Simple Solutions

How to Trim a Door

By: Joe Truini

When trimming a hollow core door, take less than an inch off each side to avoid cutting into the void beyond the frame. The veneer face on hollow core doors also tends to splinter easily. To prevent splintering, score the cut line with a razor knife before sawing off the door.

Once you’ve scored the door, clamp a straight edge to it at the proper distance from the door edge.

Now use a circular saw to make the cut, with the edge of the saw resting against the guide board.

Using circular saw on clamped board guide to trim door bottom.

Once you’ve made the cut, sand the bottom of the door, and finish it with either paint or polyurethane.


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6 Comments on “How to Trim a Door”

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  • Tracy Wellman Says:
    December 10th, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    How to cut solid wood doors more narrow?

  • Andrew Irvine Says:
    September 14th, 2017 at 7:03 am

    At the end of the cut the saw left the guide wood edge by about 1/4″, the cut edge was visibly wide of the knife cut line. They should have remarked on this and re-cut the last 6″, which would have corrected some of the misalignment; it would be done more accurately if the guide rail had been re-positioned on the other side of the door and the cut started at the edge where the excess was thickest; this would avoid the saw blade being forced along the shallow slant of the mis-cut bottom of the door instead of following the scribed line.

  • Dorinda B. Says:
    December 29th, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Good to know about blade type. Do you score both sides with razor knife to keep from splintering?

  • Scott Says:
    November 24th, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I need to cut an interior hollow core door but instead of the top or bottom I need to cut the side. I need a 24″ wide to be 23.75″. Is the method the same as cutting the top or bottom?

    Thank you

  • Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    January 17th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Bud, When using a portable circular saw, it’s always best to place the door face down (front side down). That way if there’s any splintering, it’ll happen on the back side or interior of the door. I’d recommend using a carbide-tooth blade with the most teeth you can find; that’ll produce the smoothest cut. And NO, do not ever put the blade in backwards. Good luck!–JT

  • Bud Cole Says:
    January 17th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hello Danny
    I’m cutting the bottom of a vineered door and was wondering if I’m to cut the front of the door or the back , which is inside the closet? Also do I use a plywood blade if how many teeth and do I put the blade in the saw backwards? thank you very much!!

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How to Trim a Door