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Cutting down a new exterior door

by Mark Bower

CUTTING DOWN A STANDARD SIZE DOOR

Most exterior doors on mobile homes are not of standard size. If your door is in need of replacement, you can expect to pay 3-4 times the cost of a standard door to purchase a replacement of less than desirable quality. To get a better quality door at a "normal" price, you have two options -- cut the door opening bigger to accept a standard size door, or cut-down a door to fit the opening. If you have the headroom, cutting the opening bigger is the preferred way. If not, then maybe cutting down a door is an option you wish to consider.

remove door from framePurchase a pre-hung door of the proper width and remove it from the frame by pulling the pins.

remove bottom thresholdLay the frame on some sawhorses and remove the bottom threshold.

measure height of doorwayMeasure the height of the doorway opening. Then cut each side of the frame to that measurement minus 1-2". For instance, if you door opening is 76 inches, you would measure and cut the frame to 75-1/2 inches. Then set the frame into the door opening.

measure distance from bottomWith the frame in the door opening, measure the distance from top to bottom. Subtract one inch from this distance and that's the height of your door. Lay your door on the sawhorses being careful to protect the finish. Measure down from the top and mark your cut. Be sure you are cutting the bottom of the door. Again, if the opening measures 74-3/4 inches, then cut your door to 73-3/4 inches.

cut using circular sawDraw a line straight across and cut using a circular saw. Lay down a piece of food wrap to help protect the saw from scratching the finish. If you have a hollow door, take the solid piece you cut off the bottom and insert it back into the end you just cut. Nail it in place. Don't worry, you won't see the nails.

cut bottom sealMeasure and cut the bottom door seal to fit.

remove sharp blursRemove any sharp burrs and slide the seal over the bottom. The seal not only nicely finishes off the bottom of the cut door, but also seals the gap between the door and threshold. If you can't find this particular seal at your home improvement store, we have them available for $12 plus shipping. Just e-mail us.

Finally, hang the door back on the frame then shim, adjust and screw until it operates smoothly. Install an adjustable threshold at the bottom of the doorway and adjust the door seal or threshold up or down until you achieve a complete seal.

Using the threshold you took off the original frame may or may not work. If your feeling really 'handy', you can try cutting the door frame and re-attaching the threshold before installing the frame in the doorway. This involves a lot more careful measuring and each leg of the frame will have to be cut at an angle for a proper fit.




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