I'm replacing a recessed medicine cabinet, which is slightly taller than the previous one and does not fit into the existing hole. I need to reduce the height of the existing frame by a quarter inch (at its largest, hole isn't perfectly even).

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What tool(s) should I use to do this? Is the safest thing to just sand the bottom?

  • Be sure to check for electrical wires before you start hacking away with that saw. Mar 4, 2020 at 21:18
  • If you need to "reduce the height of the existing frame" then it sounds like you have space to fit in the new cabinet.
    – BMitch
    Mar 4, 2020 at 22:11

2 Answers 2


Use a reciprocating saw to cut the fasteners holding one of the sill/fire-block boards in place. Run the blade right through the drywall; making a slot, right where the two boards meet. The top board would be the ideal choice, as it can't fall inside the wall, when the fasteners are cut, that hold it in place.

If a cripple stud is in the center, trim one of them 1/4" shorter.

Trim the drywall to match the new opening.

Toenail the sill/fire-block into its new location.

Patch any damaged drywall from cutting the old nails/screws.

A circular saw will more easily make a straight cut, but will also remove more wood. If using a reciprocating saw, just take your time and don't get in a hurry.


If what you need to do is 'increase the height of the hole by a quarter inch', then the safest solution is to get a replacement medicine cabinet that will fit in the existing hole.

If that's not possible, then use a saw to remove the stud that's in the way. After that, you'll need to repair the inevitable drywall damage that'll be left by the saw. This will be easier than sanding.

Regarding the type of saw: Use whatever saw you're comfortable with. There are a lot of saws that will work. You should prioritize keeping your fingers attached to your hands.

I would use a skillsaw with a CARBIDE BLADE to make a vertical cut through both edges of the lower stud, then pry it out. That type of blade will cut through the nails that you're going to hit when you make this cut. Go slow, and keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit nearby.

Assuming you removed the stud without hurting yourself, repair the drywall damage, then install the new taller medicine cabinet!

  • 1
    SkilSaw is a brand name, often used to describe a hand held circular saw. In this application, a reciprocating saw may be more suitable for the task.
    – fred_dot_u
    Jan 4, 2020 at 9:52

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