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Entry door very hard to close


ElBigDog's Avatar
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10-11-16, 06:49 PM   #1  
Entry door very hard to close

I'm having a whale of a time trying to get my back door to close a little easier. The door is really rubbing on the latch side, on the upper half of the door. The door also doesn't sit flush length wise. The top of the door is flush with the jamb at the top but the further down you get the more door protrudes in. I attached a couple photos from outside.

I have tried using 3 and 4 inch screws, which didn't work because I couldn't bite into any stud! I used a thick copper wire to push through one of the hinge holes and after about 4 inches of nothing but plaster, I gave up. I also tried packing the hinge holes with gorilla glue and matches, to provide a little more grip for the screws, but no improvement. This door is old and I'm sure needs replacing, I'm just trying to get it through a couple more seasons.

Any help would be appreciated!!

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XSleeper's Avatar
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10-11-16, 07:52 PM   #2  
When a door rubs as it opens or closes, that can often be corrected at the hinges... check that all screws are tight and that none are loose or stripped. Check the gap between the door and hinge side jamb, that will tell you something too... if you have a gap there but no gap on the latch side it will tell you something right there. Even the gap on top and bottom can also sometimes help indicate what kind of adjustment is needed. Sometimes an adjustment can be made by mortising a hinge deeper, but only if there is a gap that will allow the door space to shift.

Other times, multiple layers of paint have simply made the door bind, and stripping or planing the door edges is the simple answer.

As far as the door protruding, that reflects that either the slab is warped, or the door is not plumb. Or more correctly, that the left and right jambs are not in the same plane. Doors can sometimes be out of plumb and work just fine... as long as the left and right sides are the SAME. So, what your picture indicates is either that the door is warped (the slab- the part that swings- is not flat... ie in the same plane) or that the l & r jambs are not in the same plane. According to the picture, the bottom latch side of the entire door jamb (or, conversely, the top hinge side) needs to get pushed IN toward the interior of the home... and/or the top latch side of the entire door jamb (or, conversely, the bottom hinge side) needs to get pushed OUT toward the exterior of the home.

(Racked doors can also be adjusted by moving the hinges in or out, but it opens up a whole new can of worms... so let's assume your hinge mortises are correctly mortised and that the door is straight with the hinge side door stop.)

But on an old existing door, it would be quite odd if the door had come loose. Unless you can see evidence that it has shifted. In one of the pics it looks like the sill has a crack that starts right at the base of the storm door z-bar? Is there any reason the door may have been racked? Is this a new problem?

 
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10-12-16, 04:58 AM   #3  
The door rubbing on the latch side is a common symptom of a sagging door. That you cannot get 4" screws to bite into framework supports that theory and is probably why the door is sagging now. There is no structure behind the hinges to support the door. So, lucky you now you're possibly stuck fixing a construction error.

First, try removing a screw on the middle or lower hinge and run a 3 or 4" screw in there. Does it bite into anything substantial?

If "yes" they there is a stud back there and the holes for your upper hinge are stripped. You can drill and countersink a couple new holes through the hinge so you can install screws into fresh wood.

If "no" then there is likely no stud behind the hinges. The best solution would be to remove the door and it's casing and install a stud in the wall cavity. Another option though not as good is to stick a wire through a screw hole and see how far it goes in before hitting a stud. If it's something less than 12" then you can put in really long screws. Screws up 14" long are available. You may have to order them but they are available.

 
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10-12-16, 06:30 AM   #4  
Thanks for the quick response! So basically I need to pull the top hinge in tighter? The screws seemed tight on the top one, just the problem of no stud behind! I put the wire through the bottom and middle hinges and they each went at least 4 inches without finding a stud. Is this normal? Is there an easy way to remove the casing on the hinge side only? Or does the entire jamb need to be removed?

 
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10-12-16, 06:43 AM   #5  
Can you post pictures of the door and frame that are not closeups? Show where it is sagging, hinges, etc.

 
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10-12-16, 06:45 AM   #6  
It's not normal for there not to be stud next to the jamb. Is it possible the door was replaced with a narrower one? or the stud rotted out?

To remove the casing; cut the caulk and gently pry the casing loose. Often it's beneficial to take a punch and drive the nails completely thru if the casing doesn't easily pry off.


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10-12-16, 07:49 AM   #7  
You are removing/replacing one of the screws that is closest to the door stop, right? The ones closest to the plaster will obviously only go into plaster... but the holes farthest in are the ones that should catch the studs.

 
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10-12-16, 08:18 AM   #8  
You want the screws, especially in the top hinge, to go into something solid. With that you can usually tighten the screws and pull the door up and stop it from dragging. The middle and bottom hinges are less important thought they too should be going into something solid.

 
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10-12-16, 10:16 AM   #9  
Unfortunately, I have not. I figured the stud went the width of the jamb. I'll give that a try today! Thanks.

 
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10-12-16, 10:50 AM   #10  
Yeah the outer 1" is probably all plaster and lathe. You may even want to slightly angle the screw away from the plaster... not a lot... because you still want the head to be pretty flush once it's in... but just enough to make sure you don't angle the OTHER way and miss or crack the edge of the stud.

 
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10-26-16, 11:37 AM   #11  
Back again... So i drove 4 3" screws into the top and middle hinges (towards the exterior) which seemed to catch. However, it didn't do much. The door is still a pain to close and almost seemed like the new screws made it harder. Is it possible the screws made the frame even more warped? What's the best approach to try and square the jamb?

 
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10-26-16, 03:09 PM   #12  
The screws you put in need to sit flush or else they might push the door over.

Tell us, is there a gap between the door and jamb on the hinge side, or is it tight? Or a gap at the top but not near the bottom?

 
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10-27-16, 02:39 AM   #13  
Or see post number 5.................

 
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10-27-16, 04:55 AM   #14  
Will snap some pics tonight. Thanks guys.

 
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10-28-16, 08:59 AM   #15  
Snapped a couple pictures. I doesn't seem to be sagging much too me. The only thing that really stands out is how tight the gap is on the latch side (4th pic).

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11-09-16, 04:18 PM   #16  
Hi, Try to put longer screws in the strike plate to maybe pull the jamb over. Is that does't work plane the door. This is important, do not plane the side of the door with the locks on it you could ruin the door. Plane the hinge side remember to remove the hinge plates you will have to cut the mortise deeper for the hinges so they lay even with the new planed side of the door. Remember a little at a time, you can't glue the wood back on. When you're happy with the fit paint the raw wood on the edge.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

 
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11-10-16, 06:49 AM   #17  
Thanks, Butcher! Will give it a shot.

 
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11-14-16, 09:32 AM   #18  
Last question before I throw in the towel and replace the entire door next spring. What's the best/easiest method to align the left and right jambs? After (even) further review, it appears the latch side jamb has been pushed out from the wall/interior. The bottom half of the jamb is no longer sitting flush with the trim, compared to the top of the jamb. It appears I just need to hit/pry/push/pull the bottom (latch side) part of the jamb in towards the interior.... Thoughts?

 
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11-16-16, 05:43 PM   #19  
did you try embedding/chiseling the top hinge 1/8" deeper into the frame?
might do the trick....has for me many times on many jobs

 
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