How to Repair an Entry Door that Won't Close Properly

Lead Image
  • 2-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • $50-100
What You'll Need
Assortment of screwdrivers
Replacement weather stripping
Replacement door knob (if needed)
Belt sander or planer

There are any number of reasons one may need to repair an entry door: settling of the structure, an excess or inadequate weatherstripping, a poorly fitting knob or latch handle. Whatever the reason, rarely is it that the door is faulty and needs replacement. With a little close observation and some standard tools, a poorly fitting door can be restored to optimal function and operation. An entry door is a critical component of a home or building; it provides security to the home and keeps the elements outdoors and contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the structure. Any and all of these considerations are reason to repair an entry door to ensure it closes properly. Here are some basic strategies to restore the door to proper functioning.

Step 1 - Appraise the Door Knob

First, if the door is not closing properly or the door latching mechanism does not engage when the door is all the way closed, visually inspect to make sure the latch and the striker are matching up appropriately. If one is off by even one-quarter of an inch, this can prevent the door from closing securely. If the two are lining up appropriately, but the latch is simply not functioning appropriately, replace the knob. They are inexpensive and there are a variety of them on the market to choose from. Replacing the knob consists of removing the screws for the existing one, removing the knob, replacing it with the new one, and attaching the two screws. While these are the basic steps, review the directions for your specific model to ensure there are no additional steps necessary.

Step 2 - Adjust the Door

You can frequently make slight adjustments to how the door is hanging to solve problems with it closing properly. Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws on the hinge of the door. Start with either the door side of the hinge or the jamb, but stick with one side at a time. Once the screws are loosened, slightly adjust the position of the door and tighten the screws when the door is in the new, correct position. Structures shift, which can affect how doors fit.

Step 3 - Accommodate the Climate

Heat and humidity will make wood swell. Swollen wood is not conducive to a tightly closing door. If you think that the climate may be the culprit of the door not closing, you can use the sander or a plane to remove tiny amounts of wood off the edges of the door to help facilitate a proper fit in all seasons. Keep in mind not to take too much off as in the winter you may have the opposite problem; the door closes but allows a lot of cold air in.

Step 4 - Adjust the Weather Stripping

An excess of weatherstripping around any of the door's edges or surface will prevent the door from closing properly. If this is the case, replace the weatherstripping or shave the existing weatherstripping down. An electric knife works on any kind of foam very well.