How to Trim the Bottom of a Door

Updated: Dec. 12, 2022

This is the best way to cut off a door bottom without splintering the wood.

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To cut off a door without splintering the finish, use a guide and sharp blade in a circular saw, and deeply score the cut line with a utility knife.

Tools Required

  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Sharp saw blade labeled either “For Crosscutting” or “Plywood”
  • Utility knife

The Best Way to Cut Off a Door Bottom

If you’ve just installed carpeting, your interior 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 of door cutting that works best for us.

Project step-by-step (2)

Step 1

Door Trimming Technique

cut off bottom of wood doorFamily Handyman

First, mark the clearance needed on the door. Then pull out the hinge pins and lay the door on padded sawhorses. 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. We 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.

Step 2

Door Trimming Close-Up

door trimming Family Handyman

A circular saw makes a great door cutter. 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 motor.

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 the wood. Lightly sand all the edges along the new door bottom to soften them.

Once you finish trimming the bottom of your door and sanding out the rough edges where you cut it, it’s time for the final step in the process, and maybe the easiest. With those steps done, you can hang the door back where it was and open and close it with no interference from the carpet.