My old door was 27 3/4 inches. The new doors are sold in a standard 28" size. Instead of trying to cut a 1/4 inch of the door (I don't have a saw guide) I thought it would be easier to pull the trim off and just redo the strike side of the door. All I need are shims right? And a level ;)

Is it better to do this vs cutting it down a 1/4 inch since if anyone wants to replace the door again in the future they won't encounter this problem.

**** UPDATE****

After buying a hand plane for $10 at my local big box hardware store I started plane'ing the door, it was taking a while so out of stupidity I thought I would go ahead and use my Ryobi Circular saw to make the 1/4 inch cut.

This ended up being a miserable failure, the gap ended up being too large, what I really needed was 1/8". Instead of buying a $10 hand plane I would've been better off buying a guide for the saw, but 1/8 of an inch is still hard to cut.

Today I won for worst DIY mistake on 12/18/14. I'm no amateur, I remodeled an entire bathroom ripped up tile and put in new tile, new drywall, lights, and switches. I write all this so that anyone else who has an old house where the door size is off the standard please don't make the same mistake I did, just get a prehung door. If you have a modern house (maybe build within the last 20yrs) you can probably get something off the shelf and put it in without hassle.

  • I have finishing nails on hand from trim that I did, what length should the nails be (for the jamb not trim) and what about screws? I have some drywall screws but they are not long enough I think. – John Dec 16 '14 at 4:55
  • OK I've removed one side of trim, I can see all the shims and with some pliers I might just be able to pull them out, or wait, they are nailed in aren't they... Ok so I guess once I get them out (one way or another) I'll just gently tap the strike side of the door jamb with a mallet until it moves in 1/4 inch, there is space for it to move, now it's a matter of just making it happen. – John Dec 16 '14 at 5:09
  • If you are able to move the jamb this way, you have to make sure it is square when you get done. Otherwise there will be issues with closing/ sealing the door. – Gabriel Dec 16 '14 at 5:14
  • Just so you know local shops and big stores like Home Depot will make cuts for you and its usually only 50 cents. (Home Depot current price) ":) – norcal johnny Sep 5 '16 at 7:25

Depends on how big of a gap that you have that is currently being shimmed but yes this would be the easiest thing to do. I would make sure that you have at least 3/16" gap at all points before doing this.

Note: Just to be clear you should be using the new jams in this door. At the very least you need to use the hinge side but preferably both. After you take out old jams (top can stay if it is going to cause a ton of work - and most of the time it doesn't) you install put the new ones in.

  • How will i remove that side or do I need to remove the top as well? Remove as far as the nails I mean, I can't get the cut-off tool I have in there I think and the multi-tool I have has a plunge cut blade for wood, I think I can figure it out once I take the trim off but just need some ideas tips before doing this. – John Dec 16 '14 at 4:53
  • Use a sawsall to cut the jamb loose from the stud. Or, something like this: Vibrating cutoff tool – Gabriel Dec 16 '14 at 5:11
  • I have that tool from harbor freight, the multi-tool and the cut-off tool by chicago electric – John Dec 16 '14 at 5:15
  • Looks like I'll need this tool for the nails, or I can leave the nails in and just remove the shims and just pound the door with a soft mallet (finger crossed) harborfreight.com/… – John Dec 16 '14 at 5:16
  • Yep, so do eeet! (unless of course you are able to move it like you said above) – Gabriel Dec 16 '14 at 5:16

Doors don't get replaced that often! It's much quicker, easier and less messy to make the door fit. It can be planed down - 30 mins will do with a hand plane, or 10 with a power plane.You're adjusting one thing, not at least two. An ordinary saw will rip 1/4" off if you clamp something straight along the side to follow.It's a sledgehammer to crack a nut,otherwise!

  • If it wasn't for the rabbet joint I could adjust the jamb. But you're right, it's going to be easier to just buy a guide and take a 1/4 inch off the door, the circular saw will rip through it in less than 2mins – John Dec 16 '14 at 9:11
  • Two C-clamps and a straight 1x4 or 1x6 board will make a far better guide for the saw base than one of those cheap saw guides that you stick through the base of the power saw. – Michael Karas Dec 16 '14 at 13:24
  • I was thinking of buying this aluminum guide for $20 it seems like a good deal, it extends 96 inches which is more than enough for an 80" door. homedepot.com/p/Johnson-98-in-Aluminum-Cutting-Guide-J4900/… – John Dec 16 '14 at 20:55
  • It sure did rip a 1/4, the ryobi saw with the stock blade (20 tooth) ripped through nice and clean, except 1/4" ended up being too much. – John Dec 19 '14 at 4:15

This idea to make a big modification to a door jamb just to avoid trimming a door is crazy.

If you try to move this crazy idea forward and pound the jamb side over 1/4" you will find that you have compromised the upper corner of the jamb on that side. The upper joint of a jamb is usually a rabbet joint and this will completely separate when you force it over by the 1.4", Much of the structural integrity of the jamb will be lost.

You will also find that the top casing trim on both sides will now be 1/4" too short necessitating replacement of that.

It is amazing the crazy ideas that people think up just because they cannot see fit to acquire, rent or borrow the proper tools for a job.

  • You are absolutely right, as I removed the top part of the trim to expose more of the piece I see what you mean by upper joint being "rabbet joint" as you put it. Again you are right about the trim at the top, if you were to some how move it over it would be too short, but replacing trim is easy. I do have a saw but I feel like this stupid thing should be able to fit standard sizes not 27 3/4 inch doors, now everytime someone wants to replace this door they will have to cut or just buy a new prehung door (which is what I should've done). – John Dec 16 '14 at 8:42
  • Wait! If that rabbet joint was there then how was the door ever adjusted initially? As in if I bought this whole thing as a prehung door and needed to move that side over what would I do? And the distance I need to move it is 1/4 inch, trying to cut that off with a saw might not be easy without a guide that's why I chose this as an option. – John Dec 16 '14 at 8:49
  • 1
    In modern construction, doors come with manufactured jambs. No adjustments are necessary because everything already fits. Before manufactured doors and jambs were commonplace, the jambs and doors were built together. – longneck Dec 16 '14 at 13:29
  • 1
    Actually more correctly - Originally doors were made in a factory and carpenters used clear boards (usually pine) to fabricate door jambs at the job site designed to fit the rough opening and the door size. The door of course invariably needed fitting by cutting to length and edges planed to the proper taper. As time marched forward it became common to purchase precut door jamb kits that were designed for pre-determined wall thicknesses. These kits came with the rabbet joints already cut and were cut to height and assembled at the job site. (continued) – Michael Karas Dec 16 '14 at 13:38
  • (continued from above) Then came pre-hung doors that had the full door hinges and jamb all assembled at the factory. These were designed around the mass manufacturing idea to allow houses to be slapped together faster and cheaper. They also no doubt make it easier for DIY home owners with less experience to install a new door. Often when I remodel and install a new door I am back at basics making my own jamb from plain boards. – Michael Karas Dec 16 '14 at 13:46

Trimming a door using a straight board is the simple low cost way to ensure that you get a straight edge.

This shows the setup used:

enter image description here

You can also use something like a track saw or a commercial metal straight edge but those are usually justified for someone who would be trimming a door or cutting sheet goods every day.

enter image description here

At all costs avoid the use of one of these things. Even with best effort you can get a wavy edge on your door.

enter image description here

  • I drew a line and decided to cut it free hand [afterall, my saw has a laser :) ] and guess what happened, the cut wasn't 100% even across the 80" edge and 1/4" ended up being too much, overall this was one of the worst failures I've had doing work around the house. – John Dec 19 '14 at 4:18

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