Wooden Front door problems

gildomiloJuly 7, 2008

We're having some issues with our wooden front door. It really won't close without pushing firmly on the bottom and the middle. I've tightened all the hinge screws and still have the same problem. It looks as though the bottom of the door is separating along one of the seams in its construction. The door is four paneled solid raised door. Can I removed the door and re-glue the bottom joint or should we invest in a newer door? Can you still get wooden doors or 1920s quality?



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Take out a screw on the middle hinge and replace it with a 2 1/2" screw. Use a drill to drive it in and if theres any room it will pull the door over. This will be a quick fix if the door needs replacing.

yes you can get a variety of wooden doors, you just have to decide what you want. You could also have 1 custom made to match your existing door.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 1:51PM
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You didn't state your tool/skill level, but of course the door can be removed, planed, clued, sawed, painted, whatever needed. The idea of cinching up the middle hinge sounds interesting. I'd suggest that if you don't have a good high torque low rpm drill that's good for driving screws, just use/get a good fitting screw driver, cost a lot less, but you should be able to find other uses for such a drill/driver if you decide to buy one.

Mmike032, not I'm not following you around, I just came on this forum to put a post on asking about effervescence on a basement wall and decided to read a few "interesting" subject title, hit and commented on two to which you had contributed.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:47PM
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Should I replace the screws going into the frame, door, or both with 2.5" screws? My mechanical level with wood is fairly good. I'm a hobbiest woodworker and I build some mortise and tennon type furniture. I have yet to hang doors yet. Any recomendations on a good faq?


    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 4:12PM
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I think the idea is longer screws into the frame to be sure they really anchor the door to the stud, not just the frame. This could make the door swing with less sag, it seems to me, just a guess as I didn't come up with that fix...but reading I add my 2 cents and await further clarity from Mmike.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:27PM
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I am a finish carpenter. We have to adjust doors quite often. This is the easiest and quickest fix for a door that is scrubbing along the catch side. The idea is to drive a long screw through the hinge, jamb and into the framing. This pulls the jamb over if there is any room for it to move. You need a drill for this b/c it takes alot of torgue to drive the screw in. You will be able to tell if it moved any. There is the possibility of making the door hinge bound if the jamb is pulled to much, just back off the screw some if this happens and see how it shuts.

You can also take the door off the hinges and plane it down.If the door is damaged on the strike side I would recommend planing the hinge side. Just mark the hinges on face of door so you know where to put them in case you have to plane off more than the mortise ( which is unlikey)

If the door is damaged and you want to replace it:
Buy a new door that is the same size.(usually they will differ slightly and need to be trimmed) Put new door on saw horses and place old door on top of it. If there is a difference in size them mark what needs to be cut. Also mark your hinges to the new door making sure they are EXACTLY in the same place in reference to the old door.( this is very important)
Cut door to the outside of the line if it needs to be trimmed and then run a planer down it to make it smooth.
Put hinges on it and hang it.

If you were in the South GA area I could help you out if needed.

If your interested, check out my website.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:12AM
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SHould I use 2.5" deck/drywall type screws or is there a more durable type that can hold up to the torque?

Thanks for all the info,

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:46AM
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deck /drywall screws are fine as long as the head will catch the plate

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 3:08PM
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Tonight I put 2.5" screws in all the hinges. The door is still binding. It's binding on the bottom, hinge side, and strike plate side. All along the lower portion of the door. Should I put a shim behind the bottom hinge and then plane the strike plate side??

It did get a tiny bit better with the long screws but still requires a good hip against the center to secure the latch. Maybe the door is warped along the length?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:28PM
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Interesting that it is binding on both the hinge and strike plate sides, makes it sound like the door is too big for the opening for some reason. I would start by trying to get it back to the original situation and then go to The link below. It will take you to the this old house site and a video of tom silva fixing a sticky door. Maybe that will give you some ideas.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:01AM
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That link isnt gonna help you any, its for shimming the hinges out.

Take out all 2 1/2" screws except one in the middle hinge. Is the door scrubbing on the threshold also? Putting a shim behind the hinge is going to make it worse if I am understanding you correct.

So start over with just ONE screw in the middle hinge. IF that doesnt work then put a screw in the bottom hinge. This will pull the door down and back. Do not put a screw in the top, that will pull the bottom back out.

If its scrubbing on the threshold put a screw in the top to pull it up and over.

If none of this works then it needs to be planed. Mark were it is scrubbing and take the door down.
Run a power planer down it where it needs to be planed. This takes a little skill to keep from boogering it up.

Another option to mortise out the bottom hinge more than the others IF THERES ROOM B/T THE DOOR AND JAMB.

1 more option, you might try this first:
cut the caulk on the casing along the strike side of the jamb. Use a beater block (flat block) to gently knock the jamb over on the strike side so its no longer catching the door. If theres any room b/t the framing and the jamb it will mover over. you must cut the caulk/ paint line on the casing so its doesnt pull the caulk making it look shotty.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:26AM
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Is the finish on your door good quality? The reason I ask is that this is the time of the year for wood doors to expand/contract with humidity. If your door isn't well sealed with spar varnish, the problem may simply be the weather conditions.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:18PM
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"Is the finish on your door good quality? The reason I ask is that this is the time of the year for wood doors to expand/contract with humidity. If your door isn't well sealed with spar varnish, the problem may simply be the weather conditions."

Finishes, even spar varnish, only slow the movement of water vapor in and out of the wood.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 6:30PM
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I need to remove all the screws except for the middle one. I find it so strange that it's rubbing only on the bottom on both the threshold and strike side. Could it be that the hinges are worn out?

I haven't had much time to look at it and just started working with it again. Is there anything wrong with planing the bottom of the strike side?

It seems as though the door is becoming damaged from all the opening and closing. The bottom left seem is starting to separate a little bit.

Maybe it's time for a new door.
Any advice, wood, fiberglass or steel?

Here are some photos...




    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Just took out the tape. The door is 4mm wider at the bottom than the top. I would say all things considered that would cause the binding on both sides. I wonder if I plane the bottom half a little bit if I can get it to close correctly.

If so should I replace the tin weather stripping with foam?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:05PM
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Is there a gap of anything close to that 4 mm difference where the bottom rail (horizontal part) meets the stiles (vertical parts)? If so, that's the root cause of all this binding, and planing is just going to be a short term fix. (And a downward spiral, in that it'll get more loose; you'll plane more; ...)

You can choose between the easy and not-so-nice fix or hard and "proper"-restoration fix. The easy way is to put glue wherever it can go in the joint; clamp the heck out of it; blam a few screws through where you think the tenons are; then putty the screw holes. The hard way is to template the existing shape of the door; take it apart entirely; redo the pinning for the tenons; glue it; clamp it according to the template; hang it. Note, taking the door apart entirely has the risk of ruining the door. It's also not a one-day project, so you'll have a bit of a front-door problem.

If it was me, I'd probably go for the clamp+screw method.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:06PM
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