How to fix problems with internal doors
Doors are so important to your home and can make such an impact on how the room looks and it is also important to keep security in mind. But doors can develop a whole range of faults, any of which can stop them opening and closing smoothly. These might be caused by heavy wear and tear, age, previous damp or a build-up of paint layers over the years. Luckily, our guide will explain that they're quite easy to cure.
A door can drop because its hinges have got loose. First, check all the hinge screws to make sure they're still tight. If a screw won't tighten properly, you might need to replace it with a larger size or plug the existing hole with matchsticks.
Start by taking the screw out. Put wood adhesive on one end of some matchsticks and tap two or three into the screw's hole.
When the adhesive has set, cut off the matchsticks so they're the same level as the hinge flap. Use a chisel and wooden mallet. After that, just replace the screw.
Sometimes a build-up of paint on the edge of a door and frame can make the door stick either at the top, bottom or side. You might be able to sand any high spots away, using coarse abrasive paper around a sanding block. But if it's sticking badly, you'll need to plane off the excess material.
You can tell where you door is sticking by the marks on the paintwork. In this case, on the edge of the door. When a door is sticking along the top or upper-side edge, you might be able to plane it without taking it off its hinges. But if it's sticking near the floor, you'll need to take the door off and put it in a workbench to plane.
Plane the edge, allowing enough clearance to repaint it. If you need to plane near the lock, take the lock off first.
Sand the planed edge of the door and the top and bottom corners; use a sanding block. Then prime the wood before you repaint it.
Squeaking hinges and a lock that's hard to turn can both usually be solved by a squirt of aerosol lubricant, either into the latch mechanism or on to the hinge pins. After you've sprayed the hinges, open and close the door a few times to allow the oil to flow through them, then wipe away any excess before it runs down to the floor.
Is one of your doors springing open all the time? That usually means the hinges are set too deeply into the door or frame, and the door is straining against them. Or it could be that the door isn't closing properly against the doorstop (the thin strip of wood nailed on to the frame). You'll need to have a look at the paintwork around the door to find out what the problem is.
Top tip - Jamming at the bottom
If the door is jamming at the bottom or hasn't got enough clearance over the carpet, position the door where it's sticking the most. Then rest a piece of thick card or a steel rule on the flooring against the door, and mark a pencil line at that height along the bottom of the door. Take the door off its hinges and saw or plane off the excess material. Smooth the edges with abrasive paper and refit your door.
If there isn't any clearance on the hinge side of the door, remove the screws from one hinge at a time. Then prise the hinge out of the recess. It helps to have someone holding the door steady while you do this. Cut some cardboard to fit the recess and pack it into the space.
Screw back the hinge and do the same for the other hinge. The packed-out recesses will give you the room you need, but they may cause sticking on the lock side. If this happens, you'll need to plane the edge of the door.
If the door won't stay closed against the doorstop, tap a wood chisel into the joint between the doorstop and door frame and lever the doorstop off.
Close the door and reposition the doorstop, so the door has enough room to close without catching. Then nail it into the place with 30mm nails, roughly 300mm apart.
If your door latch is out of line with the striker plate, it won't slot in properly. Sometimes, you'll be able to fix a very small misalignment without removing the plate. You can do this by enlarging the cut-out area in the striker plate with a metal file - although you might have to take the plate off and reposition it, if the lock is really badly out of line.
Start by unscrewing and removing the striker plate. Rub a pencil or crayon on the tip of the latch, then close the door and try the handle several times. Open the door and you'll see marks on the frame at the position of the latch. Mark these with a pencil to show the new position for the striker plate.
Use a wood chisel to enlarge the cut-out area in the frame as far as the pencil marks.
Put the striker plate into the new position, making sure its cut-out area fits over the cut-out area on the frame. If the plate has only moved a small distance, plug the old screw holes with small wooden pegs before drilling new pilot holes for the screws.