3 Quick Fixes for a Door That Won’t Stay Closed

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 72,694
    Gary Wentz, an Editor with the Family Handyman Magazine, shows you how to fix a door that doesn’t close unless you give it a good hard-push.

    Gary Wentz: Hi! I'm Gary Wentz, an Editor with the Family Handyman Magazine, the leader in DIY Home Improvement. Today we're talking about door fixes, and now I'm going to show you how to fix a door, that doesn't close unless you give it a good hard-push. There are three common causes of this problem, and your first step is to identify which one it is. The easiest thing to do and your first step is to take a look at the strike plate here. You can see on this one that the wear is not centered up here, it's down low, and that tells me that the latch is landing too low to fall into this hole, when you close the door. The solution is pretty simple; you just grind out a hole in the strike plate to enlarge it, and in this case, lower it, so that the latch can fit in. You can do this with any standard metal file, but I'd like to use a rotary tool. Now if you're going to use one of these, you got to have eye-protection and hearing protection. Well, it's the first problem and the first solution for a door that wouldn't close without a good hard push. The next problem we're going to talk about has to do with this piece of trim here, called the Stop Molding; let me show you what I mean. Here on the other side of our set you can see that the door is hitting the Stop Molding down here towards the bottom, but as we move up the gap grows and grows and the door isn't able to close far enough to engage the latch back inside here. And now to fix that problem, most carpenters just use brute force, you just need a block of wood and a hammer, hammer the block to move the Stop Molding, close the door, see if you moved it far enough, and if you didn't, try again. Well, that is how to do it. Now this fix is going to leave you with one little problem and that's a skinny strip of unfinished wood beside the Door Stop Molding, but that's easy to fix with a stain pine. Another problem that can cause a door to close really hard is a too tight fit between the jamb and the door. Basically they bump into each other and the door isn't able to close, and obviously there's a nice wide gap up here, plenty of room for the door to close easily, but as we get down here, the gap narrows and narrows. And right below the hinge here I suspect it's biding. The door is striking the jamb before it can close properly. The way to test for this is just use a piece of paper. Open the door a little, stick in the paper, if the paper doesn't pull out easily, you know you've got a problem. To create a little more space between the door and the jamb, I'm going to move the hinge outward slightly by putting a little shim under it. In this case this shim is just a piece of milk carton, and that's usually enough to move the door out a little. So I unscrewed this leaf of the hinge, I'm going to stick my shim in there, force the hinge back into place and put the screw back in.

    There, the door that closes without a shove, follow these tips to fix your problems.