How Much Can You Cut Off A Solid Core Door?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Of the many home improvement tasks you may have to take on, replacing a door doesn’t seem all that complicated. Or at least things may seem that way at first.

Upon purchasing a replacement door, you may quickly find that there’s a bit of an issue. More specifically, the door you found may not fit properly. It’s a common mistake that many homeowners make, but the good news is that it can be fixed.

You can take your newly bought solid core door and trim it down to size in your workshop. Trim along the perimeter of the door, but don’t go beyond two inches on each side. Both the ends and the sides of a solid core door can be trimmed if need be.

Wanting to add a solid core door to your home is understandable given the benefits it offers. Learn more about how you can fit it perfectly into your home by continuing with this article.

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What is a Solid Core Door?

In order to get the heart of the matter pertaining to solid core doors, you must take a look inside. Upon doing so, you’ll see that it has a core typically made out of composite or engineered wood. According to The Spruce, the composite or engineered wood can be either Masonite or fiberboard.

Surrounding that core are solid pieces of wood. Those additional pieces of lumber are important for giving the door its more familiar appearance. They are essentially the reason why you think solid core doors are made completely from solid pieces of wood.

That unique composition is the reason why you have to exercise more caution when modifying solid core doors. You cannot risk cutting into the composite or engineered wood core and potentially compromising the door’s durability.

Still, even with the issues they present, many homeowners prefer solid core doors. We’ll get into the specific reasons why a bit later in this article.

What’s the Difference between a Solid Core Door and Solid Wood Door?

If you’re new to the task of shopping for doors, you may find yourself confused by a particular dilemma. You may find yourself presented with both solid core and solid wood doors and find it hard to tell the difference.

They are not the same though and understanding how they differ will help you make a smarter purchase. The biggest dissimilarity has to do with their composition. You won’t find composite wood cores inside solid wooden doors.

Instead, solid wood doors can be made from either a large piece of wood or a wooden frame and panel. Homeowners are paying for the real deal if they decide to spend on solid wood doors. Those solid wood doors are also easier to modify.

Homeowners looking for something sturdy and durable will want to prioritize solid wood doors. They don’t need brickmold to hold up well for a very long time. Bank on those solid wooden doors also upping the overall value of your home.

What Is a Hollow Core Door?

Your options aren’t limited to just solid core and solid wood doors. Homeowners can also find hollow core doors while shopping, but what exactly are they? The word “hollow” is a bit misleading here because you won’t find a void in the middle of the door. What you will notice though is a lack of wood or even engineered wood.

The core is instead made up of either cardboard or plastic that’s been molded into a honeycomb for added durability. Covering the cardboard or plastic core are thin layers of wood that make the whole thing resemble a door better.

It’s hard to make a good argument for choosing hollow core doors beyond them being affordable. They should still be fine if you’re using them for rooms that are not accessed often though.

How to Trim a Solid Core Door to the Right Size

Trimming a solid core door is a job you can do home provided you have the right tools and some help. Listed below is a quick guide you can follow courtesy of SFGate.

Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment

For this task, you’ll want to use a table saw with a miter gauge as your cutting tool. Given the size of a typical door, it’s just easier to work with a table saw.

In addition to the table saw, remember to prepare some masking tape, a tape measure, and your safety gear. Gloves that protect against splinters and goggles that shield against debris should be enough.

Step 2: Call a Friend over to Help

The idea of trying to move a door around when you have an exposed table saw nearby is scary. You should not attempt this task on your own. Call a friend and ask him/her to lend you a hand to make things significantly safer and easier.

Step 3: Make Your Measurements

Now it’s time for you to start preparing the solid core door for cutting. Begin by measuring the doorway first. After that, turn your attention to the solid door.

The door should be slightly smaller than the doorway. Carve out about an eighth of an inch along the top and the sides. For the bottom, you’ll want to give about 3/8 of an inch of clearance. Mark those measurements using your masking tape and make sure the tape stretches over the areas you want to cut.

Step 4: Prepare the Table Saw

Prepare the table saw by raising its blade about 3/4 of an inch higher than the overall thickness of the door. You should also move the miter gauge to a spot where you can easily reach it.

Step 5: Get the Solid Core Door on the Table Saw

Together with your friend, lift the solid core door and place it on the table. See if it’s in a spot where you can push it easily for cutting. Secure the solid core door against the fence as well.

Step 6: Begin Trimming the Solid Core Door

Turn on the table saw and start pushing the door towards the blade. Have your friend on the other side guide the other end of the door. Keep cutting until the edge of the table emerges underneath.

Step 7: Use the Miter Gauge

After the edge of the table appears, stop cutting for a bit and grab the miter gauge. Place one end of the miter gauge into its designated slot and then push it forward. This should allow the table saw fence to line up with the side of the solid core door.

Use the miter gauge to push the door over the blade while your friend continues to guide the other side. You’re done when the blade has finished cutting through the marked spots.

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Related Questions

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Solid Core Door?

Solid core doors can be seen almost as the compromise option between hollow core and solid wood doors. They aren’t as durable as the solid wood doors, but they are still built to last. They also aren’t as affordable as hollow core doors, but more budget-friendly than the solid wood options.Some homeowners prefer solid core doors because they block sounds very well. Solid core doors also work to make your home safer by offering good fire resistance.

How Much Do Solid Core Doors Cost?

According to Home Advisor, the price range for solid core doors goes from $70 to about $500. Keep in mind that the $500 range is for the really high-end options. You can still find good options without spending that much.

How Can You Identify the Type of Door You Have?

Start by knocking on the middle of the door and see what kind of sound it produces. Hollow-core doors will, unsurprisingly, give off a kind of hollow sound.Weight is another thing you can refer to for the purposes of identifying the door type. If the door feels heavy, then it’s likely either a solid wood or solid core door.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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