How to Fix a Door That Won’t Open or Shut Properly

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How to Fix a Door That Won’t Open or Shut Properly

Depending on the age of the house, what time of year it is, and even most commonly if the doors had recently been painted, you may have problems opening or shutting them properly.  They will be hard to shut and when they are shut, they are hard to open.  As luck would have it, there are a couple of easy ways to fix the problem and it should take no more than an hour of your time. How to Fix a Door That Won’t Open or Shut Properly.

Before You Start

Before you start it is important to inspect the door for the root of the problem.  There are 3 main causes of doors that don’t open or shut as they should.  One of the most common reasons is because the door hinges are loose. Another common reason is that there is a build-up of paint along the edge of the door and the door frame. In colder conditions, this may not be a factor but during the warmer months, the wood in the door and frame will swell and cause the door to stick.  Finally, if it is an older door, the door joints may be loose and separated, again causing it to stick.  Below are quick fix solutions for each one of these potential causes.

Tools Needed

1. Screwdriver (probably a “Philips” type but it may be a “Flathead” type

2. Wood Glue

3. Small Flat Head Screwdriver

4. Stiff putty knife or wallpaper scraper

5. Small amount of chemical paint remover (possible, but don’t buy before you need it)

6. Light to medium grade sand paper

Also, it is an essential that you are safety conscious.  This means that you should be wearing these items when you start your project.

7. Eye protection

8. Gloves  (if you are going to use a chemical paint remover, you must read the manufacturer instructions and safety information before you use the product)

Start Your ProjectLoose Hinges

Loose Hinges

1.  Open your door part way and push on edge of the door toward the hinges. If it feels loose,  there’s a good chance that the hinges are not secured to the door frame.

2.  If the screws are loose, then tighten them with your screwdriver.  Repeat step one to see if this solves the problem.

3. If the hinges are still loose after tightening the screws or the screws keep coming loose, then the screw holes are most likely stripped.  To fix this problem, go to the next step.

4. Take one of the screws from the hinge and make a visit to your local home improvement or DIY retailer.  Find a screw that is of the same dimensions as the screw you removed and purchase one that is ¼ to 1/3 longer in length.

5. Using your wood glue, fill the hole that is stripped with the glue.

6. Screw in the longer screw that you purchased and close the door.  You should keep the door closed long enough for the glue to dry before using it as normal (usually 12-24 hours)

Paint Build-up Along Door Edges

If it is summer time and doors have recently been painted, there is a good chance that the doors are sticking because the wood is swelling and there is a build-up of paint along the edge of the door.  To solve this problem follow these instructions.

1. Locate the area or areas of the door edge that are rubbing on or touching the door frame.

2. Using your fine grade sand paper, sand the areas identified on both the door edge and frame.  This may take some time to get the paint low enough for the door to open and close easily.  If the paint build-up is substantial, you may want to use a medium grade sandpaper instead.  If this solves the problem, great, your job is done.  If not read on.

3. If you need to remove all the paint for the door to open and close, now is the time to apply the chemical paint remover. Remember, it is IMPORTANT that you first read the manufactures instructions and safety notices.

4. Once the paint remover has been applied and it has had time to activate, use your stiff blade putty knife or wallpaper scraper to remove the paint.

It is a good idea to remove the paint along the entire door edge and door frame where it meets the door. This way you will ensure you get an even surface along all edges.

5. Next, check to make sure the door opens and closes with ease.  If it does not, you will need to sand the edges of the door and door frame so that the door opens and closes properly.

6. Now that door is back to working order, you may want to consider applying 1-2 coats of paint to the areas you treated.

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