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How to Fix Sticking, Rattling Doors and Loose Hinges (page 1 of 2)

Fix common problems with doors that are too tight or too loose, or learn how to switch the side that the door opens on.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Test Door for Proper Opening and Closing

Problems and Solutions:

Doors can stick due to the door edge binding against the frame floor or when the entire bottom rubs against the floor. They rattle if they are too loose or if the doorstop is wrongly positioned. Planing sides, moving the strike plate and moving the doorstop will fix these problems. Tightening hinges will help the door close properly.

Sticking Door: Plane the Sides

If the door is binding against frame or floor, you need to gently remove the wood. Mark on the door edge, with a pencil, where it touches the frame. For elongated areas, draw a pencil guide line along the door edge (image 1). Open the door and plane along the edge, down to the guide line (image 2). Check that the door fits; replane if necessary. If there is not enough room for a plane, remove the door from its hinges. Do not risk damaging the plane on the metallic latch surface. Remove the latch before planing, and/or recess the latch in the door slightly farther in.

Rubs on the Floor: Scribe Bottom

If entire bottom edge binds against floor, measure the exact height needed to clear floor level (image 1). Cut a small off-cut of wood to the height that you have just measured. With a pencil on top, move the off-cut across the floor to trace an exact line on the door (image 2). Remove the door from the frame and plane down the guide line (image 3). If a large amount of wood needs to be removed, use a saw.

Rattling: Move the Strike Plate

Doors that fit too loosely in their frame will rattle because the strike plate is in the wrong position. To move the strike plate, measure the gap between the door latch and the closing edge (image 1). Transfer this measurement to the area between the frame edge and the strike-plate opening (image 2). Move the strike plate to this position. Pilot hole the screw points. Chisel out any further wood from the door jamb to accommodate the strike plate’s new position.

If the strike plate is too far forward in the frame, filing the plate's inner edge may be all that is needed.

Rattling: Move the Door Stop

A door could also rattle if the doorstop has been wrongly positioned. To move the doorstop, pry off any doorstop sections that do not fit properly against the door when closed. Reattach the removed sections, making sure they touch the door edge along their full length when the door is closed.

Reattach Removed Doorstop Sections to Fix Rattle

Courtesy of DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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