6 quick fixes for common door problems

A stubborn door can cause problems that range from annoying to dangerous.  These quick fixes to common door troubles will keep your home functional and secure.

6 quick fixes for common door problems

Diagnosing and solving the problem

Door problems can come from the door itself or from the hinges, latch or jambs. Since hinges are the easiest to fix and the most likely to develop quirks, check them first.

Here are several of common problems and ways to address them:

  1. Loose hinges. Hinge screws loosen because the hinge is under stress: the result of the door chronically rubbing against the hinge, the stop, the jamb, or the flooring. To fix this problem, locate the rub point and correct it by filing down or planing the door at that location. Check the fit frequently to prevent taking off too much wood.
  2. The door springs open. Check to see that the hinge is not set too deeply into the door or the jamb. The hinge should be flush with the surrounding wood, not indented into the jamb or door. Remove one or both of the hinges and shim them out using pieces of pasteboard.
  3. The door always rubs against the jamb. If the hinges are tight, close the door just up to the point where it begins to stick. Examine the sticking point, then slide a credit card or a piece of paper between the door's edges and the jamb to find where the rubbing occurs. Shim out the offending hinge, or scribe a line and sand or plane down the door's edge where it sticks.
  4. The door rubs against the jamb in humid weather. This is often caused by the flooring raising. Take the door off its hinges and plane the bottom of the door to let it swing freely.
  5. The latch doesn't work. If the door doesn't stay closed even though the latch's bolt moves in and out freely, the bolt probably isn't entering the hole in the strike plate. Closely examine the latch bolt as you close the door to see if the strike plate needs to be moved up or down, or if it needs to be shimmed outward. Either the strike plate or the stop on the latch jamb need to be moved so that the door will be tight against the stop when the latch's bolt engages it.
  6. The door won't stay partially open. If a door will not remain half open, but persists in opening or closing, use a level and check the hinge jamb to see if it is plumb (straight up and down) in both directions. If it is out of plumb, move one or both of the hinges. You can also purchase an adjustable, self-closing hinge, and adjust it so that the door acts as if its jambs were plumb.

These fixes will get your door working flawlessly so that you can come and go without any hassle.

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