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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    chicagoland
    Posts
    21

    Default Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Is it possible to cut down an insulated steel door?
    Part of a home improvement project involves installing an insulated door with adjustable treshold and weather stripping between attached garage and living quarters.
    This is an older home and the rough opening height is only 6-7.
    So, is it possible to cut down a standard inulated steel door (Home Depot version or similar) neatly? Has anyone done this, was it worth the trouble and was the end product acceptable? Adjusting the rough opening size is not possible and the client has expressed a preference for a steel door if possible.
    Any ideas would be very welcome . Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bergen County NJ
    Posts
    1,966

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    i have cut down many but you need to be able to keep the fire rating. usually it depends on the door. but most if you take an inch off the bottom you will cut out the door sweep. the ones i have dealt with are all preinstalled and i was there after the fact installing floors or such. so i haven't done a new door ever. just older ones that needed to stay in the house.

    i try to use fire foam inside the door before i plug it. usually i can sneak a few squirts all the way around the base and then slide the cut off sweep back into the door. then i sheet metal screw the sweep back in. that should be solid enough. i don't know if i would do that on a garage door due to Carbon Monoxide present in the garage. usually i am doing this on entry and exit doors less chance of fire/CO issues there.

    for garage doors i always install a new one b/c i put it to the HO that its a life and death issue. plus by the time i do all that work to the existing door its the same price. to have me install a new one(minus the door).

    don't think this is possible for you but can you sneak some space above the head? or make your own custom jambs so a standard door will fit. also maybe remove the some of the subfloor under the door frame... you could then install the adjustable thresehold the same height as the finished floor then.

    personally i would just custom order a door from your supplier. it may cost a little more but by they time they pay you to customize the door you might as well order the right door for the job.

    HD does allow you to order some of their doors that way.
    -Sal
    ___________________________
    BSA Renovations
    Bergen County NJ's Custom Carpentry and Renovation Service
    www.BSA-Reno.com

    Handyman - Flooring - Built-Ins & Custom Carpentry - Porch Renovation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clifton, NJ
    Posts
    2,385

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Order a door for a 6'7" RO. Cutting it not only means cutting the door but reworking the jamb. You also will void the manufacturer's warranty.
    SteveC
    The improbable takes time, the impossible takes a little longer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    southeastern South Dakota
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    And then when the next guy comes along a couple years from now trying to put in a storm door, He'll discover almost too late that the door is an inch too short to fit the storm door in. Followed by a long string of swear words, and some durable hand tools getting set on the ground rather harshly.
    Mark


    If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "If I had a dollar for every time....", I'd be a rich man.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Black Hills - Custer, South Dakota
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    . . . . sawzall time . . .

    You'll make more money too

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Lake Placid, NY
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Go to the ThermaTru website, and search for the technical manual downloads. Find the part that shows, step by step, with illustrations, how to do it.

    If your door is not a ThermaTru, the process is similar.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    chicagoland
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Thanks for the info. This is a solid masonry opening. The treshold sits on concrete. I'll check out the ThermaTrue site.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,184

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    For wood structures it should only be about an hour to remove the frame, strip the drywall on the header, move the header up the necessary amount. and reinstall the frame. You or your drywall guy should be able to fix and finish the drywall for about $100. Major advantage is that you can fix the whole thing in half a day and have a standard door.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Coast USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    I use a lot of cut down exterior doors :( .

    I wouldn't waste my time cutting the door, jamb, reblocking, attaching weatherstripping etc, when most shops charge $50-100 for this.

    FWIW, I think Fiberglass doors are much nicer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    4,410

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeachBoy View Post
    For wood structures it should only be about an hour to remove the frame, strip the drywall on the header, move the header up the necessary amount. and reinstall the frame. You or your drywall guy should be able to fix and finish the drywall for about $100. Major advantage is that you can fix the whole thing in half a day and have a standard door.
    And open a big can of worms!

    It's so easy to write how easy it is to move up a header, but I've found doing it tends to get messy and time consuming. I avoid it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeachBoy View Post
    For wood structures it should only be about an hour to remove the frame, strip the drywall on the header, move the header up the necessary amount. and reinstall the frame. You or your drywall guy should be able to fix and finish the drywall for about $100. Major advantage is that you can fix the whole thing in half a day and have a standard door.
    If I read this correctly the time went from 1 hour for him to do this, to, 2 guys half a day (8 man hours), all for $100.00.

    It would also be a real good idea to replace the jack/trimmer studs, seeing as they would be "the necessary amount" short.

    Tj
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clifton, NJ
    Posts
    2,385

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    I measure before I order a storm door, but then that's just me. ;)
    Quote Originally Posted by markhoni View Post
    And then when the next guy comes along a couple years from now trying to put in a storm door, He'll discover almost too late that the door is an inch too short to fit the storm door in. Followed by a long string of swear words, and some durable hand tools getting set on the ground rather harshly.
    SteveC
    The improbable takes time, the impossible takes a little longer.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Western Mass
    Posts
    1,666

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossman View Post
    Thanks for the info. This is a solid masonry opening. The treshold sits on concrete. I'll check out the ThermaTrue site.
    I don't know about chicago but around here they are a few firms that specialize in cutting masonry operings. They could open it up for a few hundered bucks

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Lou,

    Yes there are companies here that would cut it.

    From how he describes the opening, probably Chicago commons (brick) on the garage side, bearing wall is 4" CMU. Makes wall thickness 7 1/4".

    A mason could remove the first two courses of brick above the door, tooth out the lentil if there is one and reset it to carry the wall. Cut the CMU to the proper height.

    Most likely get billed for the whole day.

    Cross,

    Check the width that is probably off also. The size is common for an old lay-up wall.

    Tj
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,184

    Default Re: Cut down an insulated steel door.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
    If I read this correctly the time went from 1 hour for him to do this, to, 2 guys half a day (8 man hours), all for $100.00.

    It would also be a real good idea to replace the jack/trimmer studs, seeing as they would be "the necessary amount" short.

    Tj
    The $100 was for the drywall only, the 1 hour was for the framing work only, and the half day is from start to finish including drywall work.

    On a recent project we ended up moving a number of headers during the framing stage. I thought it would be a hassle but the framers did each one in about 10 minutes so we got in the habit of fixing anything that was off rather than cheating it. Still have one more to adjust under the stairs after the stair guy is done...

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