How to Plane the Top of a Door

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So your door sticks or rubs at the top when you open or close it. The friction probably has already rubbed the finish off, leaving a scuff or worse on the doorjamb. If allowed to continue, it could even cause permanent damage to the door or the jamb. Either the settling of the home or a poorly installed door or doorjamb may have caused the problem. Whatever the cause, deal with it by shaving the top of the door to fit the jamb. Installers do it all the time to ensure a proper fitting door.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Drill/driver (optional)
  • Sawhorses
  • Clamps
  • Power planer
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Sealer or primer and paint
  • Shut the door until it sticks, or just far enough to allow a pencil between the doorstop and the door. Slide the pencil along the top of the doorjamb to transfer the line of the doorjamb to the door. If you only get a partial, angled line, that's OK.

  • Remove the door from the doorjamb by popping out the hinge pins with a hammer and nail set (or screwdriver) or, if necessary, unscrew the hinges from the jamb using a drill/driver. Place the door flat across two sawhorses with the penciled line up. Place clamps on both sawhorses to secure the door.

  • Adjust the blade on a handheld power planer to cut to a depth of 1/16-inch. Hold the planer with both hands, horizontally, parallel with the top of the door.

  • Pull the trigger, and ease the planer onto the top of the door, beginning where the line begins to taper and angle downward.

  • Push the planer horizontally along in one smooth motion when the base of the planer makes contact with the top of the door. As the planer nears the end of the door, continue adding more pressure to follow the line's slope.

  • Check the line. If you can still see the line, repeat Steps 4 and 5 until the top of the door is flush with the line.

  • Sand the top of the door by hand with 100-grit sandpaper. Round and smooth the edges. Apply sealer to the top of the door. Hang the door back on the jamb.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't locate a power planer or are uncomfortable using one, you can also use a block plane to trim the top of the door. It takes longer, but the results are the same.
  • Wear eye protection when working with wood. Planers can kick, so always keep two hands on them at all times.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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