Common Door Problems and How To Fix Them

Last updated on February 13th, 2017 at 04:59 pm

If you had your 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 internal door problems that you may encounter are doors sticking, doors swinging open or an irritating squeaking door. The good news is that, while these common door problems might be a bit of an inconvenience, most of them are quickly and easily fixed and can usually be done yourself.

door problems

How Do I Fix A Squeaking Door?

If you have an irritating squeaky door it can be simply fixed, even if you’re a beginner at DIY. Here’s how to fix squeaky door hinges:

  • 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 easiest way to check if the door jamb is at fault is by testing 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 not directly above each other or if the jamb of the door isn’t vertical, you will be able to tell because it will not be in line with the string.

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 tooth pick to get these holes filled.

Here are some popular videos giving you a visual guide on how to fix your swinging doors:

 

The Door Hits The Wall

The simplest solution to this common problem is getting a door stop installed.

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. Fitting a doorstop is an easy and quick task and you can see more here:

There’s also the option of having a hinge stop, which can be installed into the hinge pin and stops the door from moving any further. This is a lengthy task and not always the easiest to achieve.

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

A rattling door isn’t a serious functional problem but it can be a very frustrating one! If you’re wondering how to fix a rattling door or what might cause it you’ll be glad to know that this is a relatively simple problem to fix. It’s caused by a gap between the door stop (a part of the frame) and the door, which is providing excess room for the door to move around in.

To stop a door rattling in its frame, all you need to do is slightly adjust the latch plate that the door latch sits against. This will hold the latch a bit tighter which might be enough to stop the rattling.

The tab that sticks into the latch plate hole can be adjusted by using the top of a screw driver 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 using some self-adhesive foam pads to help to fill any gaps. Failing that, the final fix to try is moving the door stop (the thin piece of wood in the frame that stops the door) so the fit gets tighter. This is the most difficult fix to get right, but it’s also the most elegant solution. With the door closed, hold a piece of wood against the doorstop. Hammer the wood to move the doorstop until it touches the door, then secure into it’s new position with nails.

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.

Now you should be equipped to solve some of the most common door problems, you’ll never need to worry about your doors again!

 

Leave a Reply