Handy Advice On Buying, Measuring, And Trimming Your New Entrance Door To Exsisting Door Frame

Buying a new door

When selecting a new door, you will need to make a careful note of the overall size of the opening into which it is to fit. As you will no doubt find, door openings are rarely square or perfectly upright. The new door will need to be trimmed to suit.

Doors come in standard sizes, so you will need to choose one which suits, making allowance for trimming. Most doors can be trimmed to fit.

Be sure to check the thickness of the door as this will also need to suit your frame. Some frames allow the door stoppers to be removed allowing a door of any thickness to be hung into the fame, then simply place new stoppers into the correct position when the new door is in the closed position.

Preparing the new door

You may find that some new doors come with the stiles untrimmed. These ‘horns’ as they are called should be cut off square. Lay the door on your workbench and use a carpenters square to mark the cut line. Hold the handle section against the edge of the door and line the blade up with the bottom/top of the door. Mark the line and trim with a reasonably fine-toothed saw. You should hold the saw so that it cuts cleanly along the line, but also pay attention to the angle of the blade in relation to the face of the door so that the bottom/top edge is also square.


Measure the width of the opening at the top and bottom but deduct 4mm, to allow 2mm clearance at both sides. . Transfer these measurements to the door. If the door is only a little wider than the opening, measure from one edge and mark the cut line. If, however it is a good deal larger, measure and mark the cutting lines so that an equal amount will be trimmed from both sides. This is essential when fitting paneled or framed doors to ensure they appear symmetrical.

Now, measure the height and transfer the measurements in a similar fashion, allowing 2mm for clearance at the top and 6mm clearance for the floor. The latter may well need to be more if the floor is carpeted or uneven. If in doubt, take off the minimum. It’s always possible to take off more, but a little difficult to add more on!

Most engineered veneer doors have an allowance of 10mm to be trimmed off both sides if needed, check your doors tech drawings and be sure that the lipping on the edge of your door is a minimum of 15mm before trimming to size.


Use a vice on your workbench to steady the door. Pack both sides with cardboard to prevent damage to the door. Trim to the marked lines using a sharp plane. The trick is to hold the plane firmly in contact with the surface, square with the edge, and run it along smoothly. Work your way gradually down to the trim line over the entire length. Avoid trimming a short section at a time as this will lead to an undulating surface.

When trimming the top and bottom, you must only work from the outer edge, in. If you plane towards the outer edge, the end of the stiles will split.

Where more than 6mm or so needs to be trimmed from the door, it makes sense to use a saw to cut the majority of the excess before finally planing down to the trim line.

Often a guide can be placed onto the saw for a straight cut, place the blade of the saw onto your marked line then be sure the base of the saw is sitting inline with the edge of your door, place the guide up to the edge of the door and tighten guide.You do not want the guide moving halfway through your cut so be sure the guide is secure on the saw.

Place the door up to the opening and check the fit. If necessary, mark any additional trimming and plane as before. To help with this process, use a couple of small cheese shaped wooden wedges to hold the door off the floor by the appropriate amount. At this stage, any minor adjustments can be made from one edge rather than both without noticeably upsetting the symmetry.

Be sure to allow for different surfaces under your door, for example you may hang your door to a new bathroom jamb which may need underlay fitted and then tiles laid so be sure to calculate the thickness of the underlay and tiles then add clearance and trim. same application for carpeted areas also. Always remember that you can trim it off but you can’t PUT IT BACK ON!!!