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Tip: Door Problems Solved

As with all projects, doors have problems all their own. Do not be intimidated or discouraged at things that may be minor issues. Here are some questions and answers that may help you fix your problem independently:


Q: The top of out newly installed door either sticks to the frame or the whole door swings either open or shut. Did we do something wrong when we hung it?

A: You probably didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes it is the frame itself. The best option is to restructure or replace the frame itself. The cause is most likely that the frame has settled or a hinge jamb is out of plumb. To fix binding, install a shim under the top hinge if the bind is near the bottom or under the bottom hinge if the bind is near the top. If the door hinge jamb is not plumb, shim under whichever hinge will cause the door edge to hang truly vertical. To install a shim, support the door as explained above, remove the hinge jamb screw, and cut thin cardboard to fit into the mortise, under the hinge flap. Replace the screw, driving them through the cardboard into the jamb. If the door will not stay closed, the latch is not engaging with the strike. Built-up paint can cause this problem and simply be cleaned out. If the door is the problem and it is cut unevenly then you can contact the manufacturer and they will either fix it or replace it.


Q: One of our doors has recently begun to sag. We’ve had this door hanging for more than five years. Why is this happening now?

A: This is usually a simple problem. It’s most likely that a hinge has just pulled loose, because the screws have lost their grip. To repair, just open the door completely and wedge a small piece(s) of wood underneath to support it. The remove the screws, fold back the hinge, and bore out the holes with a small drill bit. Cut dowels into small snug-fitting plugs and coat them with glue. Gently hammer them into the holes and after the glue is dry, cut off any excess that sticks out. Finally, drill pilot holes, and replace the screws.

Q: I’ve heard that door squeaks are a common problem, but I can’t seem to find a common solution. Is there one?

A: Door hinges squeak because of lack of lubrication or built up paint or dirt. Going through one hinge at a time, remove the pin (by tapping upward on the nail inserted in the hole) and clean it with alcohol or mineral spirits. Next, clean out the knuckles that hold the pin using a cotton swab or a bit of rag dipped in solvent. Remove any extra paint and lubricate the pin and knuckles with lightweight household oil or spray lubricant.


Q: Something is blocking out latch from entering its strike. Is this a simple problem or do we need to call someone to come in?

A: This is a fairly simple problem. Working on the edge that blocks the latch, first remove the strike and enlarge its opening with a flat metal file. The mortise may need to be slightly enlarged in the door jamb, which can be done with a wood chisel. If the latch and strike are just too far apart to meet, shim under the hinges and shift the door towards the strike jamb.

Garage Door

Q: My garage door opener is not opening my garage. What is the problem?

A: It could be a number of things. Carefully check to make sure that there are not any loose electrical wires attached to the door. It may be something as simple as your batteries are low in the opener.

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