How To Trim Engineered Timber Doors

A Step By Step Guide

A question asked by many and easily misunderstood. How do I trim down my door? And that being said, By how much can I trim down my door?

Well look no further, because we have put together a step by step guide on how you can safely and easily trim down your door to a professional standard. At first thoughts it may seem like a simple “Cut and Go” job but without the right knowledge and guidelines it can easily go wrong.

Step 1 – Preparation

Recommended Tools:

  • Finetooth Blade Circular Saw, or Planer
  • Guide/Rule (Plywood)
  • Tape Measure
  • Clamps
  • Stanley Knife
  • Masking Tape

Not Recommended:

  • Rough-cut blades (Handsaw, Chainsaw.. etc)

Step 2 – Your Work Area & Our Guidelines

Prior to trimming your door we suggest having all the required tools to hand so that you can complete the job in one go without any worries. In addition to the tools, having a suitable surface to work on is a must, preferably something with enough surface area and strength to hold the size & weight of your door. Once you’re setup, you’re ready to go.

As with most, if not all engineered doors, there are limitations on how much you can trim from the veneers. The construction of an engineered door is manufactured in 4 parts; the core, the lippings, the front/back faces and the solid veneer. The lippings are the solid edges that border the bottom and both sides of the door, giving the particleboard core inside it protection. Usually this is around 12mm thick (Though some are thicker, so be sure to check), and with 12mm thick lippings, we recommended trimming a maximum of 8mm from each side. If any more than this is trimmed this will void the door’s warranty and risk ruining the veneer. (However there are ways around this, explained later.)

With all engineered doors we recommend the lippings are only trimmed until there is a minimum of 4mm left on all sides. (If you’re unsure, just ask us!)

Step 3 – Give Yourself A Guide

Assuring your door is secure and you have all the tools at hand, it’s time to make some guidelines. You’ve decided on how much you need to trim, keeping in mind the restrictions, you can take a tape measure and mark out your required thickness at either end. (Note: be sure to even out your thickness from both sides of the door)

With a straight edge or long rule link up the two markings to a perfect line, this will be your scoring line. Using a Stanley knife, score back down the line, making a fine indent into the lipping.

Why you may ask? Creating a scoring line ensures that your door doesn’t splinter when planed or cut.

Now that your guideline is ready you’re one step closer to trimming your door.

You should use a planer or circular saw with an edge guide attached, this will allow you to set your tool of choice to cut perfectly straight down the score. To be completely sure of this, a sheet of plywood can be clamped in place which the cutting guide will run smoothly along and remain in the same position as you trim/plane the door.

Quick tip: Using masking tape above the scored guideline will prevent any damage towards the door when using a Planer or Circular Saw.

Step 4 – Ready, Set, Trim

When you’re sure that everything is ready to go, you can make a start on trimming down your door. If you’ve decided on using a planer, set the provided guide in place against the plywood and begin. Starting at the left side, plane down the lipping to the centre of the door and then again from the right. Carrying out this technique will effectively reduce the risk of the veneer splintering. Slowly but surely you will have shaved the right amount from the lipping and your door will now be ready to finish or hang.

If you have decided to use a circular saw, though the process may be quicker, paying more attention to the cut is crucial. Splintering is a big factor when using the saw and is caused by the blade teeth exiting the timber as you cut. Making sure you have already created your score line in the veneer, will help to avoid this. Next, starting from whichever side feels most comfortable to yourself, begin to run the circular saw through the door, using the plywood guide to keep in a straight line. In one single motion you will reach the end of the cut.

Step 5 – Adding The Finishing Touches

After the cut, there are only a few things left to do before you’re done. Using a fine 140 grit sandpaper, sand along the newly cut side, rounding off any sharp edges and possible splinters.

Note: Pre-finished doors will need to be re-finished where applicable. Also note, we highly recommend that all doors must be pre-finished before hanging to protect them from bowing, warping and splitting when exposed to humidity and temperature changes throughout the year.

Need To Cut More?

If you’re looking to trim more than the recommended 8mm maximum from your door, there is the option to do so. However this is a much more technical job which will require the skills to successfully achieve the right cut. With a precise cut to remove the lipping from the door, you have the option to cut down the door as you please. Despite that being said this lipping must be re-attached to the door using a wood adhesive to ensure the protection of the door.

Have any further questions? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or chat to someone right now using our user friendly Live Chat service.

Alternatively take a look at our fantastic range of Internal Oak Doors, and bring a new look to your home, right now. To shop our exclusive collection of doors, check out our Liberty collection.

Hanging your doors yourself? Check out our guide here.

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