Fix a Door
Door fit problems: Several issues may contribute to improper door fit.
All should be addressed prior to full replacement of an entry door.
Door guide and guide shoe: These are nylon parts which glide together
at the door bottom and the door sill. They work to support the door on the
locking (non-hinge) side, and are secured by screws. Assure that these are
both in place. Removal of either part will not correct door misalignment, which
is caused by other problems.
Door sag: This can be caused by excessive weight on the door while
opening and closing, which causes the upper hinges to distort. Check this by
looking down the hinge side of the door from above (you will need a ladder for
this.) All three hinge sets must be in alignment. If it is necessary to
replace any hinge sets, be sure to support the open door as you remove the
screws. Otherwise, additional hinge damage may occur.
Improper installation: The nature of the door (main frame secured to
the wall, door hanging by hinges on one side) means that proper installation
technique is crucial:
The door opening must be of consistent width and 1/2"
greater than the door width. The door must be placed as far to the hinge side of
the opening as possible, which will permit the lock to engage properly.
The sides of the opening must be plumb (vertical.)
Check this by marking 60 inches up from the bottom of the opening on each side.
Then measure diagonally to the opposite lower corner. The diagonal
measurements must be equal +/- 1/16th". If the measurements differ more, the
opening cutout must be corrected before the door is reinstalled.
The opening must be flat and rigid. Check this by
holding a long (minimum 4 ft) straightedge on the outer face of the opening on
both sides. Slide it up and down to assure the surface is consistently flat. Any
curvature, top or bottom, will contribute to improper sealing of the door to its
Door locking problems: If the door lock fails to engage
properly, check for:
Misalignment or improper installation (see above.)
Striker bolts loose: These are the large twin screws
protruding from the door lock into the door jamb. If they are loose, remove
them, apply Loctite™ to the threads, and reinstall.
Door lock malfunction: Remove the screws which attach
the lock to the inside of the door. Remove any handles or knobs and the inside
lock plate. Once the interior of the lock is visible, check for the presence of
any debris in the lock cavity. If present, clean it out. Check that any springs
have not come loose. If they have, reattach them. Check that the mechanism is
working while the parts are in view. Try lubricating any moving parts that seem
to be binding. If none of these actions improve lock performance, the lock may
have to be replaced.