Cutting a Metal Exterior Door

A blue exterior door leading onto a concrete patio.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-250
What You'll Need
Clean surface or drop cloths
Table Saw or circular saw
Work gloves
Safety goggles
Metal grit paper
Weather stripping
Door shoe

Your reasons for cutting a metal exterior door can be the result of many different things. One common one arises when you have installed new flooring in a home and suddenly the door is too long and scrapes across the floor as it moves. But regardless of why you need to do this, you might need a clear guide to help you get a door to the size you need. Don’t worry—we’re here for you.

Step 1 - Remove the Door from the Frame

Start by preparing a clean, stable surface to lay your door on so you can get to work. For extra protection, you can also spread a drop cloth over the table before you lay the door down. Once you’re set up properly, go ahead and pull out the hinges and pop the door off the frame. Don' be afraid to ask a friend to help you move it.

Step 2 - Brace Door with Plywood

Clamping two pieces of plywood to either side of the door before cutting will help to keep the door itself from being ripped apart.

Step 3 - Cut it to Size

You can cut the top of the door to make it shorter, but then you will have to reposition the hinges to move the door up on the jamb. So, generally, the best way to cut the door to fit your space is to work with the bottom first. Using a table saw with a fine blade is one method of getting your outside metal door cut to size. If you do not have a table saw handy, you can also use a circular saw, but if you do, you may need to enlist the help of a friend to maneuver it and hold it steady.

Step 4 - File the Metal

Once your door has been cut, you will need to smooth the bottom of the metal door with a file. After the metal is cut, it may be sharp, so use work gloves and be careful. Also make sure to wear protective goggles as metal splinters might be able to get in your eyes when filing. After you have filed the door, run a metal grit paper over it to further smooth the surface.

Step 5 - Reattach Weather Stripping

Assuming you have cut the bottom of the door, you will have removed the weather stripping. Purchase a new piece of weather stripping at your local home improvement center, and attach it to the newly cut bottom of the door. Most weather stripping has a sticky surface that easily adheres to the bottom of a metal door. If you want to get a little more involved, you can purchase a door shoe rather than weather stripping. The shoe fits on the bottom and will help to keep the door ridged and insulated.

Step 6 - Reattach the Door

Finally, you can put your door back into place. Reattach the hinges and secure it completely with tight screws. Test the door out to make sure it slides perfectly over your floor now.

Step 7 - Clean Up

Clean up your space and remove any leftover scraps of metal, discarding them in your trash bin.