Can I cut this?
August 1, 2020 10:50 AM   Subscribe

I have a door frame that fits a 27” x 80” door. I want to install a single French door. The size I can get is 28” x 80”. I want to cut it.

The door specs say that it’s fine to cut an inch off the top or bottom but that there’s a 1/4” maximum on each side. I want to either cut 1/2” off on each side or 1” on one side. Can I do this? Is the guideline there for the warranty or will my cuts structurally compromise the door?
posted by degoao to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
can you take a 1/4" off the frame?
posted by clavdivs at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2020

It's going to cost more, but I'd see if you could order a custom size that's exactly what you need.

I can't tell without looking at it whether taking an inch off will "structurally compromise" it. It's more likely that it just won't look good and once you cut it you won't be able to take it back.

If you do decide to cut it then you might want to take a 1/2-inch off each side.
posted by someonesomewhere at 11:05 AM on August 1, 2020

Very difficult to know without seeing the door. It could certainly be the case that 1/2" on each side would be too much. It is common practice to trim doors to fit, but that doesn't mean it will work on this particular door. Can you find a different door that does allow more trimming?

Is it already drilled for the doorknob? That would make it inadvisable to take off much on the handle side.
posted by ssg at 11:18 AM on August 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Often the guideline is because there's only a certain amount of solid wood at the edge of the door - the rest is composite and veneer. Take too much off the side and you'll be through to the core, bad visually and structurally (because it's not designed to be exposed to moisture etc). No idea if this is the case for your door, but if it is, I'd find a different door.
posted by stillnocturnal at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2020 [8 favorites]

Talk to a builder who can look at the frame.
posted by theora55 at 11:40 AM on August 1, 2020

Often the guideline is because there's only a certain amount of solid wood at the edge of the door - the rest is composite and veneer.

This is what I would guess. I don't think they would give you those 1/4 inch specs if they didn't have a good reason. If you could look at the actual door, you might be able to see how thick the side pieces are by examining the top or bottom edge of the door.
posted by JackFlash at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

If it is a hollow core door (very light, very common), then you have a tough (but not impossible) problem.
The stiles might be very thin, and cutting an inch off could completely remove the stile. You'd have to put a new one in, but you'd have to scoop out some of the (cardboard?) honeycomb first.
Worse would be if you were only left with a sliver of stile that wouldn't quite be strong enough.

If it's a french door like I'm thinking (mostly window), then the wood parts are very likely to be solid wood. I've never seen a door like that where the parts like look like solid wood weren't solid wood. But obviously you could be surprised.

In situation #2 I'd just blindly go for it.
In situation #1 I'd go for it if I could keep at least 1/2" of stile and it wasn't in a high-use area (or likely to be slammed a lot).

Unasked for, another option is to use barn door hardware and not cut the door at all.
posted by Acari at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

We installed a French door (mostly window) cutting off the sides to make it fit, it was a lot of fiddling, like trimming and fitting any door is a careful process. The sides were solid-ish (composite).

Acari asks the interesting question: if it's mostly window, are the side parts hollow-ish? If the manufacturer recommends not more than a light trim, is there a structural question here?
posted by ovvl at 5:30 PM on August 1, 2020

(the answer is that if the French door is inexpensive and relatively light-weight, than you probably can't trim it down too much.)
posted by ovvl at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2020

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