Do you have a door that sticks or doesn’t close properly? You are not alone. Many factors can contribute to this problem. Let’s learn how fixing common door problems can be easy.

Fixing common door problems pin this image

Fixing Common Door Problems

Do you have a door that sticks or doesn’t close properly? Or maybe your door rubs, squeaks, or is drafty. Regardless of the problem, I’m going to show you how to fix your most common door problems! But first, a big thank you to Schlage, the 100-year-old leading door hardware company, for sponsoring this article.

If you have common door problems, you are not alone. Many factors can contribute to them: house movement, humidity, dry air, improper installation, slamming doors, or kids swinging on them (true story). Without being able to control many of these factors, it’s important to know how to fix your door problems – as your door is often a main focal point of the room and/or entryway.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Door Not Latching:

A door that doesn’t latch properly is usually a simple fix. Lean down until you are at eye-level with your doorknob. Look at the gap between the door and the door frame. Is the latch centered on the strike plate?

latch too low on strike plate

If not, that’s why your door doesn’t latch. Here’s how to fix it. Determine the center of the latch. Remove the strike plate and move it to center on the latch.  Mark the new location of the strike plate. Chisel the door frame as needed.

chisel strike plate area out

Reattach the strike plate and test the door. You can see in the photo below the latch is now centered with the strike plate and the latch can now slide into the strike plate properly.

Latch and strike plate lined up

(Like the knob above? It’s a Schlage Plymouth in Bright Brass, but comes in a variety of finishes.)

Door Not Closing Tight Against Stop:

If your door rattles loose in the frame and doesn’t close properly against the stop, it can be as simple as moving the strike plate closer to the stop.

Important: If this problem happens on a door between the garage and the house, it could be a potential safety issue! The door between the garage and the house must protect the residents from carbon monoxide gases potentially leaking in from a car’s exhaust. With this in mind, it’s important to fix this problem immediately!

Luckily, fixing a door that doesn’t close tightly is a simple one to remedy. But, there are two solutions depending on your type of strike plate. (Is your strike plate adjustable or non-adjustable?)

door won't shut tight vs. door closes against stop

If You Have an Adjustable Strike Plate:

Look closely, does your door strike plate have a small screw holding a sliding tab to the strike plate? If this looks like your strike plate, the solution is simple.

common door problems strike plate

Loosen this screw and adjust the tab closer to the door stop.

door problems adjust latch

Tighten the screw and try closing your door again. Continue to adjust the tab until your door shuts properly and stays closed.

If You Have a Non-Adjustable Strike Plate:

Non-adjustable strike plates don’t have an adjustable tab, but your fix is still easy. Remove the strike plate and reposition it closer to the stop.

moved strike plate

Sticking Doors or Doors that Won’t Close

Look at the space around the door. Is there a gap at the top or bottom? Normally, the door will stick at the top corner opposite of the hinges because over time the weight of the door will pull away from top hinges.

To fix a door that sticks or rubs in the frame, you can try one of these fixes:

  • Tighten screws
  • Add longer screws
  • Add a shim behind a lower hinge

Let’s take a look at this french door. The door rubs at the top when trying to close it.

french doors rubbing at top

Open the door and look at the hinges. Do any of them need to be tightened? Well look at that! This door is missing a screw.

missing screw in hinge

Try to tighten the screws. If they just spin, the wood has been stripped. You can either add longer screws or fill in the holes with toothpicks.

Replace with Longer Screws

Remove the hinge screws and use longer screws that drive through the door jamb and into the framing.

long and short screw in hand

How to Fix Stripped Screw Holes:

Remove the screws from one hinge at a time. Squeeze some wood glue onto several toothpicks. Pack the hole with toothpicks.

insert toothpicks into stripped screw holes

Let the glue dry. Cut off the excess toothpick with a utility knife (or use a chisel if you don’t have your knife with you.)

chisel off extra toothpick

Drive screws back into the hinges.

drive longer screws into door hinge

Better yet, replace the screws with longer ones that will grip into the framing behind the door jamb.

