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Sagging Door.
 Will Not Latch,  
What is my door made of,  How do I install my door


Sagging door


What does it mean "Sagging Door"

The door looks to be not square but why? Is there some force unknown that is scratching off some edges and not the others? No Way! This is many times incorrectly diagnosed even by the neighborhood handyman. It most likely is not the door at all. It will probably prove to be the door jamb. The jamb is wood and held in place by the casing which is nailed to it around the edges. The casing acts as a bridge between the door jamb and the wall. It is nailed onto both the door jamb and on the wall edge of the casing also. This locks the two of them together. If there is not enough nails the jamb may tend to shift a little after a period of time. A good handyman would remove one of the top screws when he installs the door and install a longer screw which would grab the wood behind the door jamb. This would prevent the jamb from shifting or bowing. Of course if you get these neat little hanging items which hang over the door and holds 10 or 20 pairs of shoes, this will also cause the door to sag in time. It is a very good idea to avoid using any of these items which hang on the top of the door. The hinges are fixed to the door by screws which are screwed into the edge wood. This wood is approximately one inch thick and does not support much more than the weight of the door alone.

Fix it! How? Most of the time you will find that one screw will do the job. Just one screw can pull the door back up to where it belongs, straighten it up in the jamb and may even help it close correctly. Sometimes the door will not latch closed when it sags to far. We will cover the not latching problem in a paragraph soon. Look at the hinge in the following picture.




Check first by gently picking up on the door by the door knob with the door slightly open. If there are any screws loose, you may need to replace them with a longer screw to grab deeper into the wood. If they do not appear to be loose than our next step is this. You will see the hinge has three holes or three screws in each half of the hinge. At this time we will work with the screws that hold it to the door jamb. Choose one screw which is furthest away from the door and closest to the center of the door jamb. If you choose a screw nearest the door, you will most likely put the new screw into the drywall which will not hold anything. Choose one of the holes furthest from the door. Replace it with a screw approximately 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. Make certain the screw has the first 3/4 inch next to the screw head, smooth and without threads. It must be slick for the screw to slip in the wood of the jamb while the threads pull the jamb closer to the stud behind the jamb. This will rotate the door slightly. What do we mean by rotate? Looking at the first picture above you will see the door is closer at the side near the top than at the bottom. It also has a wider gap at the top than it does on the opposite side. It acts as if the door had a nail through the center and just simply rotated on it as it starts to fall toward one side. This is the effect you would have. We simply need to rotate it back up with the one screw which would grab the door jack stud behind the jamb. This will prevent the door from sagging again .


Will not latch?


My door will not latch

If your door is not latching closed and will come open without force or does not need the door knob to turn to open the door, it is probably due to a sagging door. Before adjusting or moving your strike plate to a new position, Try the one screw as described above. This may square your door and correct the problem of the door not latching closed at the same time. Why make it harder than it is. Determine the problem first than correct it. Don't give in to the GUESS. Understand and know the problem. Than you can correct the problem in the shortest period of time and least amount of cost as possible..


Door interior
Interior of Door


What is my door made of?    

The door does not tolerate much of anything hanging on it due to the way it is put together nor does it tolerate abuse of a hammer or someone beating on it. The inside of the door is made with very little interior as you will see in the next photo. It has solid wood around the edges which is only approximately (1) one inch thick and has a cardboard glued in a woven pattern throughout the rest of the door. There is a solid block of wood in one area which is where the door knob goes. Many neighborhood handymen do not even acknowledge the block of wood and they install the door backwards. This is because they do not know about this specialized area and most doors are not marked when they are purchased from the store. The block of wood for the door knob can be identified by simply TAPPING on the door. It will sound more solid on the edge where the door knob goes. Install the hinges on the opposite edge of the door. As you can see in the picture, there is nothing solid throughout the door so please do not nail to it. The thickness of the wood you are nailing into is only 1/4 inch thick at most and in many cases is only 1/8th inch thick. This will not hold much of anything you would nail to an interior door.


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How do I install my new door

First you must decide if you want to install the new entire door unit or simply the door itself. The unit of the interior door includes the door, door jamb and door casing on both sides of the jamb (inside and outside). The door alone can be purchased as a slab only. Comes solid and no holes for the door knob or any mortises for the hinges. Now, do you need the jamb with the door or is your jamb in good condition? Let's look at the option of the door slab first. It can be purchased as a flush door (smooth) or a 6 panel door (6 sections on the face of the door). Both have to be prepared the same way but you should match the same type as the rest of the doors in your home.

To prepare the door you should first prepare the hinge mortise. This is the indentations in the edge of the door where the hinge will be screwed to it. (always use screws, not nails) Nails will slip and work their way out in a short time. The hinges should still be attached to the door jamb. Measure from the top of the door opening / jamb down to the top of the first (top) hinge. Add 1/8" inch and make this measurement on the door edge. This is where the top of your hinge will go. Most interior doors have 3 1/2 inch hinges however some do have 4 inch hinges. Remove the pin from the top hinge which holds the two pieces together. This will separate the two pieces. Use the one that is not attached to mark your new door. It can be laid on the edge of the door as shown in the picture to the left. Draw around it with a pencil. Now we need to get that tingly feeling all over that we get when we start to work with tools. Excitement! Let's do it! Look closely at the thickness of the hinge. We want to chisel out the wood where we are going to install the hinge but we do not want to take out more than the thickness of the hinge. If we take out more wood, than the hinge will install to deep. This will cause your door to press against the jamb when closing and it will be on a bind. You will have to force the door closed. Not good and can drive a person crazy. Now measure from the top of the top hinge on the jamb to the top of the next hinge down and transfer that exact measurement to the new door. Chisel this one out the same way. Continue doing this for any remaining hinges. Now attach only the top hinge to the door with screws. You can than hang the door on that top hinge and install the hinge pin back into the hinge locking it together. The other hinges should still be installed on the jamb and they should be locked together with one side of the hinges swinging free. Have a helper hold the door in place so you can screw the hinges to the new door. After all the hinges are screwed onto the door and tightened. You should be able to swing the door open and closed. You may find that the door is still a little to wide for the door jamb. If it fits go to the section on door knobs. If it doesn't fit continue this section. It must fit before the door knob can be bored through the door. The problem is not in the hinges but some jambs allow a little more space and your door must be shaved down the side top to bottom evenly. Now we need a wood plane for this one. Pull the hinge pins out of all 3 hinges and lay the door on it's hinged edge. Shave the edge of the door taking only a small amount off all the way down. Done? Let's try it again. Put the door in place and only put the hinge pins in about half way. If it still hits the door jamb than repeat the previous steps until the door fits without rubbing or touching the door jamb at the door knob side..

Now let's look at the door knob. Yep, we are going to have to put a hole in the new door and the measurement of this hole position is critical. It must be lined up with the door knob latch hole in the jamb. It also must be 2 3/8 inches from the edge of the door to the center of the door knob hole. You can pick up a tool at the hardware store fairly cheap. The tools will center the holes for you. The hole in the edge of the door for the latch bolt to slide through should be 7/8th inch in diameter. After you drill these holes you may have to do some more chiseling to inset the latch bolt into the edge of the door. Do not chisel to deep. You must chisel this into the edge of the door so the latch does not stick out to far. If it sticks out you will not be able to close the door due to it hitting the edge of the door jamb.


Remove the hinge pin

You may have to use a punch or a large nail to tap on the pin from the bottom to get it started. The pin should always come out from the top of the hinge.




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