interior doorWhen you need to replace an interior door and you buy one at a home center, many people are surprised that they don’t fit the opening. The typically need to be trimmed by approximately ¼” along the height of the door. You will also need to mortise the hinges into edge of the door.

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When you trim the door, do so along the hinge side of the door and not the handle side. You don’t want to alter the setback of the latch, so that leaves the hinge side to work with. Use a table saw if you have one, or use a circular saw and clamp the door to your work surface. You can use a straightedge as a guide if you like, or you can cut it freehand after marking a cut line on the door.

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I like to add a piece of painter’s tape to where the blade will be cutting to eliminate tear-out along the cut. Use a good blade in the saw (the more teeth the saw has, the smoother the cut), and cut the door in one continuous motion. If you stop the saw, you may get a burn mark and the blade may bind. It’s also a little dangerous trying to start the blade in the middle of a cut (you should start the saw and let the blade get to full speed before cutting).

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With the door trimmed, you can mortise the hinges and install your door.

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