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How to Resize an Exterior Door

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva trims a front door that’s getting caught on a homeowner’s entry rug


  1. Take the door off the hinges.
  2. Mark the bottom of the door about ¼” and cut it with a track saw. Sand the edges of the door a little bit and ease the edges with a block plane.
  3. Prime the bottom of the door with some paint and a paintbrush to protect the raw wood.
  4. Rehang the door.
  5. Measure the gap between threshold and the door on both sides.
  6. Cut the red oak to size based on the measurements between the door and the threshold using a table saw. This will become a filler piece for the threshold.
  7. Grind off any finishes on the top of the threshold. Use a chisel to get the varnish out of the corners between the threshold and the jamb.
  8. Place the filler piece on top of the threshold and close the door to ensure it fits properly. Then, mark where the edge of the door lands on the filler piece and mark it with a pencil.
  9. Bevel the edges of the filler piece on the table saw.
  10. Stain the piece and let it dry.
  11. Secure the filler piece to the threshold with wood glue and brad nails.

To cut the bottom of the door, Tom uses a circular saw that rides on a track, known as a track saw, which can be purchased at the local home center. By using the track, it protects the finish of the door and speeds up the cutting process.

Tom uses a table saw to cut a bevel on the inside edge of the door threshold, it can be purchased at the local home center.