Apr 01

How To Repair A Sticking Door

How To Repair A Sticking Door (courtesy of HomeRemodelWorkshop)

Hi! I’m Bob Schmidt, from Home Remodel Workshop. Do you have that door in your house that seems to be hitting up at the top? It’s rubbing the paint off, doesn’t want to open and close, and maybe the latch doesn’t work properly? I’ll show you some of the solutions for that! Let’s get to work!

Here, we have a door that doesn’t seem to be closing properly. The lead edge of the door hits this side of the jam, it’s rubbing the paint off, it’s beating up the backside of the door. A lot of times, when people see this, the first thing they want to do is run and get their power saw, and start cutting on the door, or sanding on the door. That’s generally not a good idea. There are usually some simple adjustments that will help you take care of this.

Whenever I come across a door like this,usually, I have a quick little check to asess the problem. If I see that the door is hitting on the lead edge at the top, the first thing I like to do is push over on the top hinge. If it feels like the door moves, and then the door opens and closes easily and the latch lines up, I’m pretty sure that my issue is here at this top hinge.

When I open up the door, and I look at the top hinge, the first thing I’ll do is, I’ll lift on the door. And if I see any movement in that hinge at all, I’ll know that I have a screw issue, where the screws have come loose. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking a screwdriver and tightening those down, and that will take care of your problem. Also, check the screws in the door to make sure they’re secure. Sometimes, just a little quarter turn will make all the difference in the world! If I try to tighten these screws down, and, after getting it screwed all the way in, the screw continues to spin, as if it’s not gripping anything, then it’s time to add a little bit of wood in that hole to tighten up that screw.

Now, some people get real picky about what you fill these holes in with to tighten these screws. I’m not one of them! I pretty much take whatever is available. I had this old piece of baseboard, that I saved to make a profile on a job – it’s made out of yellow pine. I simply take the baseboard – I hold it on the ground, take the tip of my hammer, and I’ll break off a few pieces, til I see something that I like! Sometimes, I’ll go ahead and I’ll take a knife and I’ll whittle it down a little bit. They don’t have to be real big…it doesn’t take much to fill in a screw hole.

Before I take any hinges loose, even though this is a 3-hinge door and it’s usually pretty stable when you take the top hinge loose, I still don’t want that extra pressure binding on that 2nd hinge. So, before I take the hinge loose, I usually support the lead side of the door with some shims or a block of wood or magazines, so that it doesn’t bind that 2nd hinge upon getting the extra weight on it. In this case, I had 2 of the screws that were spinning free. When I went to tighten them down, they continued to spin.

So, you take the little blocks of wood, little pieces of wood that you made (they don’t have to be cut to any length), you stick them into the hole, tapping them in, until they’re pretty snug. And then, go ahead, gently push up and down, break it off. Usually there’s enough left on there for the 2nd one. Tap it in there, down in to the drywall until it’s real nice and tight, break him off, and you’re ready to put that hinge back on!

I went ahead and put the screw back in that had tightened down – that was tight fine to begin with, and now I’m gonna go ahead and replace these 2 screws, into the new pieces of wood that we installed in the hole. I generally like to have a hand screwdriver to do this, because if you use a cordless drill or a mechanical drill bit, you can’t always feel how much you can torque it down at the end. You want to get it tight, but, like any other screw, you can over-tighten it, you can strip the threads if you start bouncing the screw tip on it. This is just generally a safer way to do it!

After you get the hinge screws in, you can feel that this hinge is much tighter than what it used to be. You can see that the margin across the door and down the left side of the door is correct, and, if you open and close the door, the latch now operates fine. Generally, that will take care of your problem.

A common cause of door problems, other than just age and sag, is people have a tendency to like to hang things over the top of their door. Shoe racks and mirrors and things like that. Generally, that’s not a good idea. It puts a lot of extra stress on a door. But other than that, usually a simple solution is the best. Don’t be in a big hurry to take a power saw or a belt sander or anything to this door, you could just complicate your problems.

Other than that, hope you found this tip useful, and good luck on your project! We have plenty more videos, back on our Home Remodel Workshop channel, and if you like them, remember to subscribe – thanks!

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