Suggestions on door repair?

Old 06-15-05, 09:50 AM
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Suggestions on door repair?

Here's the situation:

My wife wanted to replace the front door (typical steel cheapo door) with a nice solid mahogany door. The door was just a little to tall for the door frame, and lacking a table saw, I wasn't about to make the cut myself. My wife was anxious to get it installed, so she hired the son of a friend of ours to install it. Now, the kid has been in framing for the last 7 years, and he's sitting for his contractor's license. I couldn't get any of my contractor clients to get to it soon enough, so I went along with it, figuring that he would do all right. I was wrong.

He secured the hinges to the jamb and the door with half-inch screws. Apparently, he hadn't heard about this little thing called "gravity," and was quite unconcerned that the hinge was separating from the jamb because the half inch screw couldn't counter the weight of the door. Consequently, the door wouldn't close because the side opposite of the hinges would hit the jamb. So rather than using a longer screw to secure the hinges to the jamb, he decided that cutting the door was the best alternative to fix the issue. And cut he did--at a angle--with a framing saw.

When I got home, I saw the separating hinge and promptly replaced the half-inch screws with three-inch screws. The hinge sucked up to the jamb nice and tight. Now, though, there is a 3/4-inch gap on the opposite side (you can even see outside through the narrow gap between the door and weatherstripping), and the door is a solid half-inch narrower at the top than it is at the bottom. There is also a noticeable "dog-leg" on the side of the door.

The kid botched the job, plain and simple. Unfortunately, the kid can't comprehend what he did wrong, and he thinks he was doing us a favor by installing the door (even though he got paid, and even though we gave him the first shot at a bid on an addition). Being a lawyer who does construction litigation from time to time, I know precisely what I can require--and get--from him. He has said he can shim the door hinge to even out the gap, but that really isn't acceptable to my wife. But, he's the son of a friend, and it's not worth the money to me to cause problems there. My reasoning is that if he doesn't understand what he did wrong (I don't think his youthful and apparently fragile ego will allow it), he will simply spin it to family as us being unreasonable and fussy. I don't need that sort of hassle (or karma) in my life.

The door is not a complete loss. The original cut was pretty narrow, and I figure that an arbor saw could straighten out the cut and remove the dog-leg. But then, of course, there's the jamb. I'm thinking that I could remove the interior and exterior door casing, rebuild the jamb with slightly wider stock, and replace the old casing with wider casing to camoflauge the fact that one side of the jamb has been moved in. I estimate that the jamb will move in about half an inch.

But then again, sometimes I complicate things. Does anyone have suggestions on a simpler way to remedy the problem? Of course, replacing the door is an option, but I'd prefer to avoid that expense if possible.
Old 06-15-05, 10:16 AM
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"You" would prefer to avoid the expense? Or you'd prefer not forcing the kid-carpenter who botched the job to pay the expense? If he wants to be a contractor, he better learn fast that when he screws up a job, it comes out of HIS pocket.

I don't quite understand why you would want to alter the jamb when it's fine- it's the door that's been screwed up. My suggestion would be to get a new slab door and have the kid make it right. Might not be a bad idea to have someone else install it, and have him stick with framing. Not all framers have the skill and eye to do finish work.

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