how to make a dutch door from interior door

dutch style door for a home with a city in the background
Tools Needed
1 Pencil
2 Measuring Tape
3 Chisel
4 Hinges
5 Wooden Door Slab
6 Circular Saw
7 Woodworking Clamps
8 Hammer
9 Router
10 Semi-Gloss Quart of Latex Paint
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Materials Needed
1 Wood Glue
2 Orbital Sander
3 Drill
4 Nails
5 Nail Gun
6 Screws
7 Screwdriver
8 6’ Long Pine Plank (1”x6”)
9 Paint Roller
10 Paintbrush
11 Paint Pan
12 Drop Cloth
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Total Cost
$50-$200
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Estimated Time
5-9 Hours
Skill Level: Expert
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

Dutch door with the top portion open revealing a urban setting in the background

Dutch doors are also known as half-doors. They are split horizontally in half so that the bottom part can stay shut and the top part open. Many people like this type of door so they can let light into a room and be able to see into the room while their children are playing. This is a perfect idea for a child’s room.

Whether they are sleeping or playing, you can keep your eye on them while going past the room. These kinds of doors are also great for allowing air to flow through the room well. This project is quite simple and only takes about a day for cutting and putting everything together. If you want to add this awesome home improvement project to your schedule, read below on how to finish it well.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1

Planning the Project

blueprint with sketches on it

The first thing you will need to do is plan the project. This is not one of those home improvement projects you can just jump into without thinking about first. You need to make sure you have the proper materials and everything set up before starting. You need to make sure you know where you will be cutting the door, adding the hinges and putting the knob. If you don’t want to use the door already on the room, you will need to get another. Think about the process and what you are going to need. Decide on what type of door, style and design you will be using before you get going with the project.

2

Placing and Marking Your Door

Person Using A Power Screw Driver To Install A Door Hinge With Screws

Now that you have planned your project, you will need to place and mark the door. A hollow-core door is a great choice when making a Dutch door. These doors are generally inexpensive and easy to find. It is also easy to live so you can do this project on your own if you would like. You will lift the door into the frame before you take off your existing door. This is done for comparison of both doors so you know where your hinges and knobs are at. If the placement of these are a bit different, you may need to make some more adjustments.

3

Removing Your Current Door

person holding a door slab

Now, you need to remove your current door. You will take off the pins that hold the hinge in place. This is where you may need to use the hammer to push the pins out. When you get these completely off, you can take your door off its frame. Take care as not to put any scratches or dents into the walls. If you want to use the current door for the Dutch door that may be possible as well. In that case, you won’t need to buy another one. However, if you are replacing it, you should store the current door so you can use it later. You can sell it as well.

4

Adding on Your Fourth Hinge

mahogany dutch door with the top window area open

When you are cutting the door in half, you will need to have four hinges. You will need two of them for the bottom portion of the door and two for the door’s top portion. On a normal door, the middle hinge is about half-way along the door. Usually, that hinge is above the knob on the door. You will want to cut the new door below that hinge spot but above the door knob. Mark the cut line in pencil. You should put the door temporarily into its frame so you can determine exactly where to place the hinges. Marking those spots with masking tape generally works well. After you have done that, you can take the door and saw it where the cut line is.

If you aren’t quite sure how to make a clean-cut practice on some other wood before doing the door. On some doors, you may even need to cut a space for the hinge and the easiest way to do that is with a Dremel tool. You can also use a hammer and chisel if needed. Once you have the space for the hinge, you can attach the hinge and screw it in. Now your door should fit its frame well with the four hinges.

5

Cutting Your Door

circular table saw cutting wood

It was noted above that you can cut your door into halves along with adding the fourth hinge. However, there are some more tips for doing this step. It is best to support your door with two of the 2x4 sized boards and some saw-horses. You want to make sure the door is cut exactly in half so use your measuring tape to determine the size from top to middle and bottom to middle. You should put on a framing square to make sure your cut will be straight. Keep in mind, if using a hollow-core door, it is pretty much made of air inside. It can’t split easily so put masking tape over the cut line so the line will be straight through when it slices with the saw’s blade.

Here is the time when you get to frame your cut. You may not have much structure to your cut if you have used the hollow-core door. Don’t worry though. You can put a board in between both of the halves to make a frame. Add some wood glue onto the top and bottom halves along the cut and put in your frame piece. You can then nail it in and let that dry.

6

Adding Your Trim

beautiful dutch style brown door with white trim installed on a home

Now, you can finally install both parts of your door. Everything should be lined up just right. After you have done this, install the knob on the door. You can turn it around so the lock is on the outside. That way the kids can’t lock you out but you can leave the top halve open and lock it so they can’t get out. This works well when they are sleeping. Once you have this done, you should test it to make sure everything closes and opens well. If everything seems right, you can add some trim.

You may want to put some trim on the top portion of the door (this will go on the back). It should hang off on the bottom a bit so it does overlap that half a little. This prevents the top portion from going past the bottom portion when opened. You may still want to leave some room to create a latch that can connect the top and bottom halves. That way it can still open and close as one piece if you wish.

7

Placing Magnetic Type Stop for the Door

top of a dutch style door hitting the wall because there is no door stop installed yet

While the bottom portion of the door may already have a stop, you may want one for the top portion of the door. If you want the top part to stay open but still close easily, the magnetic type door stop works well. You will place a magnet piece on the wall and one on the top portion of the door. Make sure these are lined up so when the top of the door opens it will catch and stay in place. If you just pull gently, the door should release easily.

8

Placing Putty, Sanding and Painting

paint roller

Now that you have made sure the door opens and closes well, it is time to finish up the project. You may need some putty if there are any dings in the door. You should use wood putty. It is done by simply filling in the dinged spots with the putty. You can use a putty knife to smooth it down. When it has been fully dried, you can then sand those spots over. There may be some other rough portions that need sanded as well. Now that your sanding is done, you can paint the door and the trim if you would like. Be sure you put primer on before you paint so it stays on and paints over well.

Conclusion

After the paint has finished drying, you get to use your new Dutch door. Whether you are using it as an office and you want to see your children playing, a child’s room or to keep pets contained into a room, this is a wonderful home improvement project.

Completing a Dutch door project can take a little bit more time than some other home improvement projects. However, most believe it is a great addition to any home. It allows for easy access into seeing children playing, keeping animals locked in but still keeping an eye on them, using a home office where your children can still see you and you can still see them and more. The possibilities are endless. Start your Dutch door project today!

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