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Common Door Problems and How To Fix Them

If you had your internal doors installed a while ago, or if you live in an older house, the chances of you coming across some minor problems with your doors are quite likely. The most common door problems that you may encounter are doors sticking, doors swinging open or an irritating squeaking door. The good news is that, while these small problems might be a bit of an inconvenience, most of them are quickly and easily fixed and can usually be done yourself. 

open door

Photo by Mahdi Moasheri on Unsplash

How Do I Fix A Squeaking Door?

If you have an irritating squeaky door it can be simply fixed by even a beginner at DIY.

Use a nail to place under the hinge pins (make sure the door is closed!), and tap on the bottom. This will knock the pins out partially.

Using oil of any kind, even vegetable oil will do, lubricate the raised pin.

To test if the oil has worked, open and close the door a few times – repeat on all hinges until the squeak has stopped. 

The Door Swings and Won’t Stay Open

If you have a door that swings closed when it’s been left open or that swings open if you’ve pulled it ajar, then the chances are your door jamb is out of plumb. That means the door jamb that the hinges are fastened to is slightly wonky, it’s this not being vertical which is causing the hinges to lean slightly one way or the other which means the door will swing. 

If you have found that the door has always swung, then the jamb could have been installed slightly off vertical in the first place. If the problem has developed in the past few years or months, it can be caused by the settling of the wall or floor, sometimes the entire will be off jamb if it has settled.

If you’re having problems with your door swinging, the easier way to check if the door jamb is at fault, you should test it with a weight hung at the end of a length of string (a plumb line).

Follow these simple steps to test this: 

  1. Making sure the door is closed, hold the plumb line against the upper hinge
  2. Make sure the string is not quite touching either of the hinges, the weight should be a few inches off the floor so it can hang freely.
  3. If the hinges are directly above each other or if the jamb of the door isn’t vertical, you will be able to tell.

If the hinges aren’t exactly above one another, you will be able to fix your door swinging by realigning the door hinges.

There are also specific ways to fix the way in which the door swings if the door swings closed when it’s left open then you can correct the problem by moving either the top hinge leaf closer to the door stop molding or by moving the bottom hinge further away from the door stop molding.

When a door swings open by itself you fix the problem by doing the opposite and moving the hinges closer together.

Moving the hinges means you will have to unscrew the hinges as they are and drill new holes for the hinges. You need to make sure that you fill the old holes - you can use glue or a toothpick to get these holes filled. 

This video offers a visual guide on how to fix your swinging doors:

The Door Hits The Wall

The simplest solution to this is to install a door stop.

The most common type of door stop is one that can be attached to the skirting board that has a solid or flexible stop and a rubber cap that comes into contact with the door. 

How Do I Stop My Door Rattling When It’s Closed?

There is an easy fix for this problem, all you need to do is slightly adjust the latch plate that the door latch sits against.

The tab that sticks into the latch plates hole can be adjusted by using the top of a screwdriver to bend it slightly towards the stop.

It’s as simple as that – you can test it by closing the door and seeing if it rattles.

If that doesn’t work, you could try one of these three ways to get your door to stop rattling.

How Do I Fix A Door That Sticks?

If you have a door that sticks, the first step to solving the problem is to determine where the door sticks. Take a step back from the door and you’ll probably notice a place in the frame where the door frame is either too close or too far apart from the door.

How you fix the problem will depend on what you find when surveying your door:

Sticking/No Gap on the Top Edge

This happens due to settling and changes in the door frame itself. The easiest way to fix this, rather than adjusting the door frame is to trim the door. You’ll need to mark the spot where the door sticks on the jamb, remove the door and using a block plane trim the door.

Sticking/No Gap on the Latch-Side Edge

This might be caused by loose screws in the top hinge plate. You’ll need to tighten them if they are loose, as that will be causing the door to hang lower than it should be. If you can’t tighten the screws, then replace the screws with new ones. Make sure they are larger to make up for the holes that have become warped over time.

Sticking/No Gap on the Bottom Edge

This happens when the lower jamb of the door pulls loose. You’ll need to remove the jamb and screw it on again, this will make it tighter and the door will hang higher, taking away the sticking problem.

My Door Doesn’t Latch Properly

Another common problem you may have your door is that the latch may not stay shut when you latch it. This makes closing or keeping the door shut hard work, which isn’t great news if you have little ones or pets to keep inside.

Fixing it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge and there are two ways of going about fixing it.

You can replace the latch set, which is an easy job. You’ll only need a screwdriver, a spare half an hour and a new latch plate set which you can pick up in any large DIY shop.

The second option is to enlarge the hole in the strike plate. This usually occurs when a door has settled over time and is far easier to fix using this method than replacing the door jamb. Use a small mill file to file away at the strike plate until it becomes large enough to accommodate the latch.

My Door Sticks or Drags on the Carpet

If you've just fitted a new carpet it might be thicker than your previous flooring. This can make the door stick or drag, making it hard to open. there are two solutions:

1. Trim the door slightly to account for the deeper carpet tread

2. Install a rising door hinge. Find out all about them in our guide: Rising door hinges, what, why & how? 

Hopefully, that solves some of the problems you may be having with your doors. If we haven’t covered a problem, you can find a huge range of resources and guides online by doing your own little bit of research. Either that or you make use of a handy DIY friend and get them to do it for you – provide tea and biscuits and they might be happy to help! 

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