The best way to cut off a door bottom
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Photo 1: Door trimming technique
Put a sharp blade in your circular saw, score the cut line and clamp on a straight edge for a guide.
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Photo 2: Trimming close-up
Set the guide so that you cut slightly to the waste side of the scored cutting line. Lightly bevel the finished edges with sandpaper.
If you’ve just installed carpeting, your doors will probably rub and bind, which means that you have to trim off the bottoms. Trimming a wood door with a circular saw without
splintering the wood or damaging the finish is a challenge.
Here’s the method that works best for me.
First mark the clearance needed on the door. Then
pull out the hinge pins and lay the door on padded
Mark the cutting line on the top face and edges of the
door and apply a 6-in. wide strip of masking tape along
the line to protect the door’s finish from the circular
saw’s base plate.
Next, score the cutting lines 1/16 in. deep with a utility
knife. I like to clamp a metal straightedge to the
door on top of the masking tape along the cutting line.
This helps to guide the knife, and then if the knife slips,
it only scars the waste side of the cut. You don’t need to
score the underside of the door.
Make sure your saw blade is sharp and has a minimum
of 18 teeth. Hold the circular saw against the edge of the
door as if you’re ready to cut. With the blade teeth held
just to the waste side of the scored line, mark the masking
tape along the opposite edge of the base plate.
Position a straight saw guide at this mark, parallel to
the cutting line, and clamp it at both ends. A 3/4-in. thick
guide is thin enough to provide clearance under the saw’s
Hold the saw against the cutting guide and check the
position of the blade’s teeth. They should be just outside
of the scored cutting line. Make the cut slowly. The
scored line will stop the splintering. The bottom side of
the door won’t splinter because the saw teeth cut up into
Lightly sand all the edges along the new door bottom to
soften them, then rehang the door.