Interior doors take a lot of abuse, even with careful handling. They are opened and closed dozens of times each day, and because of indoor humidity, layers of paint, and a host of other problems, they can begin sticking, rubbing against the door frame, and they might even stop latching. Interior doors that do not close properly are easy to repair, and common problems can be remedied without hiring a professional. Depending on the source of the problem, the door might not even have to be removed to complete the repair.
Humidity and Interior Door Problems
Fluctuating humidity can cause wood doors to contract and expand, and this can interfere with opening and closing. The hinges of doors that are difficult to open take a great deal of abuse, as do the handles and doorknobs, and it important to repair the problem as soon as possible. If doors are in need of repair because of humidity issues, begin by investing in a dehumidifier to pull excess moisture out of the air. If this does not solve the problem it will be necessary to sand or plane down any high spots that are causing the door to stick.
To locate the general area where a door is sticking, run a thin piece of cardboard along the edge of the closed door and the frame. The area where the piece of cardboard becomes stuck is the area that will require repair. Mark the area with a sharpened pencil, and sand the location with medium-grit sandpaper. If this does not solve the problem the door will have to be planed. It is not necessary to remove the door from its hinges to complete this repair. Keep the door open with the help of two large rubber wedges, one placed on each side of the door, and plane the edge until it opens and closes without sticking.
How to Repair Interior Hinge Problems
Recessed or misaligned hinges are also one of the most common problems with interior doors, and they sometimes require repair. Check the wood screws that hold the hinges in place, and if they are loose and appear to be stripped, remove the screws, drill out the holes, and glue narrow dowel rods in the openings using high-quality wood glue. Wipe away any excess glue, and cut off the dowel rods flush with the door frame. After the glue has dried, drill pilot holes before reattaching the hinges with wood screws.
Sometimes door hinges are too shallow and cause the hinge leaves to bind. This is also easy to repair and can be completed within a matter of minutes. Simply remove the door from the hinges, and remove the hinges as well. Use a small chisel to slightly deepen the recess before reattaching the hinges. Hang the door and this simple repair should solve the problem.
Door hinges are sometimes placed too deep, and this is also easy to repair. Remove the door and the hinges from the door frame. Build up the recess with a cardboard shim, and reattach the hinges. Once the repair is complete, the door should open and close with ease.
Painted doors sometimes begin sticking because of a buildup. Check for chipped or worn areas and try the same initial method of repair used for binding doors. Begin by sanding down the area that appears to be sticking with a sanding block. If this does not work consider using paint remover, and scrape away the excess paint that is causing the door to stick. It might not be necessary to remove the door, and once the area dries and is sanded smooth it can be repainted with a thin coating of paint. Allow the paint to dry according to product label instructions before closing the door.
How to Repair Interior Latches that Stick
Interior latches sometimes begin sticking, and this is a common problem that is also easy to repair. Tighten hardware screws, and apply graphite spray to the bolt and the strike plate. If this does not do the trick, use a pencil to mark the bolt. Close the door and open it. Look for pencil marks on the jamb. If the bolt is not reaching the jamb the strike plate might be out of alignment, or something could be in the way of the bolt. Check the hole in the molding for an obstruction such as a wood chip or a build up of paint, and clean it out if necessary. Otherwise, adjust the strike plate accordingly, and carefully chisel out the hole to accommodate the bolt.
Sometimes the strike plate is set too far back, and this is a common problem that also requires repair. Plastic shims can be purchased that will build up the impression the strike plate rests upon if it is set too deep within the door frame. Sometimes it is necessary to stack two or three shims to bring the strike plate out far enough to catch the bolt and repair the problem.
It really is very easy to repair and adjust interior doors. Instead of struggling with doors that will not close, doors that stick, and doors that will not latch, give these ideas a try. Once you successfully repair and adjust an interior door, you will be prepared to tackle bigger repair issues and problems. You can do it yourself!