5 tips to silence noisy doors

July 28, 2015

Does your house sound like it's haunted with all the door rattling? Then here are five tips to stop all the squeaking, rattling and thudding.

5 tips to silence noisy doors

1. Adjusting the strike plate and doorstop

  • Remove the strike plate — the catch on the frame that the latch bolt goes into — and use pliers to slightly bend out its tongue-like flange so that it will hold the door more tightly against the doorstop.
  • If adjusting the strike plate doesn't stop the rattling, try moving the doorstop so that it fits more tightly against the door.
  • To do this, use a utility knife to free the stop from surrounding paint along both of its sides; then use a hammer with a wood block to tap the stop about three millimetres (1/8 inch) so it is closer to the door.
  • Close the door to test the fit (it should hit the stop and the latch at the same time), then use a few finish nails to secure the stop.

2. A door that swings shut

  • If a door swings shut and you don't want it to, its frame is likely out of plumb due to faulty installation or the natural settling of your house.
  • An easy way to correct the problem is to increase resistance at the hinges by removing the hinge pins and hitting them with a hammer to bend them slightly so that they fit more snugly into their hinge holes.

3. If a door is too hard to close

  • Do you have to give a door an extra shove to get it to close? Likely, the door is either warped or has bound hinges (meaning they're completely closed before the door is).
  • Rule out warping (which is best fixed by replacing the door) by closing the door and checking that it's hitting all the stops along the top and sides. If it is, then adjust the hinges by cutting strips of thin cardboard that are the same length as the hinges and half their width.
  • Unscrew the hinges from the jamb one at a time (put a supporting wedge under the door), and place a strip in each hinge mortise against the barrel side of the hinge.
  • Wooden doors can absorb moisture, which causes them to swell and stick. Keep moisture at bay by making sure that both the top and bottom edges of a door are painted or varnished to properly seal the end grain. Give paint strength and staying power with an undercoat of primer.

4. The door isn't latching

  • If a door won't latch properly because the strike plate is higher than the bolt, a little filing could do the trick.
  • Observe how the latch bolt hits the strike plate on the frame when the door closes. Look for wear marks left by the bolt. Carefully file the opening in the strike plate to enlarge the hole a bit at a time until the bolt fits in.
  • You can also use your file to slightly round the edges of the bolt itself.

5. The screw holes have become stripped

  • If some of a hinge's screw holes have become stripped there are two options in dealing with the problem.
  • You can replace the screws with ones that are the same size, but about 2.5 centimetres (one inch) longer so that they will penetrate into solid wood in the framing.
  • Also, you can remove the screws, and plug the holes with wood toothpicks that have been dipped in carpenter's glue.
  • When the glue has dried, shave away the protruding toothpick ends with a utility knife. Then drill new pilot holes, and drive the screws back into place through the hinge plate.
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