Have a wooden front door that has warped with age. Doesn't stay closed.
Have tried putting insulation strips to keep it shut. Still swings open.
If I put too much insulation it is too difficult to close.
Can't seem to find the right balance of friction. I know the door is most
likely not set right, but don't have the expertise to re-hang hinges. Any
If it won't latch, try putting shims of some sort behind the strike
plate to bring it out again or try filing the strike plate a per this
While you're looking at the strike plate, take a look at the strike
itself and make sure it is extending fully. Maybe it just needs some
If it swings open on it's own when not latched, try removing the hinge
pins and bending them slighty to provide the "friction" you speak off.
If it's really that warped, perhaps you should consider getting it
replaced so it seals properly.
I am looking for something similar.
You used to be able to buy a spring load hing pin. Pop out the old hing pin,
pop this in and you had a self closing door. Need more force: put two in.
GOogle self closing hinge and lots of stuff pops up but not these.
My door is so heavily weather stripped that you never know if its been
latched and a good wind will blow it open. Not good if you want your cat to
stay inside. AT least a spring will return the door to a semi closed
It ain't rocket surgery. Why won't the door stay closed if the pin is
extending correctly into the strike plate? Fix the strike plate. Okay, the
door won't close fully because the weather stripping is too thick and you
have to pull the door hard to close it. Narrow the weatherstripping. Okay,
the door won't close because the frame (or whole house is tweaked) and it
swings open if left alone. Put a closer on it, or as someone said, self
closing hinges. Okay, the problem is not really described correctly, and
the door will shut, but there are gaps. Fill the gaps. I ain't no pro, but
I think I could fix this door.
On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 11:59:55 +0000, Charlie S. wrote:
Check the hinges to make certain all screws are in as tight and as flush
as possible. Also look for anything which might interfere with door
closing: weatherstripping, paint build up, dirt, etc. You might also
want to make sure hinges aren't bent out of shape.
I would also look at strike plate in relation to latch mechanism. Are
they both aligned properly? If not, realign them.
Doors fit according to humidity and time of year. Wood absorbs moisture
which sometimes affects performance.
Thanks Franz, most of the others didnt give Charles any suggestions.
Charles, if it's developing slowly and it's damper just now than normal, you
might have some wood swelling. That generally causes it to 'stick' though
vice swing open.
Absolutely, but this can be a little hard to understand if new to this sort
of repair, as his post indicates. I know how to do that, but not how to
properly describe it. My old front door is gone (renters kicked it in) but
at one stage, we had to relocate the deadbolt due to warpage.
Charles, we backfilled the holes with a sealing putty substance that dries
like cement, put the deadbolt back in above it then covered the old hole
with a decorative plate. Ths was what that specific door framing problem
needed. Alternative was the replace the framing. Long view, we later had
that done but at the time, could not afford it and did not know enough to do
it ourselves. The old frame had warped due to natural settling.
Yes, more common to see it dryer this time of year. This makes me think he
may have a tight seal when damp and a loose one now perhaps? Cold causing
things to get smaller too?
Charles, it sounds to me like the frame is the real problem but fixing the
door is much easier. Its a solid wood one right? Not sure how much you
know so please forgive if i seem to talk below your level on this, but you
are apt to need a tool most do not have. It's called a plane.
(Wood-plane). Similar in construction in someways to a 'mandolin' used in
slicing foods. They are hand held, with a flat bttom and a blade
(adjustable please) that will shear off a thin sliver of wood. To use it,
you want to keep to thin slivers or you will get a ripple effect. Use this
to trim down where the door sticks then you can more evenly apply the
weather stripping. The only downside of this is you can't get at the bottom
if it sticks there (have to take the door off). You should be able to get
at the top and door-knob side though.
Just for fun, I'll describe something near it we have to do. We have to do
this with a new wood screen door for our back porch (renters again, door no
longer there, frame damaged and we just finished fixing that). The frame is
warped over time but otherwise solid so we are going to plane down the wood
screen door to fit the opening. 1/4 inch at top left and up to 1/2 inch
bottom right. Easy to do before we hang it. Will plane it down, propping
in place to check, then paint and hang.