Hopefully this will fix your door. You can see below the door shuts and the spacing is even between the french doors.

Is Your Door Out of Alignment?

Door still rubbing? Occasionally a door will get out of alignment. To fix this, first, look at the door and determine where the gaps are bigger.

For the door above, try simply loosening the screws from the top hinge 1/4 turn or more. If this doesn’t work, try tightening the screws into the hinges at the bottom. If it’s still not fixed, you’ll need to try shimming the door hinge.

Shimming Door Hinges:

Sometimes a door hinge needs to be shimmed to adjust the door in the frame. If the spacing is tight behind one hinge, you can adjust it slightly to correct uneven spacing around the door.

common door problem fixes

The door above still shows a tight spot near the top right hinge. To shim it slightly, add a piece of chipboard (cereal box cardboard) behind the hinge.

door problems shim hinges

If you need a thicker shim, you can use the end of a wood shim.

add shim behind hinge

Replace the screws in the hinge and test your door. Is it still rubbing?

replace door hinge screws

Recessing a Hinge:

Occasionally, you might need to set a hinge deeper into the door or the frame. You can use a chisel to remove a small amount of material from the jamb or the door. If you don’t have a chisel or are worried about taking out too much, use the small sanding bit on a Dremel.

dremel door hinges

Door Rubbing on Top:

Have a door that swells when the temperature or humidity changes? To fix a door that rubs along the top in different seasons, you’ll want to sand or plane the top. This doesn’t involve buying a ticket or boarding an airplane. Planing is removing material from the edge of wood. You can try using sandpaper with a coarse grit to sand it down, but if that doesn’t work, reach for a hand planer.

plane top of door

As you run the planer across the top of the door it literally shaves off some of the wood. Simple design, but very effective.

Door Scraping on the Floor:

door scraping floor

A door that rubs on the floor or carpet is not only annoying, but it can scratch your floors. Time to fix this problem!

Get a helper to assist with removing the door. Close the door completely.

Position a scraper or flat pry bar just under the hinge pin head. Gently tap the end of the pry bar with a hammer to raise the hinge pin. Remove the hinge pin from the top and bottom hinges first.

remove hinge pin

Remove the middle hinge pin last but have your assistant nearby to hold the door in the frame. As the assistant opens the door, be ready to lift it off the hinges.

Lay the door on sawhorses. Tape the button of the door with painter’s tape to protect from chipping.

cut off bottom of door

Use a circular saw, track saw, or power planer to remove a portion of the bottom of the door.

Plane doors from the edge to center

Replace the door and check to see if it still rubs.

Exterior Door is Hard to Open:

If your exterior door is hard to open, it might be from a loosened threshold piece. You can try to tighten the threshold screws or replace the threshold and sweep at the same time.

driving screws into door threshold

Also check to see if the door sweep has lowered. Unscrew the sweep and raise it on the door. Tighten the screws.

raise door sweep

Door Latch Sticks in the Door

If the latch is sticking in the door, you can try one of three fixes:

  • Loosen the screws on the doorknob. (Tightening the screws on your doorknob too much can cause the knobs to bind.)
  • Remove the knobs, spray a little lubricant onto the latch inside the door. Replace the knobs and turn them to distribute the lubricant.
  • Finally if all else fails, it might be time to replace the doorknobs. Believe it or not this is a quick fix and can be done in five minutes.

Save yourself the headache of doorknobs that stop working smoothly and purchase Schlage brand door hardware from the start. Schlage has been producing high-quality door hardware in a variety of types, looks, and finishes for more than a century and will continue to do so in the years to come. Whether traditional, modern, or technology, Schlage products offer a limited lifetime mechanical and finish warranty and a three-year limited electronics warranty.

How to Replace Door Knobs | Pretty Handy Girl

Squeaking Doors

Doors that squeak mean the hinges need lubrication. Simply spray a lubricant like WD-40 just under the top of the hinge pin. Be sure to have a rag handy to catch any drips.

Fixing Common Screen Door Problems | Pretty Handy Girl

Open and close the door several times to help the lubricant work its way down the hinge. Your door should be squeak free now.

