Operation Cut Door in Half

…and let the light in!

We have a tri-level house and on the bottom floor is our laundry room and half guest bathroom.  You have to go through the bathroom to get to the laundry room and the only window is in the laundry room, so I wanted to be able to keep that door open to let sunlight in to the bath and to our downstairs living room.  Because we have a cat and a dog and that is the room that the cat’s food is, we have to keep the door shut, or the dog will eat the cat food every time.  So I thought…hey, I could cut the door in half and keep the top half open.  So my dad, being a construction man, was over and I asked if it was possible and hinted at having him do it for me. :-) He then proceeded to tell me that I can do it myself.  I just have to “cut the door, sand/paint it up, add an extra hinge and hang.”   It’s THAT simple (according to him) :-).

So when I decided to give that downstairs bathroom a fresh look (I had some leftover gray paint), I thought, why not give it a shot!  I also plan to try my first stab a tiling in this room, but that will have to wait a little while.  Anyway, I figured up my plans and started to execute.  Winter was probably not the best time for this project as it was quite cold some days working in the garage and outside, but oh well, makes you stronger right?  (and your fingers go numb).

I decided that I wanted a little shelf on the bottom half, mostly I needed something to cover up the hollow part of the door, but thought this would look nice and sometimes I can set some plants there that need extra sunlight for a day.  If you have a solid door, you don’t need to do this at all, just sand it down and stain/paint it to match the rest of the door.  A solid door would be much easier to cut in half, but I wasn’t going to buy a new door, so I had to work with what I had.

The photos below give some step by steps of the process.  I’m also more than happy to answer any questions you might have along the way.  I did have one Oops, where I made the shelf too long for the door to open and close (um, yea that’s a problem), but I quickly fixed it.  It was a little tricky making the ridges for the new hinge, and getting the door to line up just right (you can’t be off at all or the door won’t open/close).  It took a few trial and errors til I got it right.  A few ‘door on, crap, door off, chisel, cut, chisel, door on, door off’ moments, but in the end, with my sanity still in tact, I have the half door I always dreamed of!  :-)  If my dad was here to see it, he would be very proud of me (and of course laugh at my mistakes).  So with that…this one’s for you Dad!!

Supplies: (although you can use different tools than I did, there are multiple ways to do some of the things I did – especially if your door is solid)

  • Door (this is a MUST HAVE)  😉
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Wood pieces to cover hollow parts once cut
  • One extra hinge (4 total)
  • Dremel/Chisel or whatever works for you
  • Rulers/Pencils/Paint or Stain
  • One small handle like you would put on a vanity, for the top half (optional)
  • Saw Horse/Clamps to hold the door in place while cutting
  • Sandpaper (power sander if possible)
  • Wood Glue
  • Screws (to hold the wood cover pieces in place – I used 5 total)
  • Patience (this is helpful, but we don’t all have it.  If you find a store that carries it, let me know I’d like to buy some for my 2.5 year old!)

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