How To Cure For Balky Doors

There are three main causes for stubborn and unruly garage door replacment sonoma county. The first and most common is that of improperly adjusted hinges. The second possibility is distortion of the door so that it no longer fits the frame. And the third, more prevalent in older houses, is distortion of the frame so that it no longer fits the door.

To determine the cause, stand on the side away from the door stop and close the door. Check all the way around and note the space between door and jamb. Where this space is reduced to a hairline crack, the door fits too tightly and sticks when opening or closing.

If such a tight spot is located on one side and a contrastingly large crack appears on the opposite side, the trouble is probably in the hinge setting. If the door fits too tightly all around, it has probably swelled from dampness. If there are telltale cracks in the plaster around the door frame, the house has probably settled from shrinkage in the framework, distorting the door frame until it presses upon the door at one or several points.

Hinge Adjustments

To correct the trouble, begin with the hinges. Remove the door. Most doors are hung on butt hinges consisting of two leaves held together with a pin. With the door closed, knock out the pin with a nail set and hammer, then lift the door from the frame. If the screws are loose in either half of the hinge, they must be tightened. If the holes have become enlarged, try longer screws or plug the holes with putty or plastic wood, and when this has dried, reset the screws. Tightening the screws in this manner will often correct the trouble. If it doesn’t, however, readjustment of the hinges is needed. If the sticking spot is located on the lock stile opposite the hinged side, set the hinges deeper by increasing the depth of the undercut, or mortise, in which the hinge leaf is recessed. It may even be necessary to deepen the mortise on both door and jamb. However, when the sticking spot is found on the hinge stile, hinges set too deeply are the probable cause. Raise them by setting a sheet of cardboard under the leaves of the hinge.

Heavy doors, tending to sag at the lower outside corner, can be raised by deepening the mortise of the upper hinge and resetting it to pull the door up or by inserting a piece of cardboard under the leaves of the lower hinge to push the door upward from the bottom.

Distorted Doors

Occasionally a door will be so swelled by moisture that it no longer fits the frame. In such a case, remove the door and the hinges and plane down the hinge stile. Usually the length to be planned does not extend the full length of the door. Mark the sticking area while the door is in place, then plane to the mark. In planning, don’t be over-zealous. A little may be enough. Frequently, a rub-down with No. 1 sandpaper will suffice, but take care not to bevel the edge of the door.

When a door sticks at the bottom, either the threshold has become warped or damaged or the door itself sags. If the sagging condition cannot be cured by hinge adjustment and the threshold is in good condition, the door itself must be trimmed to shape. Remove the door and plane the surface. Planning across the grain of the stiles will be difficult, and unless care is taken the wood may be splintered.

Sandpaper is better on these surfaces. Occasionally the bottom rail alone is at fault, because of swelling. This can be remedied by leveling it with a plane. If the threshold is damaged, it must be replaced.

If a door is repeatedly exposed to moisture on one side and the other side is kept dry, the probability is that it will warp. One side swells, the other shrinks, and the door are pulled out of shape. Worse still, the top and bottom (too often left unpainted) soak up moisture and cause further warping. The pictures opposite show two ways to straighten out such a bowed door. To prevent recurrence of the trouble, be sure to give the top and bottom two coats of shellac and then prime and paint both sides of the door, covering every corner and joint. This will keep out the trouble-making moisture.

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