Adding thick carpeting? You need to do some door-trimming
Question: My old hardwood floors are badly worn, so I want to cover them with thick carpeting. Now I have to trim off the door bottoms for clearance. What are the proper steps to do this right?
Answer: Actually, the trend today is for people to remove wall-to-wall carpeting and install hardwood or simulated-hardwood laminate flooring. Unless your hardwood floors are badly scratched with deep gouges, you should be able to have them sanded and refinished. This is messy, but it is not difficult to do yourself.
However, if you have your mind set on carpeting for comfort and warmth, you’ll have to trim the door bottoms. It sounds like a simple job — just cut a half-inch off the bottom— but it is important to do this properly. A poorquality job not only looks bad, but the door bottom might splinter over time.
Carpenters have special tools such as straight-edge guides, zero-clearance throat plates, special saws, etc. to quickly and accurately trim the door bottom. You should be able to manage by using a thick 4-foot straight-edge or level, some clamps, and a standard circular saw. If you do not have a saw, easy-to-handle cordless circular saws are available.
Stick some masking tape along the bottom of the door. Get a sample of the carpet and pad from the carpeting store. Place it on the hardwood floor, next to the door. Mark the height of the carpet-and-pad combination on the tape on the door. Since you are installing wall-to-wall carpeting, plan to allow for one-quarter-inch of clearance for the door above the carpet. Remove the door from the hinges and place it flat on sawhorses or on a solid kitchen table. Measure up another quarter-inch from the marks on the tape, then draw a line across the entire door bottom. This will be your cut-line.
On each end, clamp the long straightedge to the door so that the edge is lined up perfectly with the cut-line you drew. Take a sharp utility knife and score the door surface along the cut-line. Run the blade across it several times; do the same across the end edge, where the saw blade will exit the door.
The purpose of scoring is to minimize the possibility of tearout. Tear-out refers to having small splinters run up the face surface of the door as the saw blade is cutting through it. Some woods are more prone to this than others.
Using a scrap of wood, make a gauge block. Its width should be exactly the distance from the inside edge of the saw blade to the edge of the saw’s base plate. Place the gauge-block edge along the cutline. Place the straight-edge or level against its other edge and clamp the straight-edge to the door. It is easier to run the saw along (and against the straightedge) than to try to follow the cut-line free-hand.
Set the blade depth so that it just cuts through the other side of the door. Once the cut is made, use a small block plane to smooth the door bottom. Wrapping some medium-grit sandpaper around a wood block also works well for smoothing the door bottom.
— courtesy of Creators.com