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Ever find yourself caught between the desire for elegant, spacious interiors and the reality of a cramped space? Here’s a transformative solution: splitting a door in half to craft chic, functional double doors. This guide offers a detailed walk-through on cutting a solid core door, turning a traditional split interior door into a sleek set of skinny double doors. Far from just an aesthetic upgrade, this method of cutting a single door into double doors is a practical, space-saving answer to common interior challenges. Dive in to learn how making a door into double doors can add both style and efficiency to your home.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
My Why: Splitting a Door in Half
The reason for this home improvement hack was pretty straightforward. We decided to upgrade to a California king bed in our bedroom. However, this meant that our single door would hit the nightstands every time it was opened. To top it off, we have lath and plaster walls, which are far more labour-intensive to alter if we wanted to install antique double doors. Making a larger doorway seemed like too much of a hassle. That’s when the idea struck me: what about splitting a door in half? Cut the single door down the middle and create two skinny doors? Brilliant, right?
In a perfect world, I would have new doors made custom. Alternatively, I would find a cute pair of skinny antique double doors at a salvage store and make the doorway larger. Neither were very cost-effective solutions for me!
Something to Consider
When you split a single interior door in half to make two double doors, you will cut down the centre of the mullions – this means the width of the mullions will not match the stiles. You can hang the door exactly as it would have been as a single door – when the divided mullions meet, the spacing is correct. This will make knob placement/installation tricky.
Alternatively, you can do what I did, putting the mullions (where I cut) to the sides of the door frame. This means your old handle knob hole will now be in the centre, and you can reuse it for your new knobs. Another idea I love that would make this spacing less obvious is using a cremone bolt running from the top of the door frame to the floor.
This is a personal preference; like I said, in a perfect world, I would have new doors made with equal spacing.
The All-Important Choice: Cutting a Solid Core Door
Choosing the right interior single door to split is crucial. In our case, we decided to cut the solid-core door already in our bedroom. Solid core doors are sturdier than their hollow counterparts, providing better durability, soundproofing, and a more seamless look after you cut them.
Tools You’ll Need:
- Tape measure
- Straightedge or carpenter’s square
- Circular saw or table saw
- Primer and paint
Steps for Making a Door into Double Doors
Marking the Cutting Line
First, measure the width of your door and find the exact middle. Use a pencil and a straightedge to draw a line down the door’s length, ensuring it’s perfectly centred. Double-check your measurements to avoid ending up with one door slightly wider.
Also, look at the width of the stiles, mullions, and rails; on our old door, they were not even. I decided to find the middle of the centre mullion and cut it here.
The Big Cut
Putting on safety goggles and gloves before you make the initial cut is essential. With the door properly secured, use a circular saw or table saw to follow the line you’ve marked carefully. Steady hands are key here!
Smoothing Things Out
Once the door is successfully split, you’ll notice that the edges may be a bit rough. Take some sandpaper or an orbital sander and smooth out the sides.
Test the doors out in the doorway to ensure they fit well, and adjust if necessary.
Primer and Paint
The final step in making skinny double doors is to add a layer of primer, followed by your choice of paint. Voilà! Your split interior door is now two beautiful skinny doors!
The Final Touch: Adding Hinges and Hanging Your Skinny Double Doors
Ah, you’ve reached what could arguably be called the grand finale of this entire project—adding the hinges and hanging your newly minted skinny double doors back in their frame!
What You’ll Need:
- Screwdriver or drill
- Hinges (typically 2-3 per door)
- A helper (this is a two-person job)
- Utility Knife
Measuring and Marking for Hinges
First, you’ll need to determine where your hinges will go. If your original door had two hinges, you’ll likely want to install two on each of your new double doors. Use a tape measure and a pencil to mark these locations.
Carving Out Space for the Hinges
Hinges usually require a little inset in the door to sit flush. That’s where your chisel and hammer come into play. Carefully carve out the marked areas so the hinges can fit perfectly. You’ll do the same on the door frame. You can also buy a hinge template that works with your router – I wish I had known this when I started.
Screw the Hinges Into Place
Once the spaces for the hinges are ready, it’s time to screw them in. A drill can make this process quicker, but a screwdriver will do the job. Screw the hinges into the door first, then attach them to the frame.
Hanging the Doors
This is a two-person job, so grab a buddy! One person should hold the door steady while the other screws the hinges into the frame. Make sure the doors are level and swing open and close easily. You may need to adjust the screws or sand down the door edges for a perfect fit. I’m not going to lie; this can be a frustrating process. Sometimes, a little bit of cardboard behind the door frame hinge will help – or check out a YouTube video.
The Parliament Hinge Advantage: Perfect for Double Doors
If you want to add a touch of sophistication and functionality to your new skinny double doors, let me introduce you to the magic of Parliament Hinges. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill hinges; they’re designed with an extended throw that allows your doors to open more widely, often up to 180 degrees! This feature is particularly useful for double doors, as it creates an almost seamless flow between the spaces when the doors are open, giving you even more room to maneuver. In addition, their elegant design can add a touch of class to your already stylish setup.
I learned the hard way that Parliament Hinges are what I needed to use to have my skinny double doors open flat against the walls beside. Due to our old Victorian trim, regular hinges meant the doors would not open all the way!
Adding an Astragal
The final step you might want to consider is adding an astragal. This is a little piece of trim that hides the gap where the double doors meet. You might want this for privacy or blocking light. You can buy an astragal at the hardware store or create your own by purchasing trim to install on the edge of one of the doors. This means you must close one door before the other to ensure the trim overlaps the other door a little.
The finishing touch is installing your chosen doorknobs! I used some antique knobs from a yard sale, but it feels a little unbalanced with just 1, so I’ve ordered some from Etsy to put on the other side. Likely I will flip knobs so each side matches (if that makes sense?!).
Final Thoughts: The Complete Guide to Cutting a Single Door into Double Doors
And there you have it—the complete journey from a single, cumbersome door to sleek, functional double doors. By splitting a door in half, you not only address practical issues as we did with our California king bed, but you also have the opportunity to elevate the aesthetic of your space. Cutting a solid core door and adding the appropriate hinges can be done with a little effort and some basic tools, transforming a basic entryway into something far more convenient and stylish. Making a door into double doors is a win-win situation any way you look at it. Happy home improving!