I am looking into replacing my doors in my house. The current doors are a little unconventional. the widths are 31.5" what are my options for replacing them? is it possible to take a 1/4 inch off each side on a table saw, sand and re paint a new door or is the hollow nature of interior doors going to pose a problem?

  • Please verify the exact dimension of the door slab for us. Don't use decimals. Use 16ths or 32nds of an inch. Make sure that you're measuring the wider of the two faces, as the latch edge may have a bevel for better operational clearance. Sight through the tape measure at a right angle to the door face to eliminate error due to the bullnose on the corners.
    – isherwood
    Aug 8 '16 at 20:17
  • Also provide accurate measurement of the finished opening width. All this may sound pedantic, but it can have an impact on the proposed solution whether we're really talking about 1/2" or if it's only say 5/16".
    – isherwood
    Aug 8 '16 at 20:19

This is less an answer than a rambling commentary, so please bear with me.

Isherwood might be on to something about your measuring... you might have plain old 32" doors without realizing it.

But if you don't, and you need to do some surgery, here's a few points:

  • buy from a real door place... not a big box. You'll be able to pick the price point that gets you an adequate amount of wood in the stiles. (And they're apt to know what they're selling.) Plus, you'll be able to specify unbored and unmortised.

  • if your existing doors fit well, you could even bring the doors to the aforementioned door place as templates and let them cut/bore/hinge them for a modest fee. On a good day, they'll dispose of them as well.

  • if you're doing surgery on the doors, think about a power planer. A tablesaw (even one with a beautiful outfeed table) isn't going to be good at cutting the subtle curves you find in existing doors. And I can't imagine cutting tops/bottoms on a tablesaw.

  • again, if you're all diy and want another excuse to buy tools, get a used midsized router (1-1/2hp; the classic in the category is the porter cable 690; $50-100 on craigslist) and a hinge butt template (P-C 59380 is the grand-daddy of them all; $100-200 on CL, though slightly rare and not terribly fast to re-sell after you're done. Just know what should be in the box, as the missing knobs and doohickeys are nearly impossible to replace.)

  • I swear I won't assault your wallet by suggesting a boring jig, but the Classic Engineering 10800 boring jig is really nice.

Good luck on the project.

  • I second the motion to get yourself a power planer (if nothing else) for this job. I replaced 12 doors in my house, and used a power planer to make the doors fit in my out of square door frames of various sizes (old house). The planer allows you to take 1/4" tapering to 1/8" (for ex.) if need be.
    – Jax
    Aug 9 '16 at 0:36

Even hollow core doors have solid wood rails around the outside and can be trimmed a bit around the edges. 1/4" should be no problem, but if you're going much further than that take a look at the product specs.

  • The problem is that you're going to either remove the hinge mortises and need to redo them, or you're going to shorten the bolt bore, which can cause hardware problems, or both.
    – isherwood
    Aug 8 '16 at 20:13
  • You can pick up a hinge mortise kit to redo them if need be (if you end up eliminating the pre-cut mortises when trimming down the width.) It's really not that much of a chore, and, will probably be cheaper than having to custom order doors.
    – Jax
    Aug 18 '16 at 18:06

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