Trimming a Wide Door
Can we trim a 32-inch door down to 30 inches?
Our home was built in 1924 and has a lot of the original woodwork. We'd like to replace our back door, however, because all of the hardware is in poor condition. But we can't find a door that is exactly the same style and width. Can we buy a 32-inch-wide door and trim it down to fit the existing 30-inch-wide opening?
— Christina, Albany, NY
Norm Abram replies: You can, but I don't think it would look very good — an inch is a lot to take off the edge of each stile, the vertical piece of a typical frame-and panel door. They would be visibly narrower than the rest of the door stiles in the house, and make the whole door look odd.
If the existing door is in good condition, I think you'd be better off keeping it and replacing the hardware instead. You'll spend a lot less money even if you buy really nice hinges and a good lockset than you would by having a custom replacement door built from scratch.