rehabilitating crappy doors


I love my girlffriend, but sometimes she's just in my way when I need to make a change in her house. She had another guy come in and replace several doors. It was a bigger job than I could do at the time, and it was done very quickly. I'm not at all happy with the craftsmanship of this fella, but then I don't want to give him a call and say fix this shit, because I don't want to create competition for my client.
The doors worked initially but now, not a single one closes. We have a whopping 35% relative humidity because we use evaporitive cooling. These are typical resi doors that come pre-fabbed with the jambs. They are finished with a dark brown paint.
On the hinge side, there is a quarter inch of room on all of them.
Now I've rehabilitated many doors in my lifetime, and it's always a series of steps and an eventual win, but if I lift a finger while she is gone on vacation, it's got to be perfect.
So first, what happened to these doors that they now don't close? They don't feel shaky like the screws are loose. They've been in less than a year.
If it's the humidity, what happens when you install a door like this in Mississippi?
Second, I've got a belt sander, a finger sander, a sharp chisel, primer and brown paint. How am I gonna fix these so that they're perfect?
Thanks for your comment, and cheers,
--
Uno

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Less than a year? Obviously some wood is moving.
Try this. Curl your toes back and give the bottom of the jam a good kick towards the studs to widen it. Close door. If this works unscrew the middle screw on the jam part of each hinge. Get a good 2.5 - 3.5" plated , matching screw,like a deck screw and drive the sucker to pull back tight to the shims the carpenter put in. Most doors are only hinged to the jam and it pulls the jam from the framing.
This can be done with the latch plate also. If the tight spot is somewhere else you may have to a small pilot hole and drive a long screw in the studs through the jam to pull it back, then patch and repaint.
Carpenters use power nailers and the nails typically don't have much grip to hold things tight.
OTOH: A house 1 year old would still be under warranty, here. Call the builder and bitch. The trim carpenter will come and do some small fixes, for nothing, usually.
I love my girlffriend, but sometimes she's just in my way when I need to make a change in her house. She had another guy come in and replace several doors. It was a bigger job than I could do at the time, and it was done very quickly. I'm not at all happy with the craftsmanship of this fella, but then I don't want to give him a call and say fix this shit, because I don't want to create competition for my client.
The doors worked initially but now, not a single one closes. We have a whopping 35% relative humidity because we use evaporitive cooling. These are typical resi doors that come pre-fabbed with the jambs. They are finished with a dark brown paint.
On the hinge side, there is a quarter inch of room on all of them.
Now I've rehabilitated many doors in my lifetime, and it's always a series of steps and an eventual win, but if I lift a finger while she is gone on vacation, it's got to be perfect.
So first, what happened to these doors that they now don't close? They don't feel shaky like the screws are loose. They've been in less than a year.
If it's the humidity, what happens when you install a door like this in Mississippi?
Second, I've got a belt sander, a finger sander, a sharp chisel, primer and brown paint. How am I gonna fix these so that they're perfect?
Thanks for your comment, and cheers,
--
Uno



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Josepi wrote:

Thx, Josepi, the trim is such that if I want to remove it, I can, and re-attach it with the brad nailer better than the original.
The nailing pattern on the original really shows lapses in craftsmanship, in particular, when I can see the damn craters from across the room as something not even brown.
I'll throw my 4-foot level on the latch-side jamb before I move it.
--
Uno

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When installing my doors in a new home I like to put good decking screws under the door jam trim to avoid filling and painting, especially if stained doors.
I also like to put screws beside each other at the bottoms of jams and/or the latch area. You have to fill and paint a few then but reinforces it at strategic spots.
I sold my previous home a while back and while gone for a weeks at a time thought I would save heating money by turning temps down to 50F degrees. When I returned each weekend to check house I would stay overnight and turn heat back up. I dried the house out badly doing this!!! I had a 15 year old jam warped so bad it tore up the vinyl flooring next to it. When I got a block of wood and cracked it back in the door jam broke! This door had never moved before in 15 years from new.
While living there (normal temps) about 6 doors in that house started to move and I found by kicking in the jam at the bottom it cured the problem for another month or so. A well placed deck screw always solved the problem permanently. One matching plated screw in each hinge through into the framing stabilized them well. I see now many hinges are supplied with one long screw.
The level can help but the square door is the best measuring stick after seeing if the hinge jam is vertical by the door closing or opening by itself.
Best of luck!
Thx, Josepi, the trim is such that if I want to remove it, I can, and re-attach it with the brad nailer better than the original.
The nailing pattern on the original really shows lapses in craftsmanship, in particular, when I can see the damn craters from across the room as something not even brown.
I'll throw my 4-foot level on the latch-side jamb before I move it.
--
Uno


Josepi wrote:
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I fixed several doors this way. One was so bad it wouldn't even latch after lifting the knob end. A single 3.5" screw later, and the door closes and latches perfectly.
If you can, drive the screw through the shims. That'll keep everything tight and in place.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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Are the hinges mortised into both the jamb and the door like they are supposed to be? Assuming they are you could make the mortises deeper and close that 1/4" gap to a more normal 1/8". Art
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The OP stated it was only a year old house. I would be sure the doors fit initially.
I have attempted to route hinges deeper and then the hing side starts to bind. It can be almost assured to jam (pun intended) after the next coat of paint.