Door Knob Hits the Wall

Door knobs that hit a wall can put dents or holes in the wall if left alone. The solution is quick. Either add a door stop behind the door at the baseboard…

door stop behind door at baseboard

…or add a hinge pin adjustable door stopper to the top door hinge.

hinge pin adjustable door stopper

Drafty Doors

Cold drafts wafting in around your door? The solution is as simple as installing (or adjusting) the weatherstripping. If you can see light coming in around your door, it’s guaranteed to let drafts in too!

Adding Foam Weatherstripping | Pretty Handy Girl

Simply adding adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping around the door will stop those drafts in their tracks.

Look Ma, no more light, no more drafts!

Adding Foam Weatherstripping | Pretty Handy Girl

Adding a door sweep to the bottom of the door will keep out drafts from the bottom of the door. In addition, a well-fitted sweep will also keep insects and spiders from making an entrance under your door.

white door sweep on yellow door

That pretty much sums up fixing common door problems. Next time you have an issue with your door, you can fix it yourself!

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Disclosure: This article has been sponsored by Schlage. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I’m very particular about the brands I work with. I only recommend products and brands that I use myself. I was compensated for my time, but I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.

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How to Fix common Door Problems

10 Cool DIY Gifts for Handy Guy or Girl on Your List

As an avid DIYer, I know that Father’s Day is a good time to pick up great bargains on DIY tools and more. Sometimes picking out the right gift for that handy person in your life can be a little daunting. Therefore, I’ve created a list of cool products that I love and I know your “handy” person would too. And, hey, if this list is for the handy gal instead, then so be it!

Here are 10 Cool Gifts that Every Handy Guy (or Gal) Would Love, to fit any budget (contains affiliate links.) Read more

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

My favorite place to write my tutorials is outside on our screen porch when the weather is pleasant. I love listening to the birds and feeling the breeze blow through the screens. Up until this weekend, I was using an old card table as a desk. But, it was heavy, large and awkward. I wanted a table that was the perfect height and that I could fold and store away when I wasn’t using it.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

As a brand ambassador for Dremel, I enjoyed the challenge of designing plans for this simple farmhouse style folding laptop/writing table. The materials are simple 2 x 4’s and 3/4 inch plywood. The majority of the steps can be done using simple handheld tools like a drill, Dremel Multi-Max and the Dremel Ultra-Saw. (Feel free to use other tools or alter the plans to fit your size preferences.)

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Cut list:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Top:

  • 3/4″ finish grade plywood cut to 18″ x 36″

Apron (use 1×3 boards or you can rip excess plywood):

  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 14 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 34″

Legs:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 28 1/4″
  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 26 3/4″
  • 1 – 2″ x 2″ cut to 14 1/2″ (if ripping a 2″ x 2″ yourself, remember actual size is 1.5″ x 1.5″)
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ cut to 14 3/8″

Hardware:

Tools:

Additional materials:

Instructions:

Cut your lumber to the size specified above in the cut list. Read more

finish-nailer-comparison

A finish nailer is a great tool to have in your workshop.  It’s great for small projects, installing moulding, wall planking and more. After using both types of finish nailers for many projects, I wanted to break down the pros and cons of each.
Compressor_finish_nailer_combo_kitI was able to score this Campbell-Hausfeld nailer and compressor combo around Father’s Day at Lowe’s for $69! (Normal MSRP is $99.) I’ve used the compressor-powered nailer for many years on an assortment of DIY projects (like my Art & Craft Studio scrap wood wall.)  I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s reliable, lightweight and can fire a variety of length finish nails and U-staples. For the value, you can’t go wrong. The cons of the Campbell Hausfeld are mostly related to the compressor. It is very loud when the air tank is recharging. It’s a little bulky to store and haul around. You are limited to the length of your air hose and a power source. And you must empty the tank and maintain it periodically.

