Poorly Closing Doors are Common

One very common repair a handyman sees is the poorly closing or sagging door. The reason can be from poor installation but usually is the result of years of use or shifting home structure.

I will try to address the most popular types of problems I see for this repair. The most important tool in this type of repair is patience. Minor adjustments can have a large effect on the final outcome. You get the door to close right but the door now won’t latch. Sometimes three or more issues with one door can be fixed with one adjustment.

We will assume that the door in this example is at least hanging on its hinges and will swing. If not, you probably need a handyman.

I will start with the most common problem and progress.

Top hanging

This door is characterized by a catch or thump when closing or a need to lift the door to get it to close or latch. There is usually a worn area on the edge of the door near the top from rubbing the jamb.

This is the classic sagging door. The cause of this problem is usually just ordinary use. The top hinge, or several hinges have come loose. On some occasions just tightening the Picture of a hinge and a handyman screw tipscrews on the top hinge will fix the problem.  At times the screw holes are stripped or can’t be tightened further. I will use a 3” deck screw in the center hole of the hinge. This screw will pass thru the jamb and into the wall stud next to the door. Tighten this screw only enough to lift the door to close correctly. Over tighten and the door may bind in other spots.

Door Won’t Latch

This door fails to latch when closed or requires the door to be forced or slammed to close.

This can be caused for a number of reasons.

  1. Interior door frame has shifted with the house. Look to see if bolt (on the door) lines up with the striker hole (on the jamb). If not the striker will need to be raised or lowered to allow the bolt to fit.  Some material may need to be removed with a utility knife if the hole in the jamb causes the bolt to hang up.A Door striker plate
  2. Look at the door while it is held closed. The gab between the door and the shoe (the small wood stop that the door closes against) should be equal around the three sides of the door. If the door is contacting the shoe before the door latches (usually at the top or bottom corner) the easiest fix is to carefully remove and reposition the shoe with the door latched.
  3. If this is an exterior or entry door the above two fixes can apply. An additional cause of the problem may be the weatherstrip has shifted, swollen or been replaced with the wrong size.

Door Binds, Will Not Close

This problem is seen in very new homes that are settling in or older homes when the climate changes for an extended time such as a week of rain here in the Brighton area. It is also associated with screen doors.

This problem is usually associated with drywall cracks in corners or new squeaks in the floor. The home foundation or support post has shifted so much that it deforms the opening of the doorway. This can take as little as a half inch of movement.

If the deformation is beyond what can be adjusted for the door will need to be shaved or planed to fit the new opening shape. The other option is to tear out and rehang the door and jamb. There is more information here.

If You Need a Sagging Door Repaired or just a Handyman

Mark Sutton is a general contractor and home builder working in the Denver area since 1987. His knowledge and experience serve him well as a handyman and home repair specialist. If you need a handyman call today at (303) 847-8647. All work is quoted and approved by you before any work is started and repairs are guaranteed.