How to Repair Doors

Problem: Door sticks or rubs on frame when you close the door.

Solution: Identify where the door rubs or sticks in the frame – typically the door will rub/stick near the top of the door frame. Check the hinge opposite the location where the door rubs/sticks. Visually inspect to see if any of the screws for the hinge on both the frame and door are loose, tighten them by hand with a appropriate screw driver. Check all the screws in all the door hinges. Did this solve the problem?

You found that one or more hinge screws are stripped (spin freely in the screw hole). Remove the offending screws. You will need to fill the stripped holes with wood. Several options that are readily available are: wooden golf tees, wooden chop sticks, wooden match sticks (light the match and then put it out), wooden toothpicks or any piece of wood small enough to fit in the hole. Insert the wood filler that you have chosen, push it into the hole and tap with a hammer to seat. Snap off or cut off any excess. Insert screw and tighten. This will usually solve the rub/stick problem.

Ok, your problem was not this easy to fix, look again at the hinges, do they fit flush into the door and frame? No! In order for the hinge to work properly, the hinge has to sit flush in the frame and on the door. To solve this problem you will need a sharp chisel and a hammer. With the door open as far as you can, prop the door open. Remove the offending hinge from the door-or-the frame, one side only. Using your chisel, score the inside of the perimeter of the hinge cut-out, by taping the chisel with your hammer. This will cut the wood fibers and keep a clean cut. Now with the flat side of the chisel towards you, you want to slowly chisel away a thin layer of wood equal to the thickness that the hinge protruded above the surface of the door or frame. Put the hinge back in the slot, check for a flush fit. Repeat this procedure until the hinge seats flush. Screw the hinge down flush and follow the same procedure for the other half of the hinge.

So you have followed all the procedures above and still the door rubs/sticks. Now that you have eliminated the hinge side as the problem, you will need to shave the door where it rubs/sticks in the frame. First using a pencil, mark the area where the door rubs the frame. You will need a sharp “block plane” for the next step. This is the point where you may want to call a professional. Should you decide to proceed, after you have marked the door where it rubs/sticks, remove the door hinge pins and remove the door from the frame. Set the door on its hinge side on the floor. Have an assistant hold the door while you carefully plane away the area you marked on the door. Re-install the door and check the clearance. Repeat these steps until the door closes without restrictions.

Problem: The door closes, but will not latch.

Solution: Check for any hinge problems as noted above. After eliminating the possibility of any hinge problems, inspect the door strike. You should be able to see where the bolt hits the strike plate by the wear marks. The bolt probably hits the strike plate too high or low to seat into the bolt hole. If you cannot tell by wear marks on the plate, get down so you are eye level with the lock bolt. Close the door until the bolt just touches the strike plate. Using a soft lead pencil put a mark on the strike plate just above and below where the bolt touches the strike plate. Sometimes putting a piece of masking tape on the face of the strike plate where the bolt touches it will help when viewing your pencil marks. Now you can see where the bolt hits the strike plate, the strike plate will be either too high or too low. By viewing this, you will be able to determine if the strike plate needs to be moved up or down. Mark the distance on the frame above or below the strike plate the distance that the plate is if off from the lock bolt location. Using a sharp chisel, score the wood at the point you want the strike plate to end up for proper alignment. Now remove the strike plate and with the flat side of the chisel towards you, slowly remove a thin layer the thickness of the strike plate. Set the strike plate in this new cut-out. In the center where the lock bolt will fit into the strike plate, you will see a small amount of the door frame that protrudes into the strike plate hole. Using your pencil mark the wood that needs to be removed. Remove the strike plate and using your chisel, chip away the wood until the strike plate hole is clear. Using the procedure above for filing screw holes, fill the old strike plate screw holes. Set the strike plate in its new position and install the strike plate screws. Your door will now close and latch.