Door Repair 101
Don't know how to repair door damage caused by aging, humidity, or other external factors? You've come to the right place. In this DIY door repair guide, we'll teach you some simple door maintenance techniques that you can use to add years to your maturing doors. Whether it's a door frame repair, a hinge that needs tightening or a good sanding job, in no time at all you'll learn how to repair a door the easy and inexpensive way.
Sticking or swelling- If you are fighting to get into your door, it's probably due to swelling from humidity and moisture. A light sanding can be the easy DIY door repair solution to this problem. Place a piece of carbon paper onto the door and close it to mark off the areas that need to be sanded. A coat of varnish will help prevent moisture seeping into your door, alleviating this issue altogether.
Sagging- Sagging is another simple door frame repair job. It can usually be remedied by using longer nails driven into the root of the frame for additional support. Careful not to drive them too far in, though, or you risk cracking the doorjamb. 3-inch wood screws usually do the trick. Keep the door raised to the proper position to ensure that alignment will be straight when finished. Tip: remove all but one of the screws so that the door will stay in place while replacing the old screws. The bottom hinge need not be done.
If the sagging is caused by the doorframe shifting or being uneven, you can rectify by cutting the middle and top mortises slightly deeper (1/8" can do the trick). This will pull up the door to the left, effectively lifting the door up and even.
Drafts- Weather stripping, weather stripping, weather stripping. A good storm door can also be added, though, this is an additional expense.
Squeaks- Squeaking is a door hinge repair job that should only take seconds to remedy. Use silicone spray or plumber's grease applied to the interlocking units as well as the hinge pin if necessary. Graphite should not be used as the loose powder will escape and ruin surrounding furniture, walls and carpeting. Door maintenance tip: Lubricating hinges periodically will improve overall performance of your doors.
Binding or loose doors can be fixed- First assess the problem. Why is your door loose? Is the door too small for your frame? If so, a simple piece of weather stripping applied to the jamb can alleviate this issue. Other times, the door is loose or binding because the hinges need tightening, another easy door hinge repair solution.
Another option is that the latch bolt may not be meeting the strike plate properly. There are a few ways of solving this problem. If the latch bolt is missing the strike plate you can: 1. File down the strike opening to make it larger 2. Move the strike plate into a position that will allow the latch to access it. If the latch bolt is in target: 1. There may be excess wood that was never chiseled out when the door was being installed. You can just use a utility knife or chisel to smooth out this area. 2. The doorstop molding might be infringing upon the latch engaging the strike plate. The latter issue can be solved by moving the strike plate further in and away from the molding.
Warping- Warping is a bigger issue that should tell you it's time for a new door. If this, or other unavoidable issues arise, read our article on DIY door replacing.
Now that you know how to repair door issues that might arise, you can avoid calling expensive handymen or leaving the problem to develop into a larger one. DIY door repair jobs are usually simple enough to do on your own or with a friend, assuming you attend to them early enough. Don't wait until you have a major door repair that you don't know how to manage. Save yourself time, money and grief by attending to your doors immediately. See our other door maintenance articles for more information on this topic.