How To Adjust A Door For Floor Coverings – Trimming Doors


If you fit a new floor covering, it’s often necessary to remove the door. And if the new floor covering is thicker than the old one you will probably have to adjust the height of the door too.

How To Adjust A Door For Floor CoveringsWhen doing this, the most important part of the operation is measuring accurately the amount to be removed. If you remove too little, the door will stick slightly, eventually damaging the carpet. Cutting too much off means unnecessary draughts and bad fire proofing.

The measuring is best done after the old floor covering has been removed, before the new one is laid and while the door is still in position.

1. To find the amount that needs to be removed, slide a piece of the new carpet and underlay against the bottom of the door and run it along the full width to mark its thickness right the way across. Do this on both sides of the door.

2.You must now remove the door. Start by placing wedges underneath it to take the weight off the hinges.

3. Next loosen the screws holding the hinges to the frame.

If the slots of the screws TIP are covered in paint, or the screws are difficult to turn, place the tip of an old screwdriver in the slot. Give it a sharp tap with a hammer to jar the screw, remove the paint and break the grip of the thread. Repeat until the screw can be turned in the normal way.

Once the screws are loose, undo all but one from each of the hinges.

Then undo the remaining screw in the bottom hinge, followed by the final screw in the top hinge.

The wedges will support the weight of the door in its original position, but just kick them gently to one side to release the door. Remember, even the lightest door can be relatively heavy, so get someone to help you at this stage.

4. If only a small amount needs to be removed, you can do this using a plane. Make sure the door is firmly supported, then plane from each corner into the centre of the door. Never plane from the centre outwards, as this can result in the timber splitting at the corners.

For a large amount, use a saw.

If the floor is uneven, measure the door at the highest point, otherwise you may have trouble opening it fully Start by running a trimming knife down the lines marking how much must be cut off.

Saw half way down the door just outside this line, then turn the door over and repeat for the other half. Finish off with a plane or planer file.

Once the new carpet has been laid, you can screw the door hack in position and check it for easy opening and closing.

An alternative to shortening the door is to fit rising butt hinges. These allow the door to lift as it opens, and have the added benefit of letting it be removed without taking off the hinges.

Rising butt hinges are handed to suit left or right hand opening doors. To check which you have, stand so that door opens towards you. The side with the hinges is the ‘hand’ of the door — so if they are on the left you need a left hand hinge.

If you decide to fit rising butts then before you remove the door check that the hinge rebates on the door and frame align. If not, draw a line 3mm beneath the lowest rebate across both the door and the frame. This acts as a reference point when you come to fit the new hinges.

When you have removed the door and unscrewed the hinges, check to see whether the rising butts will fit the existing rebates.

If they won’t, use the lowest edge of the rebate or your refer ence line to align the hinges.

Then measure off and mark how far to extend the rebate.

If the rebates are too shallow for the new hinges. They can easily be cut deeper using a chisel and mallet. If they are too deep, they can be packed with a thin piece of wood or card.

If the existing screw holes don’t line up. Drill them out with a large diameter drill. Then plug them with adhesivecoated pieces of dowel to match the drill size.

Once you are happy with the position of the hinges, screw each part in position on the door and the frame.

The last step is to shave the top of the door at an angle, allowing it to clear the frame as it rises. Getting an exact fit is best done by trial and error. This isn’t difficult — especially as you can simply lift the door off its hinges to remove it.

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