Although garage doors are made of solid material, they can be narrowed to fit any size opening because they’re not incredibly thick. Many hand, table, or circular saws are perfectly capable of doing so.
You can successfully cut down garage doors if they’re too wide, but only with the correct tools for the material you’re cutting. Door hardware will need to be reattached and you may need welding experience depending on the type of door. Cutting your door will affect the exterior pattern.
Garage doors can be cut down in width by one-inch increments to accommodate almost any opening. For example, you may have an 11 x 9 feet door, but your frame can only fit a 10″ 6 x 9 door. The modification is a relatively simple process but takes incredibly detailed measurements and patience.
How to Cut Down a Garage Door if its Too Wide
Cutting down a garage door is simple, but it’s only truly easy for professionals. It involves a ton of measuring, planning, and attention to detail. You want to make sure everything runs smoothly, or else your door becomes useless, and you’ll pay more for a replacement.
Does Material Matter When Cutting Garage Doors?
Fortunately, despite being a careful project, you can cut down any garage door material, from fiberglass to aluminum alloy. The process is relatively the same, but it requires different equipment.
Saws used for woodcutting are made of softer metal and coarser with fewer teeth, while metal saw blades have more teeth and finer blades made of steel alloy.
Saws you can use for wood include–
- Circular saw, compatible with different material blades, very light, and easy to use
- Reciprocating saw, versatile and lightweight
- Table saw, dangerous but efficient, requires training to use
And for metal doors, you can use–
- Hack saw, thin blades for easy metal cutting but may not be the most efficient option
- Circular saw, easy cutting for virtually all material types
- Jigsaw, compatible with metal-cutting blades, but not the typical option
- Table saw, dangerous but efficient
- Reciprocating saw, versatile and lightweight but perhaps not as effective
For fiberglass cutting, special precautions and tools are required. That’s why it’s recommended to leave to the professionals with commercial-grade equipment. Your eyes, lungs, skin, and hands are at risk of injury if exposed, so PPE includes–
- A long-sleeved shirt
- Protective goggles
- Thick gloves
- A thick mask that covers the nose and mouth
As for tools, the following are recommended for cutting fiberglass safely and efficiently.
- Chop saw with a diamond cutter blade
- Porta-band saw, frequently used in labor jobs
- Fine-toothed hand-held hacksaw
- Abrasive blade cutter, one of the most efficient tools, lightweight and portable
Cutting the Door
To get started, take precise measurements. You should triple-check the measurements to ensure total accuracy.
When you cut down the sides, the cuts need to be precisely the same distance from each edge. If only one side is cut, the windows, panels, and hinges won’t line up, so take that extra step to keep the door aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Make your measurements on both sides of the door to ensure accuracy, especially if it’s insulated.
Depending on how much you want to take off, the weight could mess up the door springs and break them, making the job much more complicated and time-consuming. If a lot of weight is taken off, the springs need to be adjusted accordingly, especially if there are two springs and not one.
An easy way to do this is to weigh the removed pieces and divide the total by the new door width to find the number of pounds per foot. Then you can call the local steel supplier and find out what flat bar, C-Channel, or angle iron sizes they have with the same pounds per foot. Order the best shape, cut it to length, and mount it across the back of the door. The door would remain at its original weight, the springs would work as intended, and the doors are now reinforced better.
Remember that saws rip a lot and peel over the metal, so use a grinder to get a clean cut line. In addition to a grinder, you’ll want to use the following equipment to make the job easy and safe.
- Safety goggles
- Ear plugs (if using a loud machine)
- Protective footwear
- Appropriate blades
- Sawdust exhaust system (I’ve used a leaf blower!)
- Cutting surface
As for safety tips, you always want to–
- Turn off and unplug powered equipment immediately after use
- Keep your face and body to one side of the cutting equipment when in use
- Keeps hands out of the cutting line
- Have a partner when possible
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly
After preparing and checking your measurements, make the cuts and grind the edges to ensure smoothness. Now you’re reading to reinstall the door.
Reinstalling Cut Garage Doors
To begin, replace the weather strap and screw the brackets over it. Once the brackets align with the door’s edges, you can secure them even more with lag screws.
Then, place the door directly in the center of the garage opening. Use a level to get it even. You can use a shim to adjust the level.
Next, screw in the hinges on the upper corners of the door and the middle center. Place rollers into every hinge and bracket.
Here comes a more complicated step–wrapping the track around the wheels. Start at the bottom and ensure the wheels are set into the indentation on the track. Once that’s done, screw the track to the door frame via the brackets on the track. This will keep friction at bay and extend the life of your door.
Install two more hinges in the upper center and corner for the next panel up, leaving the trackless side untouched. This will simplify the process, so do this for every panel.
To install the next panel, fit it on top of the bottom one and align the hinges. Premake a screw hole once it’s lined up perfectly, then screw in the hinge to connect the two panels, ensuring the roller isn’t fastened until the track fits the wheels.
Now you’ll screw the track to the door frame, leaving a little room between the track and the edge of the frame.
Take the horizontal track and connect it to the vertical track. Someone will have to help you lift and hold the track while you do so. Lift the curved part, slide screws in, and ratchet them into place.
Reattach the tracks to perforated angle irons onto the ceiling joists. Use a stud finder to locate them. Then, install supporting brackets to connect the track and the angle irons.
On the end of the upper tracks, install stop bolts to hold it in place with a ratchet, making sure to face the treads toward the center of the door.
At this time, you will install the other panels to the door, from bottom to top. Before you do the top panel, you need to connect and secure the top hinges and rollers to the curved track. Someone needs to hold the top panel in place while you do this.
The hinges on the top panel should be lower down on the panel, and the wheel should sit on the curved part of the track. Then you can secure the hinges.
It doesn’t seem very easy to install your modified garage door, but it’s pretty easy with some help and careful planning. Just take your time and have the proper safety equipment and instructions for using them.
Now you can cut down any material of garage doors. Just remember to check those measurements!