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Artemus wrote:

Art, I haven't studied every hinge. I wouldn't dare take a light and bang on it if need be with jenny there. She'd know something were up.
So, within 24 hours, I will have better diagnostic data, however, the hinges that I looked at were not closed against each other as the door was closed.
The mortising looked good from my cursory glances.
--
Uno

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Has the latch-side jams moved?... Someone pulling on the facing, there? Maybe the whole door frame has moved, for some reason. Check the whole frame, vertical and horizontal level and measure the diagonals, for equalness.
I find this strange that all or many of the doors are not closing properly. Has the house suffered foundation failure? A pillared house is more apt to have foundation failure than one on a slab. See if the windows are difficult to open/close, also. Factors contributing to foundation failure: Extreme dryness in the soil due to 1) drought, 2) a large tree nearby, drawing moisture from the soil.... a year ago the tree roots (if applicable) may not have reached the house/under neath.
I'm assuming the house is on pillars: How old is the house? Apparently, it has some age, since the original(?) doors were replaced. Were they replaced because of the same problem, not closing properly?
Check the floors' levelness throughout the house. If there is a large discrepancy in floor levelness in the bathroom area, check the toilet drain pipe to see if it has any hint of buckling or the toilet having been raised a tad or its attachment compromised in some way. Inspect other plumbing, also. You cetainly don't want any stress on the water heater plumbing, if the cold line is buried in the ground before entering the house, there. Compromised plumbing, this way, in combination with an unlevel floor, is also evidence of foundation failure.
Sonny
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The OP did not state the house was a year old. He said several of the doors were replaced a year ago.
Sonny
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My bad. Misapplied the age stated.
Thanx
The OP did not state the house was a year old. He said several of the doors were replaced a year ago.
Sonny
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Sonny wrote:

Thx for your reply, Sonny. The house was built about the same time as mine, in the 1950's in Albuquerque. Houses here are slab on grade and don't have a lot of the problems that you see in places with frost heave.
The soil everywhere is packed adobe. Foundations here last centuries. The descendants of the conquistadors are people I see occasionally. New Mexico is good real estate.
The floors will be level; I don't need to check them. They're exactly where they were a year ago.
I had a client up in Montezuma who had done a lot of excavation to get the elevation he wanted. He's like the other half of building here. The clown passe. Gets hourlies like me to do work for him and then either does/does not pay them.
Cocaine Johnnie Montoya. Flipped his Mercedes 15 times and has a house under from which the center is eroding. I'll give him my one-finger carpenter salute as he sits on top of a house that has more mistakes per building system than any I've ever seen.
Anyways, so foundations: solid, and level. I have measured them with a laser at one point 3 years back.
--
Uno


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On 7/15/2010 8:04 PM, Uno wrote:

Why did they need to be replaced? Was it just appearance or was there a problem with them?

Are you saying there's a quarter inch gap between the door and the frame or do I misunderstand?

The doors have absorbed moisture, expanded, and no longer fit the frame, or the frame has dried out, shrunk, and no longer fits the door, or the structure has settled so that the shape of the frame has changed, or something else has happened. You need to figure out what. Without examining the doors it's difficult to diagnose.

You wait for it to take up however much moisture it's going to take up, then adjust it as required.

I'd need to eyeball the problem before making any kind of suggestion.

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There is something wrong here. Most prehung doors have a swaged hinge that does not require the beveling of the hinge side of the door. When closed most will show less than 1/8" gap at the hinge. If you take a hinge off and close it until the leafs touch you will see a gap near the barrel or pin. The doors shouldn't show any more gap than that assuming that they are routed flush into the door and jamb.
My guess is that the hinges are coming loose from either the jamb or door or both. Open the door about 90 and give it a good push back and forth. If you feel movement there or if the door falls off in your hand, you'll know what the problem is. About all you can do is fill the holes with wood and glue (toothpicks can work) let it set up drill a pilot hole and install the hinges again. That may or may not work but it's worth a shot.
Mike O.
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Uno wrote:

That's a lot. Are the jambs perpendicular to the walls and door face? If not, the door will wedge on it and not close properly. Your fix might be as simple as getting the hinge jamb as it should be.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

No, I think that slamming the doors so much has brought them off their jambs. Seth and Jenny have a 3 bedroom house, where we play our bedroom farce. There's a lot of door-slamming.
Ah, the jealousies and angers of life that keep handymen in business. At least we don't sweep them under the carpet.
--
Uno

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