Door Not Closing Properly – Ask THE Handyman St. Louis – Get It Done

I have a home repair question: how can I get my door to go smoothly into the door frame when shutting it? Right now when I close/open the door it hits the frame slightly.

A door that doesn’t close properly can be a source of great frustration! However, it’s usually an easy fix.
There are several reasons a door that used to close properly won’t any longer. The hinges and screws could be loose, the door could have warped over time, or the house may have settled slightly. The heat of the summer and cold of the winter can cause the door to expand and contract so that in the summer the door doesn’t fit any longer.

If you have any cracks in the wall around the door, this could be an indication that settling is occurring, and any fix to the door may be temporary.

After a visual inspection for wall cracks, make sure that the hinge screws are tight, both into the door and into the frame of the jamb. If you find they are loose a slight tightening could be enough to get the door into proper alignment.

If the hinge screws are tight and the problem still exists, then grab some course sandpaper and a block of wood. Or, if you have a wood planer or a rasp, this will make the job much easier. Where the door is sticking, notice by how much and make a light pencil mark on the door, indicating how much of the door you need to sand down.

For minor adjustments, you can proceed with the door still hanging – but be sure to lay a drop cloth down under the door (if you don’t have one, a large trash bag will do), as there will be saw dust.

If you think you’re going to have to do quite a bit of sanding, then I suggest you remove the door off the hinges. To do so, place the edge of a flat head screwdriver under the head of the hinge pin and gently tap the hinge pin out of the hinge using a hammer. You’ll need to do this on each hinge.

Once all the hinge pins are removed you can slide the door off the hinges and take it to a convenient place (outside or in your garage) to do the sanding. FYI – solid doors can be heavy so you might want a second person on hand to help you maneuver it off the hinges and carry it.

When you’re ready to start sanding, wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood which fits comfortably in your hand. Look for your pencil line and then go to work! When you get close to the pencil line, try closing or rehanging the door to see if it fits. If you need to sand a lot an planer can come in handy.

If it’s still sticking, keep going. But as you get close to a proper fit, switch your sand paper to a medium grade, and when you’re finished, take a fine sandpaper and go over the area to make it smooth.

When the door fits properly, wipe the area you’ve sanded with a damp cloth, then prime and touch up the door with paint (or if the door is stained, just stain it).

If by chance the part of the door that is sticking is near the door handle, you may have to remove the plunger plate on the door or the strike plate on the jamb and chisel the area out to make them recessed enough to prevent the sticking.

That’s it! You’ve done it. Know you have the arm muscles and the know-how to fix a sticking door.

Get It Done
Ask THE Handyman St. Louis

Get It Done THE St Louis Handyman “Door Sticking”

I have a home repair question for Get It Done: how can I get my door to go smoothly into the door frame when shutting it?  Right now when I close/open the door it hits the frame slightly.

S.B. Columbia, MO

A door that doesn’t close properly can be a source of great frustration!  However, it’s usually an easy fix and you probably don’t need to call a St Louis Handyman.

There are several reasons a door that used to close properly won’t any longer.  The hinges and screws could be loose, the door could have warped over time, or the house may have settled slightly.  The heat of the summer and cold of the winter can cause the door to expand and contract so that in the summer the door doesn’t fit any longer.

If you have any cracks in the wall around the door, this could be an indication that settling is occurring, and any fix to the door may be temporary.

After a visual inspection for wall cracks, make sure that the hinge screws are tight, both into the door and into the frame of the jamb.  If you find they are loose a slight tightening could be enough to get the door into proper alignment.

If the hinge screws are tight and the problem still exists, then grab some course sandpaper and a block of wood.  Or, if you have a wood planer or a rasp, this will make the job much easier.  Where the door is sticking, notice by how much and make a light pencil mark on the door, indicating how much of the door you need to sand down.

For minor adjustments, you can proceed with the door still hanging – but be sure to lay a drop cloth down under the door (if you don’t have one, a large trash bag will do), as there will be saw dust.

If you think you’re going to have to do quite a bit of sanding, then I suggest you remove the door off the hinges.  To do so, place the edge of a flat head screwdriver under the head of the hinge pin and gently tap the hinge pin out of the hinge using a hammer.  You’ll need to do this on each hinge.

Once all the hinge pins are removed you can slide the door off the hinges and take it to a convenient place (outside or in your garage) to do the sanding.  FYI – solid doors can be heavy so you might want a second person on hand to help you maneuver it off the hinges and carry it.

When you’re ready to start sanding, wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood which fits comfortably in your hand.  Look for your pencil line and then go to work!  When you get close to the pencil line, try closing or rehanging the door to see if it fits.

If it’s still sticking, keep going.  But as you get close to a proper fit, switch your sand paper to a medium grade, and when you’re finished, take a fine sandpaper and go over the area to make it smooth.

When the door fits properly, wipe the area you’ve sanded with a damp cloth, then prime and touch up the door with paint (or if the door is stained, just stain it).

If by chance the part of the door that is sticking is near the door handle, you may have to remove the plunger plate on the door or the strike plate on the jamb and chisel the area out to make them recessed enough to prevent the sticking.

That’s it!  You’ve done it.  Know you have the arm muscles and the know-how to fix a sticking door.

Get It Done

THE St Louis Handyman