Door Problems – Some Quick Fixes

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  • Author John Hankinson
  • Published June 17, 2011
  • Word count 663

Whether new or old, doors around the house do on occasions, over time, develop niggling little problems. It’s surprising just how long we will put up with these small but extremely irritating conditions, before we take action. There are a variety of minor problems associated with doors, and here, we shall address the most common faults in a step by step manner. No special skills are needed, just a few basic tools and a little thought, care, and attention. But do take care; or you may need to add band-aids to the shopping list.

  1. Doors Sticking – Side-Edge.

This is one of the most common problems encountered with doors and is usually caused by a progressive build-up of paint. This problem is worsened during wet and damp weather when wood tends to expand. It may be that you can cure the problem by rubbing the edge down with an abrasive paper. Easy! Where this isn’t possible you might need to take the door off its hinges, remove any locks and bolts, stand the door on its edge, and plane the edge with a wood-plane.

Tip. If the sticking is not too severe, simply rubbing a candle down the edge of the door sometimes cures the problem.

  1. Doors Sticking – Top-Edge.

When the door is sticking on the top edge you might be able to plane it down without taking the door off. You’ll need to prop the door open (firmly) using some kind of door wedge. You’ll be working from a stepladder so make sure you have a firm footing. Remember that planes are sharp! But again, try sanding first.

  1. Doors Sticking – Bottom-Edge.

External wooden doors can be particularly prone to sticking along the bottom edge due to the absorption of rain and damp. In extreme cases the only answer is to remove the door, dry out the door edge, as best as possible; you will find this easier with a hot air gun. Once dry, mark a straight line along the bottom of the door and plane carefully to give a nice neat and straight finish.

Tip – Plane from one edge towards the centre only, reversing the door and planning from the other side, thus preventing splintering at the ends.

  1. Doors that Squeak!

This is an easy one! Lubricate the hinges with one of the several aerosol sprays available on the market. Simply spray and wipe off! Squeak eliminated. In the case of rising butt hinges; lift the door off, grease the vertical pins – wipe off the excess; and that should be it.

  1. Doors that won’t close.

Over time doors can sag whereby the latch will not engage! This can also happen when a door swells, both cases resulting in misalignment of the latch with the striking plate. If the misalignment is only slight, a medium metal file will often cure the problem-opening up the latch recess just enough to allow engagement of the sprung latch. Where the misalignment is a bit more severe, then you may have to remove the latch strike plate, and re-drill and fit in the new position.

  1. Doors that Slam.

The options here are limited to one! Install a surface mounted hydraulic door closer. They are inexpensive, and easy to fit. Really!

  1. Doors that Spring Open.

No, they do not have a mind of their own! It only seems like they do sometimes. Doors that are difficult to close or have a tendency to spring open are termed as Hinge-bound doors. This is as a result of having the hinge recesses too deep; not a development over time. But, it’s not a big problem. Simply loosen off the hinge screws and insert a piece of card (same size as the hinge plate) behind the hinge, and re-tighten the screws. This should pack-out the hinge eliminating the sprung tension.

Tip – When screws won’t tighten up fully; plug the hole with a match-stick, snapping off the excess. This often helps give a good fixing

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