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aGrandma 09-07-2010 09:48 AM

Front door not hanging straight
Our front door is not hanging straight, is hard to shut, and is damaging the wall next to it. The house is about 20 years old and we recently bought it. The front door scrapes at the top when it shuts, and if we pull UP on the door handle when shutting it, it shuts easily and quietly. If we do not pull UP on the handle, it scrapes at the top corner and makes a loud noise. Also, we notice that there is a crack radiating straight out across the sheet rock away from the top of the door frame - we assume that is happening from all the times the door was shut without lifting it first.

If we stand back and look we can see there is a slight difference in the gap at the top of the door on the hinge side compared to the bottom of the door on the hinge side.

We have no idea how to correct this problem. The hinges look flush and don't look like they've ever been removed or damaged.

Any ideas? And if we can't fix it, who should we call? A general contractor?

epson 09-07-2010 10:18 AM

Inspect the hinges to make sure that poorly adjusted hinges are not causing the door to hang crooked. Check and see if any hinge is too tight or too loose by using a screwdriver to tighten any loose screws or loosen a hinge that is too tight. Now that the door hangs straight, judge the alignment within the frame.

If the hinges are not causing the fit problem, remove the door from the hinges by using a nail set and hammer to lift the pins out of the hinges. Remove the door from the frame and set the door in place. Place the door in the frame in the place it will hang and insert shims under the door bottom on the left and right to set the door at the right height if needed, adjust the door until it sits right in the right place.

Now you can measure a good door edge by using a pencil to mark where the door edge should be all the way around the door, measuring about 1/8-inch clearance from the frame, and draw pencil lines on the door to show the good edge. Now remove the door from the frame again and sand the door down with a belt sander to the pencil line for each place on the door that is too close to the frame and when done set the door back in place to test fit and place the two shims under the door, and adjust the door into the right place making sure the door hangs straight. Now secure the door by placing the pins back in the hinges and if the door is not hanging straight, adjust the hinges until you get the door to fit.

Tizzer 09-07-2010 03:00 PM

The house is about 20 years old and we recently bought it. The front door scrapes at the top when it shuts, and if we pull UP on the door handle when shutting it, it shuts easily and quietly. If we do not pull UP on the handle, it scrapes at the top corner and makes a loud noise.

I get those from time to time at these old apartments. I would first tighten the top hinge screws that go into the door itself. Then take out one screw from the hinge going into the frame work. If it's a tiny 1/2 inch screw, replace it with a 2 1/2 - 3 inch screw that will grab the frame and pull the top of the door over a bit.
This is if the door is hitting at the top adjacent jamb and not the top jamb.
What does the gap look like at the top of the door?

hayewe farm 09-07-2010 03:07 PM

First lift the door by the knob and watch the hinges to see what moves. If the whole hinge moves check and make sure the hinge screws are tight. If only the hinge half on the door moves chances are the pins are worn and need to be replaced. If the jamb moves, chances are the jamb was installed improperly and will need to be properly shimmed and reinstalled. If every thing seem tight but the gap across the top of the door and the edge of the door is not even you may be able to correct it with shims under some of the hinges. Also look at the barrels on the hinges, there should be very little gaps between the segment if there are large gaps the hinges are worn and will need to be replace or spacer shims installed between the barrel sections.

MagicalHome 09-07-2010 11:23 PM

My personal POV is to check the hinges if they are properly screwed in place. Or;
The wall where the door frame is may have expanded which explains the crack on the wall. It narrow down the space for the door which made it hard to shut.

aGrandma 09-09-2010 01:30 PM

Thanks for all the very kind and detailed replies! We first tried the easiest thing, and that was to tighten the screws in the door hinges. We were amazed that it worked! The door now opens and shuts easily and with no noise. Now we feel stupid that we didn't try that before.

G o r d 09-30-2014 09:32 AM

I also had a metal door that wasn't straight in the frame. I didn't make any sense to me because this was progressive over time, the hinges were well secured AND the door frame was still perfectly level and square! So for the first couple times, I took the easy way out and just sanded the edge of the door a bit because I didn't want to replace the entire door and frame just yet.

"hayewe farm" had given me a huge clue - wear over time or more precisely - in this case - metal fatigue. I thought that replacing the hinge with an identical hinge would be the answer. However, I thought that there would have to be a tremendous amount of wear on the pin to reduce a pin and hinge holes by even 1/32", so I looked at the hinges more closely and noticed that they were bent! The top one was visibly noticeable, by about 1/8" and the bottom one not noticeable at all. So I took the door off the frame, took a rubber hammer and bent the hinges back ever so slightly, (the top hinge more than the middle hinge but NOT the bottom hinge). On the door frame - bent away from the door handle and on the door itself toward the door handle.

Put the door back in the frame and it was now sitting perfectly square with the frame!

So replacing the hinges would work, and is the best solution, so long as you can find the exact same hole pattern hinges. I went to the local hardware store, (RONA), and did find the same hinges, but since I already had a perfectly fitting door decided to wait till the problem came back. (And it will because the more the metal bends, the more pliable it becomes.)

If you have some screws in the frame that are stripped, (won't snug up), you may have to remove the door trim, cut some of the drywall out and use a 6" long chunk of 2x4 or even 1x4 as a backer board on the other side of the frame and then use #8 2.5" bevelled head screws to go through the frame and into the 2x4. Door frames are most often set in place with shims that leave a gap between the frame and the door column header supports.

mako1 09-30-2014 11:26 AM

Take the top screw out of the top hinge and replace it with a 3" screw.Tighten until the door shuts properly.If this works put another 3" screw in the bottom of the hinge and replace one of the screws in the middle hinge with a 3" screw.Don't overtighten them.

gregzoll 09-30-2014 11:57 AM

Was there an notation about Mine Subsidence in the area, before you signed off on the purchase of the property?

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