We purchased a house in 2011. When we moved in, the front door wouldn't open all the way; it drug the floor at about 70 degrees from full open. Enough to squeeze by it, and you could force it all the way open, but it was rubbing the floor pretty good. I figured this was an easy fix and didn't pay too much attention to it. A few weeks after living there, I realized that the reason the door was dragging was because the door was not plumb. The top of the jamb was leaning into the house, so as you opened the door, the knob side of the door swung downward as well. I devoted some time to remedy that situation and quickly realized my next hurdle.
Now that the door was plumb and would swing all the way open, I also realized that the bottom seal/weatherstripping was missing from the door. The "new" hardwood floors (installed prior to purchase) were great, but the person that installed them failed to realize that the thickness of the flooring would impede the ability of the entry door to seal properly. Low and behold, the reason is because the threshold is lower than the floor height. So for two very cold winters we have had a large gap under our front door. We plug it with draft stoppers, towels, etc., but it still lets in a ton of cold air. I decided that this winter would be different so I started researching my options.
In most cases, it's easier to raise the header and keep a standard door size, but the soffits on the front of my house are directly above the door frame, so I have ZERO room to go upward. I need a door that is approx. 1 1/2" shorter than the standard height and I can build up my rough opening from the bottom. I priced doors from everywhere in town, and they are all special order ranging from $450-$700 for a basic, 6 panel, steel clad door. Keep in mind that a basic, 6 panel, steel clad door can be purchased at any home improvement store for just over $100. So, we're looking at $300+ to cut 1 1/2" inches off??? No thanks. After researching off and on for a while, I decided to tackle the project. Follow along if you're still interested.
You'll need a variety of tools to complete this task exactly as I did it. Some tools may be substituted for others, this is just what I used. Note: you will NOT need a torch to complete this task. :)
After some research, I purchased my door from Menards for two reasons. The first is because they regularly go on sale for $119. Second because I think it is a better built door. The doors are made by Midwest Manufacturing, who has a door comparison here. I assume competitor H and competitor L refer to Home Depot and Lowes, but that's only an assumption. I do have experience with the Reliabilt brand door from Lowes, and my opinion is that this Menards/Midwest MFG door feels like a better built, heavier duty door.