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How to Alter a Door

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Sometimes during renovations or even after laying thicker carpets it may be necessary to alter a door, either by adjusting the height or by turning it around to swing open from a different side. These are simple little tasks that shouldn’t take very long and are worthwhile, especially if it saves ruining a new carpet!

Changing the height:

You will need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Bench plane/ planer file
  • Wooden wedges
  • Hand saw
  • Trimming knife

Step One

Mark the position on your door where you wish to alter it prior to removing it from frame.

Remove the door by pushing the wood wedges under it before loosening all the screws.

If the door screws are covered in paint try placing the tip of the screwdriver into the screw slot and tapping with a hammer, this should loosen the paint making unscrewing easier. If the screw is still stuck, try using a little paint stripper.

Unscrew from the bottom up and then knock out the wedges. The door should come away easily.

Step Two

If you have to plane a little off the bottom, it is smart to use a plane or planer file and start from each end.

If you plane out from the middle it is likely to split the wood at the corners.

Plane down to your pencil lines, before rehanging the door.

Step Three

If there is more than a centimetre to be taken off, use a hand saw ensuring the door is well supported.

Score the marked line with a trimming knife and cut down to about halfway. Then flip the door around and cut from the opposite side. This prevents the wood splitting.

Neaten up the sawed end with a planer file and rehang. Screw in the top screw first, working down.

Changing Sides:

You will need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Planer file
  • Filling knife
  • Pencil
  • 2.5cm and 6mm beveled chisels
  • Wedges
  • Electric drill and bits
  • Mallet
  • Wood filler
  • Try square
  • Small paintbrush

Step One

Place the wedges under the door before removing it and the hinges from the frame.

Remove the handles and release the lock and catch, (they may be screwed into place).

Try the door for size in its new position. It may not be square to the frame, in this case plane down the edges to ensure a proper fit.

Step Two

Unscrew the striking plate from the frame and fill the holes. This is when the wood filler comes in handy.

Fill the hole leaving it slightly over the edges then plane it back when dry. Sand it smooth then paint the area. It should blend with the doorframe.

Remove the hinges from the door and start to chisel, working inwards in the old hinge recesses. This will be where the new hinges will fit.

Place the door in the frame and mark the hinge locations on the door and frame. On the frame, pencil out the area and the depth of the hinge.

Step Three

Using the chisel mark a row of cuts along the penciled line then another row inside the area, this time against the grain.

Shave out the waste wood and fit the hinge for size.

Screw the hinges onto the door and fill the gap behind them with wood filler. When dry shape the filler flush with the door and hang in the frame.

Step Four

Fit in the lock and insert the catch, facing it the opposite way. Sometimes the catch will be difficult to remove from the lock due to age, in this case it is easier to buy and fit an entirely new lock.

Close the door and turn the handle. The catch should have marked the frame. This is where the striking plate will be.

Hold the plate over this mark and pencil around it. Again chisel out this area and then use the 6mm chisel to scoop out a hole for the catch. Screw in the striking plate and then test the door.

Fill in any holes with the wood filler then repaint.

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