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How To Trim An Exterior Door?

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When you trim an exterior door, you simultaneously hide the area where the siding edges meet the door frame, while adding attractive color detail to your home’s exterior.

There are two different trim styles:

Conventional: This door trim forms a perfect border around the door frame and uses 45° angles where the edges of the trim pieces meet in the corners.

Overhang: This second style uses an overhanging top trim piece above the door.

For a DIY door trimming project you will want to have:

  • Pencil
  • Combination square
  • Tape measure
  • 1×4 trim lumber (usually cedar or redwood unless you choose to use a synthetic material or metal)
  • Safety goggles
  • Level
  • Chop Saw (always wear safety goggles when using a chop saw)
  • Hammer
  • 2-inch finishing nails

11 Steps to Trim an Exterior Door

To trim exterior doors with an angle:

Step 1: Mark and Measure
Take the vertical measurement from the floor of the door jamb to the mid-edge of the top horizontal door jamb. Mark this length on two pieces of 1×4 door trim.

To make the 45° angle, you will use the 45° angle on the combination square. For your left piece of trip, the line should angle up from right to left.

For the right piece, the line should angle up from left to right.

Step 2: Cut the First Angle
Set the angle to 45°on your chop saw. Hold the first trim piece securely against the saw fence with your angle line facing up.

Align the blade so that is just to the outside of your angle line. Make the cut.

Step 3: Repeat
Repeat the above actions but make sure to rotate the saw blade so it cuts in the opposite direction.

Step 4: Place the Trim
Place the trim pieces so that their inside edges cover half of the edges of the door jamb.

Use the level to ensure they are straight and then pound 2 finishing nails half way in to hold them in place. Use the level again to ensure the top edges are level.

Step 5: Top Trim
Measure the distance between the outside edges of the trim and mark this distance on the remaining trim material.

Create corresponding 45° angles and cut them like you did above – saw blade angled one way first and then the other.

Step 6: Set the Top Trim
Set the top trim in place and adjust the side pieces until they are in place. Use pairs of finishing nails about 12-16 inches apart.

One should be in the siding and the other in the trim. Also nail the corners.

To trim an exterior door with an overhang:

Step 7: Measure and Mark
See Step 1 above.

Step 8: Create the top edge
Use the combination square to make a horizontal line on the trim pieces.

Step 9: Make the Cut
Set the chop saw blade angle to 90° and cut the trim. Set them in place (See step 4 above).

Step 10: Top Piece
Measure the distance from the exterior edges of the trim and then measure and cut a piece from the trim material that is 4-6 inches wider.

Step 11: Set the Top Trim
Make sure the piece overhangs both vertical trim pieces evenly and nail in place using pairs of finishing nails 12-16-inches apart, one in the siding and one in the trim.

After you trim an exterior door, you will need to caulk it with a paintable caulk to seal all gaps. If your wood trim is knotty, you may want to use a primer before you paint it.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Call us at 1.877.579.1994 or click here to price your project. Come and see us for a Dan Good Deal at 199 Victoria Street South, Kitchener, ON N2G 2C1.