For all of their many strengths, internal French doors aren’t immune from wear-and-tear. Happily, these issues are often easily fixed – and with a little bit of regular maintenance, they can be prevented entirely.
French doors are especially vulnerable to alignment issues, because (as we’ve mentioned) any small imbalance between the two doors will soon become apparent. This is usually the case quite early on in the door’s lifespan, as their weight causes them to settle into place.
The good news is that this isn’t a particularly different thing to correct. In order to do so, you’ll need:
You’ll want to prop open both doors so that the jambs are exposed. Now tighten the screws. If your screws simply spin around without ever stopping, then they aren’t effectively securing the door to its frame. Replace them with a bigger screw with the same finish – brass or silver wood screws will usually do the job. Be careful not to overtighten your screws, or you may chew through the wood and end up with the same problem again.
Now, you’ll want to close the doors and take another look at the edges and the seams. If the problem is solved, you can rest easy. If it isn’t, you may need to adjust the door itself.
If your door is in need of adjustment, then you can help it better fit by sanding the edges. This is a risky business with French doors because any alterations you make to one door will need to be mirrored on the other. If you’re sanding down the inner edges of the door, you may end up with a larger gap than you intended.
You might adjust the door using shims to bring the frame closer together. For this, you’ll need
Inspect the outer edges of the door to determine where shimming might be necessary. If a door is lower in the top corner, you’ll need to raise that side of the door with a shim. To install the shim, you’ll need to remove the vertical casing on that side of the door. Do this by running a Stanley knife along the edge of the door frame, where it meets the wall, and gently working the casing loose with a crowbar.
Next, use the back of your hammer to remove any nails you find. Take out the doorstop and close the door. Now insert a shim between the jamb and the framing of the wall in order to bring the frame out. It will take a little work and careful thought to get this right – be sure to keep measuring the offending jamb with a spirit level. You want a finished article that’s perfectly uniform and straight. Once you’ve achieved this, you’ll be able to replace the casing.
If you have any other queries about french doors, check out our french door FAQs.