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Ryobi-nail-strike

In all the ways that the Campbell-Hausfeld fails, the Ryobi Air Strike excels. It doesn’t take up as much room to store. No compressor needed because it is essentially built into the tool. As long as the battery is charged you are ready to fire nails on a moment’s notice. The light helps illuminate in dark working areas. You aren’t tethered to an air hose or compressor. This allows you the freedom to wander anywhere with the nail gun. And it is quiet (with the exception of the bang when firing the nail.)

The downsides are it doesn’t shoot U-staples. The gun itself is heavier to hold because of the battery and size of the gun. If you lose charge in the battery you have to wait a while for it to charge. Finally, the price is slightly higher than the MSRP of the Campbell-Hausfeld at $129.

Update: I’ve had a few occasions where my Ryobi Air Strike has quit firing. Usually I can get it working again by unlatching the front of the gun and checking it for jams or reloading with new nails. Recently at a DIY conference, I learned that I’m not the only person who has had this problem. So far the nail gun still works, hopefully it will continue to do so.

2nd Update: After another winter of the Ryobi Air Strike refusing to fire after every other nail, I’ve finally decided to pitch it. I’m in the process of testing a Porter-Cable 18 gauge 20 volt brad nailer and a DeWalt 16 gauge Angled Finish Nailer.

I hope this comparison helps you select your own finish nail gun.

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Want to learn how to use a finish nailer? Check out my tool tutorial videos and more!

 

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Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

A few months ago I got an email asking me if I wanted to test an Xtend + Climb telescoping ladder. I said I’d be happy to try it, but I couldn’t promise I’d blog about it. I try lots of products, but only the ones I love get mentioned on the blog. The litmus test is if I would recommend it to a close friend. If I would, then I share it with you (because y’all are like friends I just haven’t met yet.)

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The 760P Xtend + Climb ladder arrived in a compact box. When it arrived, I doubted that it really contained a 14.5ft ladder. But, sure enough inside was the telescoping ladder. Over the course of three months, I truly gave it a work out. I used it to clean the gutters and… Read more

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

Christmas is next week? Christmas is next week! Who else is still running around buying those last minute gifts? {Me raising my hand.}

If you have someone on your list who is an avid DIYer, I have a new list of the Top 10 Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer in your life! These tools will transform the newbie DIY junkie giving them better street cred and true rock star status! (Results may vary.) In all seriousness, these are the tools and products that I found helpful this year.

In order from  least to most expensive Top 10 DIY Gift Ideas: Read more


I’m so thrilled to be healthy again, that I’m doing a happy dance (see the video below if you want to witness it.) The pneumonia is gone and my boys are back in school. Can I get a “Woot Woot!”?

The bonus room/art studio renovation is rockin’ and rollin’ again and I have some progress to show you: Read more

 

Wheee, it’s another episode of Tool Tutorial Friday! Do y’all miss TTF? I do too, but this handy gal only has so many tools in her toolbox. I added a new one a few weeks ago, a soldering iron.

When I was in college, I took a stained glass elective (one of the benefits of going to art school.) I really enjoyed the course, but once the semester was over I didn’t pick up a soldering iron again. That was 20 years ago. Just this month, someone in our neighborhood posted online that they were selling a soldering iron. I immediately jumped on the chance. But, this time I didn’t have stained glass in mind, I had these DIY farmhouse lights on the brain!

As promised, here is the tutorial on how to solder. Read more

Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. Read more

Many of you guessed correctly that I would be scraping my own popcorn ceilings.

It wasn’t hard to do, but it also isn’t for the bad neck or bad back sufferers. Normally I hire out this job — but because our laundry room is so small — it seemed silly to pay someone else to do the work. Now that it is done, I’m really glad I decided to tackle this project. The sense of accomplishment and the resulting smooth ceiling is HUGE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in a house that was built around 1978, take several small samples of your ceiling and test it for asbestos before you begin. Even though the cutoff date for asbestos in popcorn texture was 1978, the inventory could still be bought from store shelves well into the 1980’s. Do yourself and your family a favor, If you have asbestos popcorn contact a professional who is trained in asbestos removal to handle the job. If you want to learn more, you can read more about our experience with asbestos remediation.

 

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