Tackle problematic doors like a pro with these easy how-tos.
Over time, there’s bound to be some problem occurring with your doors at home. Here are some common ones and the solutions to help get your door back in full swing.
Squeaky door driving you nuts? The problem is dirty hinges. Identify the squeaky hinge, clean it and apply some lubricant to silence it. With a hammer and thick nail, tap out the hinge pin from underneath. Use a fine steel wool to remove dirt and rust. Spray the entire hinge, including the pin, with WD-40.
Doors can sag in their frame and become misaligned with the latch over time. Often, all that’s needed is to adjust loose hinges. Prop the door up with a thin book to level it to the right height, then tighten the hinge screws. For this job, use a screwdriver, not a drill – so you won’t over-tighten the screw and chew up the screw heads.
Doors that bind and stick
If a door binds or rubs against the jamb, it’s likely because of two things: 1) there’s dirt or paint buildup (due to repeated repainting), or 2) humidity has caused the door to swell up. First, use a pencil to mark the spot that binds and determine how much of the surface needs to be removed. If there’s paint buildup, chisel off the excess. If the door has expanded, unhinge it and sand down (with coarse sandpaper) or plane off (using a jack plane) the problematic spots.
Doors sliding out of tracks
Sliding doors get “sticky” and hard to open when the wheels are out of adjustment or the tracks are dirty. Start with a good cleaning – vacuum debris in the tracks, then use a brush and soapy water to remove all caked dirt and grime. The metal guides that hold the sliding doors can also get bent out of shape, causing the door to slide out of track. To reform them, use a scrap piece of wood (or a large piece from a child’s wood block set) that is just thick enough to fit snugly into the track slots. Secure the wood in place and use a mallet to pound the track guides back into their correct position.
"If you don’t have WD-40, use any of these household items to lubricate hinges: bar soap, petroleum jelly, cooking oil or spray, or paraffin candle."