I've read a few other posts, and have one concern. If the door is truly
warped, adjusting hinges might do more harm than good. I'm curious as
to what type of door, whether solid, panel, hollow, etc. Also, have you
taken a straight edge to determine how deeply it is warped and in what
direction - bowed top and bottom or side to side? Door has finish on it
or plain unfinished wood?
Just about everyone said something that was applicable and/or helpful.
FWIW: Yesterday, we replaced all the thick weather-stripping around the door
and replaced it with an external wood/weather-strip molding. The door opens
much easier now and seems to be pretty well insulated.
There are two locks on this door. One is a lower doorknob lock with key
entrance on one side and a simple common twist mechanism in the middle of
the doorknob. You normally see this type of lock on bathroom doors
(sometimes without the key I think?). The top lock is a simple deadbolt
lock with key on the outside. That's the one we actively use.
Upon further examination I realize what may be the prime culprit might be.
And that is a lack of strikeplate for the bottom lock.
We had taken the strikeplate out years ago because it would mysteriously
lock even though we didn't turn it from horizontal to vertical. I guess
just closing the door repeatedly caused enough vibration to set the twist
mechanism in motion. We also backfilled the hole and didn't cause much
problem because we seldom used the door. However, over the past 3 years
we've used it quite a bit. Even with all the insulation it would open even
with the lightest breeze. (Providing the deadbolt wasn't used.)
There appears to be plenty of room to make a new hole and put a strikeplate
back in. This doesn't solve the second problem of the lock becoming engaged
through repeated door openings and closings.
I guess I could use some sort of adhesive/glue to keep it from turning. I'm
not sure what I would use on metal. Any other ideas on how to keep this
lock from engaging. (Don't want to use the lock as we have the deadbolt
Also, what tool might I use to make a new hole for the strike plate area?
There is some sort of filler in there now.
Thanks for all you help.
Thanks, will buy a quality lock. I'll look for the Schlage brand.
I bought a Dremel Rotary tool about 2 months ago. I haven't used it yet.
Could I use this to drill a hole behind the strikeplate. (I have filler in
there now as I covered it up years ago.) I know I could use a drill or any
chisel type tool. Just looking for an easy way to do it.
Depends on what size hole you want to drill. Anything larger than 1/8" is
best left to a 'real' drill. Dremels are great, but they're for small jobs.
I'm guessing you'll need to drill a hole about 7/8" wide, but the lock will
come with a template that says what size. If that's the case, you'll be
looking for a Speedbor (spade) drill bit.
Also, check out a locksmith. The lock companies (and many other companies,
like Sony) may have one model for Wal-Mart, Home Cheapo, etc. and another
almost identical model for the local "specialty" shops, which cost more but
are usually better. I bought some Schlage locks at Home Cheapo a few years
ago & had them rekeyed at the local locksmith. He opened it up & upon seeing
the insides, said "so you bought this at home depot huh?" and proceeded to
put a part or two in it.
Thanks! Will test the fill material for ease of extraction and buy a
Speedbor if it doesn't dislodge easily.
Also, will buy the lock from a locksmith. I agree; it's more likely they
would have the model with better parts.
Kind of interesting you and other members recommended buying a good lock.
Never gave it much thought; To me a lock is a lock. That was until a couple
days ago when I decided to replace the top deadbolt lock with a high quality
commercial type lock. It's about 10% larger than the typical home lock, but
looked nicer and more secure than other models. So, I decided to spurge.
Installed it, and after testing it out, instantly realized that spending the
extra $15-$20 was well worth it. The turning knob is comfortably larger and
the locking mechanism feels very smooth. On the other hand, I also bought a
POS model for the rear door. It's like day and night as to the experience
of using the two locks. Putting in the key is not nearly as smooth and took
some getting used to using the inside locking mechanism.
I don't know the layout your house, but it seems to me that if I was
going to intall a POS lock on one door and a quality lock on the
other, I'd put the POS on the front door. My rear door is secluded and
would be the most likely spot for an intruder to attempt entry.
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