How Much Can You Cut Off A Solid Core Door?

Unlike hollow core doors, solid core doors come with fully-filled wooden interiors, leaving little to no internal gaps. In certain cases, you need to cut off a solid core door down to size. But the question is, how much of the door can you cut? We researched and asked the experts to come up with the answer.

Generally, you should only cut 5 millimeters per side from a solid core door. Take note that some manufacturers will indicate the specific measurements for safe trims on their doors. Look for these details by checking the owner’s manual or by consulting the brand that made the door.

Removing more material from a solid core door than the recommended amount can cause structural failure. But, on the other hand, you can cut this type of door in half if you want to throw it out. Keep reading to know more about cutting doors, such as the steps to cut an interior solid door in half.

Close Up process cutting of hand circular saw at wood door cuts. How Much Can You Cut Off A Solid Core Door

Can You Cut A Solid Core Interior Door?

In theory, you can cut down a solid core interior door. It can become a requirement if you purchase a model of the wrong size.

Although you can trim this type of door, you'll still have some of the ruggedness and soundproofing traits but the doorway's weight will be reduced. However, cutting a solid core door should be easier to accomplish than trimming its hollow core counterpart.

a front door entrance to a grand house. The wood panelled front door and frame are painted white

How Much Can You Cut Off The Sides Of A Solid Core Door?

Solid core door manufacturers will usually mention the cutting tolerances of their products in labels or online descriptions. Still, a 5-millimeter cut per side is relatively safe. You still have the option to trim beyond the advisable measurement. However, the material will lose some of its beneficial characteristics.

In particular, many vintage solid doors generally use mortise and tenon constructions. These models take advantage of two connecting parts, which are the mortise hole and tenon tongue. Cutting along these parts can weaken the entire doorway.

Additionally, some brands will indicate that their solid doors can only handle smaller-than-average trims. For example, one company might recommend only making 3-millimeter cuts per side.

Measuring the length of the door casing made of light wood using a tape measure in the hands of the installer, marking the board with a pen

Can You Cut A Solid Core Door In Half?

A solid core door can be cut in half, particularly for disposal. Take note that a solid core door is usually more difficult to repair than a hollow-core variant. Therefore, if a solid core door incurs damages, it can be a better idea to trim the door in half than to try and cover for additional charges for expensive repairs.

Aside from cutting for disposal purposes, you can trim a solid core door horizontally to create a Dutch door. Also called a double-hung or half door, a Dutch door has a horizontal split in its midpoint. In turn, you can achieve things like opening the top half while keeping the lower part closed.

Man using a circular saw for cutting wood door construction and home renovation

Can Solid Core Doors Be Cut To Size?

Cutting down a solid door to size is achievable, and one of the reasons why you want to proceed with this project is because you're installing a new floor. If so, take note of the following items and steps for this operation:

What You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Circular saw
  • Sawhorses
  • Two (2) ½-inch plywood scraps
  • 1 ¾-inch Plywood board or slab
  • Pen or pencil

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Measure the height of the new floor on your door. For example, if you're installing a new wood floor, stack some wooden scraps that resemble the flooring's height.
  2. Mark the height of the stack at the bottom of the door with a pencil or marker.
  3. Take away the door from its frame and hinges. Then, set it horizontally on sawhorses or other similar surfaces.
  4. Build a saw guide by grabbing two 1/2-inch plywood scraps. Screw each 1/2-inch scrap to a 3/4-inch plywood slab.
  5. Wear your safety glasses. Then, use a circular saw and make a straight cut along the length of the guide.
  6. Place and align the guide on top of the marked area on the door.
  7. Take the circular saw again and use it to cut the door with the help of the guide.

You can use cut the door immediately after placing it on the sawhorse. But trimming the solid door without the guide will create chips. Sanding these imperfections can help solve this problem, but it can take more time and effort than intended.

Watch this video to see a visual representation of the steps mentioned above:

Check out this SKIL 20V cordless circular saw on Amazon.

How To Cut An Interior Solid Door In Half

The following are the items you need to gather and the steps needed to cut an interior solid door in half.

What You’ll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Sawhorses
  • Two (2) 2 x 4 utility lumbers
  • Pen or pencil
  • Circular saw

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Remove the door from its hinges and frame. Then, place it on top of two sawhorses. Make sure that the sawhorses are parallel and have at least a 5-foot gap. Additionally, the center of the door should be between the supports.
  2. Measure the door’s length and divide it in half.
  3. Mark the door’s midpoint with a pen or pencil.
  4. Draw a cutting line at the midpoint area, and it should go through both sides. You can use a straight wooden scrap as a guide for this step.
  5. Wear your safety glasses.
  6. Cut the door through the middle area with the saw. Ensure that the saw's depth is 1/8-inches deeper than the material's thickness for it to cut properly.

How Do You Shorten A Solid Wood Door?

Keep in mind that splintering can happen if you make errors in cutting or shortening a solid wood door. Reduce the risks of that issue by following this procedure:

What You’ll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Clamps
  • Masking tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Two (2) sawhorses

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Mark the bottom of the door while it’s still hanging from its frame.
  2. Remove the hinge pins and take out the door. Place it on top of two padded sawhorses.
  3. Mark the cutting line with a pen or pencil.
  4. Place masking tape along the edge of the cutting line, which will serve as your guide.
  5. Scribe the cutting guide with a utility knife. Place clamps on the door to secure it while you do this step.
  6. Use an 18-tooth blade attached to a circular saw to cut along the guide.
  7. Sand the newly cut edges before rehanging the door.

You can also go through an optional step before returning the door to its hinges. This process involves painting or varnishing the newly exposed area. In turn, you can increase the door’s protection against excess moisture, which will otherwise lead to risks of swelling and warping.

Man cutting wood door cuts circular saw the hands of the builder construction and home renovation. How Much Can You Cut Off A Solid Core Door

Final Thoughts

Make sure to only cut a maximum of 5 millimeters per side from a solid core door. Trimming more than the recommended amount can lead to structural risks. Moreover, make sure to follow the brand or company's recommendations on a safe distance to cut their solid doors.

Also, don’t forget to read these posts to learn more about cutting other types of doors:

How To Cut A Veneer Door?

Can You Cut A Fiberglass Door?

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