getting a new door. You may also need to cut your panel door in half when you need to dispose of it.

Bottom line is, it can be done. But you're going to need adequate space, the right tools, and of course, the right skills for this kind of job. Otherwise, you can damage your stuff in the room or worse, hurt yourself in the process.

Whatever type of project you need to do, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Remove the door from the hinges.
  • Take off the other hardware such as knobs and bolts.
  • Make sure you have adequate support for the door. You can use sawhorses or scrap wood.
  • Position the door on top of the support. Make sure that it is flat, stable, and balanced.
  • Mark the midpoint of the door with a chalk or pencil. Do it on both sides of the door.
  • Prepare your circular saw by setting it at the thickness level of your door but add another 1/8 inch to make sure that you cut through it.

What Is The Best Way To Trim A Door?

The best way to trim a door is with the use of a circular saw. It'll make your job a lot easier as long as the blade is sharp and it has at least 18 teeth. This will get the job done smoothly. Measure the door against the frame and mind the gaps or clearance as well.

Some also use a hand plane or power plane for this task. Experts recommend that you work inwards starting from the outer edge of your door so that you won't damage the end grain.

assorted door panels on display at a local hardware store

Where Can I Get A Door Cut To Size?

If you don't have the tools, skills, and time to cut your door to size, you can ask your local hardware store or the dealer where you're purchasing the door if they can do it for you. You can also contact your trusted carpenter to do the door cutting for you.

You would need to provide them with the specific measurement so that the door can be adjusted according to the size that you need. Some hardware stores can do it for free while some may charge an additional fee for fitting and reframing your door.

Even if you have to spend some bucks for this project, it'll be worth it because you'll have your dream door ready for use and you'll enjoy the security that they offer.

Close-up of carpenter cutting a wooden plank. Can You Cut A 6-Panel Door

Final Thoughts

Go ahead and trim off a little from your 6-panel door to make it fit your room perfectly. Just remember not to cut off too much or else you'll weaken its support and risk removing all portions of the outer frame that serve as a block to protect the inside of the door from moisture and warping.

You may also be interested to read the following posts on how to improve your door:

How To Paint A Panel Door Without Brush Marks

How To Hang Door Panel Curtains

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