Can you shorten a steel entrance door?

blindmanbruceSeptember 25, 2006

My old wooden front entrance door has seen better days... and I was thinking of replacing it with a newer steel door. The problem is that the doors in this house are a couple inches shorter than the standard doors you can buy, (unless I want to get one custom made).

I have cut down interior luan doors and installed them successfully. With luan you just make your cut and replace the top support piece by trimming off the veneer and gluing it back in place. I'm just not sure of the construction of a steel/metal door. I know I have the tools to cut it, I'm just not sure how to replace/repair the cut opening. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience for making such a modification?

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snoonyb

Cut the bottom, seal with a urethane caulking and attach a door bottom that is a "U" shape and sleeves the door.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 3:27AM
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bus_driver

A dealer in commercial doors or "hollow metal" can probably do this for you. A MIG welder would be an important tool for the job.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 4:18PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

We have doors that are custom cut down to size.

Our doors are tab and slot construction so it's easy to shorten it.

do you own the door? if not, simply order a cut down size.

Normal upcharge is around $85.

Michael

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 9:59PM
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blindmanbruce

I realize I can get this type of work done for me at an added expense. My question was, has anyone done this themselves, and if so, how do you do it?.

My past experience (with luan pre-hung doors) has been to shorten the door by cutting the door and jamb from the top, that way the lockset stays at the correct height. The jamb is repaired by using a router to make a new dado joint and the door top is repaired as listed in my original post entry. I was thinking of installing a pre-hung steel door, if no one knows how to do this then I'll probably go with a solid core wood entrance door. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to modify a wooden door, but personally, I really would like a steel door instead.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 12:51AM
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fqp25

I have done it with a "good" circular saw with a metal carbide blade. I use a worm drive saw. It is best to clamp a 2x4 to the door and use as a fence(or a guide). Set the blade depth to the width of the door and not much more, to reduce vibration on the blade.

Please wear safety glasses. It's hard to get through life when your winking all the time.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:03PM
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blindmanbruce

I have the tools that can cut through a steel door. I know how to cut through it. What I don't know, is how to repair the cut end of the door once I have cut it. I don't want to buy a steel door to experiment on, only to cut through it and find out that it's impossible to repair.
Can the part of the door that you cut off (ie. top or bottom) be reworked so that it fits back inside the cut end so that the void is sealed and the strength of the door remains intact (like I have done with a luan door)?

I have never cut off the end of a steel door and I,m not sure how the door is made. Is it a foam core wrapped in metal? Does it have wood bracing at the sides and ends? Is it welded, glued, nailed, or riveted? Does anyone know?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:11PM
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fqp25

What does your steel door have on the bottom? Is it a slip door bottom, or like a U-shaped channel? You can re-use it on the cut end.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:43PM
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blindmanbruce

Well, I have not purchased a door yet. I was going to buy a steel door if I knew I could modify it. That's why I was asking. If shortening the door was going to be a complicated procedure that only the manufacturer could do, then I would bypass steel and go to wood.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:52PM
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rjoh878646

My parents had a steel door shortened and put in.IIRC they salvaged the wood from the cut top and put it back into the door. All they did was disaasemble the frame and rabbet the edges and reassemble the frame. Cut the gasket to fit. I will take a closer look at it over the weekend.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:24PM
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fqp25

You have to have confidence in yourself, you can do it. You say you got the tools to do it, just double check with the sales person on the procedure they might recommend. Every steel door I have ever purchased was "trim-able".

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:05PM
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snoonyb

So, instead of a "steel entrance door", your speaking of a "steel clad" door, as opposed to a hollow metal door.

In part it depends upon the MFG., some come pre-preped, which usually are foam filled, wood frame.

So let me try again;"Cut the bottom, seal with a urethane caulking and attach a door bottom that is a "U" shape and sleeves the door."

Maybe that will work.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 6:28AM
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