Three Common Door Problems

During normal use or even during hanging, a door and its frame may develop several defects.

A binding door

If the hinge side of a door comes into contact with the frame before the door is fully closed, it is probably because the hinges have been sunk too far into the door or frame. A door in this condition is said to be hinge bound. A door may also become hinge bound if the screws project out of their countersinks and stop the hinge closing fully.

This problem can be cured cither by packing out the hinge in its recess – use materials such as sandpaper, card, card¬board or hardboard – or by driving the screw fully home. In the latter case, new screws which are smaller than the original ones may be the best solution.

Insert packing beneath the hinges to cure a hinge-bound door. Protruding screws should be replaced

A sticking door

Occasionally a door may stick when it comes into contact with the frame through too much paint on the door and frame or, in the case of external doors, because the wood has swollen.

The simplest solution is to plane off a sufficient amount of wood to allow the door to close freely. Take the wood off the door, not off the frame – it is much easier. The door may have to be removed to get at the top and bottom. Take care not to overdo planing down external doors that are damp. The door will shrink when it dries out and a large gap will be left if too much is taken off.

When a door which has to pass over an uneven floor catches the floor over the high spots, you should locate the problem places on the floor, put sandpaper over them and pass the door over the sand¬paper a few times.

A sagging door

Doors usually sag because the hinges have been pulled out of the frame or door edge, or because the hinges have been strained. Hinges often work loose when a door is hinge bound. To resecure the hinges you can:

o use longer screws

o use thicker screws – size 10s instead of 8s, for example, so long as the hinges have holes and countersinks large enough to accommodate them

o insert pieces of dowel into the screw holes before putting the screws back in.

A problem with strained hinges usually means that the hinges were not big enough – a pair of 75mm hinges will generally hold an internal door, but a heavy external one may need three 100mm hinges.

With boarded and panel doors the swinging (lock) stile – the one opposite the hinges – may drop so that the door bottom catches on the floor as you open it. This sag in the frame can usually be attributed to one of two causes.

Loose joints

In framed doors – panel and boarded – the joints occasionally work loose. To resecure them, cut new wedges for the ends of the tenons and bore two holes through the stile and the tenons to take pieces of dowel. Glue the wedges and dowel firmly in place. If the tenon is broken in the mortise hole, bore two holes down the tenon into the rail and glue pieces of dowel in place to strengthen the joint.

Poor bracing

Framed boarded doors need to be properly braced. A door that is not adequately braced – because its braces are at too shallow an angle, say – has no braces, or has its braces the wrong way round will sag. Braces should have their lowest point at the swinging stile.

A ledged-and-braced door with adequate bracing. Note that the braces hold up the non-hinged side of the door