How to Fix Common Window Problems
Learn how to maintain and repair common problems on wood or vinyl windows, such as sticking, rotten sills and removing glass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your door's hinges are too loose, use a large wood drill bit to bore out a hole in the door jamb at each existing screw hole (image 1). Apply wood adhesive to the end of a cut section of dowel (image 2). Tap the dowel into the hole (image 3). Continue adding dowels into the holes as required (image 4). Allow the glue to dry. Cut off the exposed dowel ends with a chisel (image 5). Redrill pilot holes for screws into the dowels, and rehang the door (image 6).
"Packing out" can help a door to open and close if it is binding on its hinges. It is also a good solution if too much wood has been removed from the frame or door to fit a hinge. Remove the door. Cut out pieces of cardboard to the exact shape of the hinge recess (image 1). Position the cardboard in the hinge recess (image 2). Rehang the door. Test the door, adding more pieces of cardboard if required. Repeat for other hinges on the frame.
If you are moving the door to the other side of the frame, fill in the old hinge recesses in the frame by cutting a piece of wood with the exact dimensions of the former hinge position. Glue the wood in position, with the patch sitting slightly above the surrounding surface (images 1 and 2). Once dry, plane the patch down to the exact level of the surrounding wood, then fill and decorate as required (image 3).
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