Problem doors - how to fix them
If a door is jamming, or doesn’t close, it is probably out of square with the door frame. Rather than shave pieces off the door, start with more simple methods first.
There are several ways to approach the problem:
1 tighten loose hinges
2 replace short screws with long ones
3 shim a hinge
4 adjust the latch strike plate
5 and, as a last measure, plane or shave the timber.
But first you need to work out exactly what the problem is. To analyse what
is wrong with the door and work out what needs to be done, click on the
following link: ‘Problem doors – analysing what is wrong’. Once you have decided what is wrong, take the link back to this page and carry out your repairs.
How to remove a door
Interior door hinges are held together by a removable pin. To take the door off the door frame, drive the lowest hinge pin out, using a screwdriver and a hammer. If you have difficulty fitting the screwdriver blade under the pin head, try tapping the pin up from underneath first, with a nail or small nail punch
Ask a friend to hold the door, then drive the pin out of the middle and top hinges. Set the door aside. (Always clean and oil the hinge pins before
re-instating the door.)
How to tighten loose hinges
Tighten the hinges by screwing the screws in a clockwise direction.
If they do not hold in the wood, drive longer screws in – up to 3” (75 mm) long and the same gauge (thickness) as the existing screws. It is important to make sure the head of the screw fits snugly into the countersink of the hinge.
If the holes in the wood are too wide to hold, the screws you will need to pack the holes. Unscrew all the screws to take the hinge off. Coat a wooden golf tee with wood glue (see PVA in Glues and adhesives). Drive it into the screw hole and allow it to dry. Cut the top off with a cutting knife.
Alternatively, drill a larger hole the same diameter as a piece of dowel. Measure the depth of the hole with a nail and cut the dowel to that measurement. Coat the dowel with glue and drive it into the hole. Allow to dry. Sand the new wood flush with the old.
Drill pilot holes in the new wood and screw the hinge on again.
Moving the latch plate
If shimming the hinges does not solve the problem of a latch bolt not fitting into the strike plate, minor adjustments can be made to the strike plate. Unscrew the strike plate and file the oblong hole at the top or bottom as
needed, using a metal file.
If you need to move the plate slightly you will need to move the screws. To do this, unscrew the screws to take the plate off. Coat a wooden golf tee with wood glue (see PVA in Glues and adhesives). Drive it into the screw hole and allow it to dry. Cut the top off with a cutting knife. (See illustration in 'How to tighten loose hinges' above.)
Alternatively, drill a larger hole in the screw hole, the same diameter as a
piece of dowel. Measure the depth of the hole with a nail and cut the dowel to
that measurement. Coat the dowel with glue and drive it into the hole. Allow to dry. Sand the new wood flush with the old. Drill pilot holes in the new wood, chisel the doorjam to fit the plate and screw the plate on again.