saggy saggy exterior door

civ_IV_fanJanuary 9, 2012

the door from our kitchen to the screened in porch beyond is, I think, original to our 100 year old house. the original glass was at some point replaced with tempered, so i imagine the door is quite heavy.

it sags quite badly. even closing it requires this shoulder shove up and to the right. to lock it, you have to hold it hard up and to the right with one hand while turning the lock with the other.

it is annoying. yet, after more than a year in this house, we are getting used to it. i feel like if i don't fix it now, i never will.

the problem is definitely that the door is sagging. my preliminary exploits revealed that a previous owner already attempted the "long screw" repair. that is, the screws in the top hinge are probably 6-8 inches long. they are huge. that was the only thing in my bag of tricks so now i don't know what to do.

sooooo...what would you do?

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When you lift up, what actually moves? It may take two people, one to lift the door and one to watch what's going on by the hinges.

Have you put a level on anything?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 10:29PM
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when i lift up, the door moves. if i hold the door up, it opens and closes and locks fairly easily.

if put a level on the top of the door, it shows and uphill slant towards the hinges.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:42AM
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If the door itself is not racking out of square from loose joints (a distinct possibility on a very old door) then you need to make sure the hinge screws (especially the upper screws) are not pulling out part way.

If the screws are already large and long you may need to remove the door jamb itself and put new blocking behind the hinges for the hinge screws to bite into.

If the door itself is racking it would need to be removed and the joints examined to figure out how to repair them.

Many screen doors end up with a diagonal wire brace (high on the hinge side to low on the latch side) to limit racking.
There is often not enough area for solid joints even if you use through tenons at the corners.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. For the moment we'll assume the door is a solid object. When you lift along the latch side, something has to move on the jamb side. There must be movement in one or more locations. Again, look carefully. Is there any movement:

1. Between the door and the hinge leaf screwed to it.
2. Between the two hinge leaves
3. Between the hinge leaf and jamb?
4. In the jamb itself?

The other option is, that if this is a frame and panel door, that the rails and stiles composing the door have loosed and the door, when it hangs freely is no longer a rectangle but rather a parallelogram.

Given that someone already tried longer screws, it might be that the old hinges of the door have worn to the point where the door sags.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:24PM
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"For the moment we'll assume the door is a solid object. "

Not always a good assumption, especially with something as lightly built as the typical wooden screen door.
Especially a very old one.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 2:19PM
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Somehow I missed your reply. I will provide a detailed answer when I get home and examine the door more closely. I believe the movement is between the two hinge leaves, but i will verify when i get home and perhaps even post a video.

Brickeyee: sorry if i wasn't clear - this is a solid wood exterior door, not a screen door.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 8:21AM
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