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New french doors not closing properly. Please help!!

New french doors not closing properly. Please help!!


Old 11-05-18, 02:49 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 46
New french doors not closing properly. Please help!!

I installed a set of Thermatru french doors. Everything is level, plumb, square, checked crossleg, even gaps. EVERYTHING looks good, but my doors aren't closing properly.

The right is a little tight, but the left is EXTREMELY too tight. The slide bolt astragal is actually taking the paint off the striker plate at the top. And I have to forcefully push it closed.

I initially thought my rough opening wasn't big enough, but I still have about 1/4" gap at the header.

There's about a 1/16" gap between the top jamb of the right door, but the left has NO space all the way across.

I tried to lower my adjustable sill but it's all the way down.

My doors measure: 79 1/4 Left (79 5/8 with the rubber at the bottom of the astragal - not the door sweep) and 79 1/2 Right. I removed that piece of rubber to see if it closed better, but no luck.

My frame measures 79 5/8 Left and 79 11/16 Right.

My 3/4" Advantech filler piece that's under my sill pan is also off of subfloor in the back by about 1/8". That may be because I only nailed the front edge to the rim joist and the door is pulling it off the back.

I can't figure it out. Can someone please offer some advise?


rubber at the bottom of the astragal

4' Level on adjustable sill, 6' level on subfloor in front of threshold

Plastic sill pan on top of butyl membrane
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Old 11-05-18, 06:24 PM
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Location: USA
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You need really long levels to set doors. A 78" level is practically a must to make sure your sides are really plumb... and straight as an arrow. So unless you have one, you don't have the door as level or plumb as you think.

Success with doors starts with the sill of the rough opening. Check it before you set the door in the opening. If the rough opening isn't level, your door won't be either. If you figure that out first, you can figure out how big of a shim you need under the door and where that shim should go.

Once you set the door in the opening, if that opening isn't level, your level might read fine on the majority of the sill, but if it swoops up or down on the last couple inches, that will cause a problem. One door may work, the other will seem tight. So you need to make sure the door is level from jamb to jamb... not just "mostly level".

In short, your top picture indicates the door is out of square, because the left side is high compared to the right. However the 2nd picture (from the inside) shows the opposite. So I don't know if you took those photos at different times, or what but they show 2 different things... but it's a sure thing that something may not be perfectly level, plumb or square as you think. Please double check which door is high, when observed from both inside and out.

For starters, the sill HAS to be level. Check it from end to end. Then, from the outside, the tops of the doors should be flush with one another in the middle. It looks as if the left (passive) one is higher than your right (operating) one in in that first photo. Please verify that is true, because everything I say next depends on that.

That could mean that the right jamb needs to be shimmed up in order to truly level the sill and head. Or it could mean the top of the door jamb needs to be shimmed farther right... and / or the bottom needs to be shimmed farther left to truly plumb and level the door.

And in "some cases" you have to throw out getting the door level and plumb and just work on getting the reveals right and assuring the door operates correctly. You ai to have it all, but in the end, you just want it to work right.

Plumb needs to be checked on the door hinges themselves (outside), then double checked on the jambs (inside). Slight adjustments can be made when shims are placed behind the hinges and the long installation screws are used in each hinge.

To check a 64" wide sill with a 48" level, use a nice straight rip of 3/4" plywood. Rip the plywood 4" wide or so... then cut it 64" long. Set the plywood on top of the sill as if it were your level, then set your 48" level on top of that. Plywood usually stays nice and straight if cut lengthwise.
Old 11-05-18, 08:19 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 46
XSleeper, I am using a 78Ē level, but also my laser level because I feel I can get more accurate readings.

I know my sill is slightly off. I overlooked leveling it because I assumed it was level. I realized it was off when I laid my 4í level across the subfloor in front of the doors and it rocked. I took some measurements from the top of the door to the subfloor and they were:

Left Door Left Side: 83 1/8
Left Door Right Side: 83
Right Door Left Side: 82 15/16
Right Door Right Side: 83 1/16

So there's a 3/16" difference between the lowest and highest point. (But 1/8 on the left side were the door is the tightest).

My adjustable sill is level, but only because itís been adjusted that way. Itís also adjusted all the way down in the center and up high on the outside so I guess thatís a good indication the subfloor is my problem.

Itís been raining all day so I couldnít get any readings from outside. Although, youíre right that the left door is a little higher than right, which is confusing me because each hinge is level with the opposite side.

Do you think I should remove all screws, shim the bottom level and restart the process?

If I do, I think Iíll only be moving my screws about a 1/16 -1/8Ē. Do you think this will give me a problem driving new screws with my previous jamb screw holes being so close?

Also, I used my level and measured the gaps behind my jamb to get close to the distance I needed to shim. Then I used plywood blocks behind my right and left jambs at the top and bottom (an idea I learned from watching Gary Katz). However, I didnít use any shims anywhere else and thereís some large gaps behind the jamb I still need to shim. Should I pull the door and use more plywood blocks nailed to the RO or should I just use cedar shims? My only concern is they could fall out some day if anyone ever removed the hinge screws or the house settles.

Lastly, if my measurements are right I think I'll have a jamb height 1/16" less than the door height. That includes the weather strip at the bottom which I'm guessing is probably 1/8" wide. So, how much larger do you think a jamb should be than a door? I'm just curious if my doors are 1/16" over my jamb height with a 1/8" weather strip (that is designed to compress when the door closes) do you think that seems right? Do you think that's a good fit?

Thanks for you help!!
Old 11-05-18, 08:36 PM
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Location: USA
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Screw your adjustable sill down so that it is as low as possible. It is giving you wrong readings otherwise. No point in setting a level on the adjustable sill AFTER you adjust the sill. And forget the floor, forget measuring heights and widths. Open both doors and put your level on the head of the jamb. That will give you a true reading of what the sill is doing. If the head isn't level, you need to put a shim underneath one door jamb or the other.

If your shims behind the hinges are too tight or too loose it will throw the reveals off. So until you get the door level and square take them out along with any screws you have put in.

Whether or not it is easier to start over is up to you. But taking the door out may be the only way to ensure that the door is sitting on a consistent level surface. If you put any new plywood down on the sill, (your strip of Advantek) you should have shimmed UNDER that plywood first to ensure it was level before you did any of your flexwrapping.

One trick that sometimes helps (once your sill is level and if the door is out) is to take a bunch of 3/16" shims and stick them around the door perimeter. 3 per side... 3 between the doors... a couple above each door. This will maintain the right clearances everywhere as long as you keep the doors shut. Put the door in, then go inside, center the door where you want it and shim the door corners. put a finish screw through the shims you installed in each corner. Check that the hinges are plumb on the exterior. Hopefully if the sill is level, the hinges will be plumb. Then you can open the doors and shim/screw the hinges., being careful not to twist the frame as you shim and screw. Overshimming will appear to affect the squareness of the door and the reveal between the doors and between each door and its jamb.
Old 11-09-18, 05:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 46
XSleeper, I wrote long message but for some reason it failed to post and was lost.

Anyhow, just wanted to say Thank You!

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