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popupguy 10-16-2008 10:01 AM

Front door catches
 
I have a problem with my front door. The people at Lowe’s and Home Depot think I’m crazy, but there’s a door at our church that is doing the same thing. I bought a new door, steel and full glass. It came with a frame. I installed the door myself, correcting some issues left by the home builder. The frame is square. Everything was fine for a few weeks. Then the door started catching at the upper corner away from the hinges. All screws were tight. It looked as though the top hinge was bending. I assumed that the door manufacturer used cheap hinges and replaced the hinges. Everything was fine for a few weeks, and then the door started catching again. I chiseled about 1/8 inch deeper for the top hinge. Everything was fine for a few weeks, then catching again. I chiseled 1/16 deeper for the middle hinge and added a thin aluminum spacer from an electrical cover to the bottom hinge. This solved the problem for almost two months. Now the door is catching again. The door has a lever-type handle. The tendency is to push down on the handle when walking out the door. I wonder if this isn’t part of the problem. Can anyone help?

rjordan392 10-17-2008 07:08 AM

Popupguy,
I would suspect that the screws or nails securing the framing on the hinge side are backing out. Or water is getting in and swelling the framing. Use a tape measure and measure frame to frame at the hinges. They all should be the same. Also one has to be careful to see that doors are properly shimmed or problems will occur.
On the other hand, don't discount the framing on the latch side of the door.

47_47 10-17-2008 07:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rjordan392 (Post 173212)
Popupguy,
I would suspect that the screws or nails securing the framing on the hinge side are backing out. Or water is getting in and swelling the framing. Use a tape measure and measure frame to frame at the hinges. They all should be the same. Also one has to be careful to see that doors are properly shimmed or problems will occur.
On the other hand, don't discount the framing on the latch side of the door.

Check as stated above. Did you replace any of the upper hinge screws, to the jamb with longer ones to engage the framing and not just the jamb?

wrangler 10-17-2008 07:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 47_47 (Post 173214)
Check as stated above. Did you replace any of the upper hinge screws, to the jamb with longer ones to engage the framing and not just the jamb?

The new door should have come with 2 1/2" - 3" fully threded screws for this very purpose. 2 go into the top hinge and one each into the other hinges. Use the holes closest to the weather seal as the outside holes might not hit the stud. I've purchased doors from the supercenters that have had the hinges improperly mounted at the factory (i.e. top hinge mounted 1/8" further out from door jamb than other hinges; or frame not even matched up in the corners). Also, when installing a door I like to hide additional 3" screws on the latch side of the door underneath the weather stripping, top, middle and bottom. Just be sure that it is properly shimmed and to not overdrive the screws (which should bot occur if properly shimmed) or you will make the gap too large for the door to seal properly.

47_47 10-17-2008 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrangler (Post 173223)
The new door should have come with 2 1/2" - 3" fully threded screws for this very purpose. 2 go into the top hinge and one each into the other hinges. Use the holes closest to the weather seal as the outside holes might not hit the stud.

Also, when installing a door I like to hide additional 3" screws on the latch side of the door underneath the weather stripping, top, middle and bottom. Just be sure that it is properly shimmed and to not overdrive the screws (which should bot occur if properly shimmed) or you will make the gap too large for the door to seal properly.

Wrangler, the last exterior door that I purchased did not have the longer screws with it and that is why I mentioned it. Good advice on the 3" screws behind the weaterstripping.

wrangler 10-17-2008 08:07 AM

I agree 47, often the entire installation packet is missing, including the little adhesive weather stripping shims and those PIA plastic screw covers for doors with glass inserts.

And back to the original thread question, let us know what you find out about your door.

popupguy 10-17-2008 09:37 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I did use 3" screws to secure the frame. These are all still very tight. I used several under the weatherstripping. I used a 3" screw on the upper hinge as well during the first repair attempt. The current frame is square, plum and properly shimmed, although the home builder's initial installation (the door and frame I replaced) was a mess. The frame opening width measures exactly the same top-to-bottom. By the way, the installation packet was complete. The weatherstripping was pre-installed and extra plastic screw covers were provided. I have done so many diy projects, including dry wall, tiling, reframing, sliding glass door repair, plumbing, lighting, rescreening, stucco, etc., and I've never had a failure. This is driving me crazy!

wrangler 10-17-2008 10:28 AM

I know exactly what you are saying...lol. I remember the first time I ran into an improperly made door, it drove me nuts as well. Everything was plumb and square yet the door would not seal properly. That's when I finally figured out that on that door, the upper hinge was not flush as the others were. Strangest thing was I ran into the exact same thing on a door a couple of days later. Had I not known that the 2nd door (different homeowner) had been there for a few days I would have thought it was the same door. Possibly both homeowners had purchased doors from the same batch at the home center.
Since it sounds like you have done all the steps to properly set the door, is it possible that the rough opening has problems? Is it possible that the shim nearest to the area that is catching is too thick? Just kicking out thoughts here. Also, did you check for squareness of the frame (measuring diagonally from corner to corner)? I would even imagine it is possible that since I have found manufacturing problems in the past, that the door itself might be the problem, but I have never run into the slabs being at fault. If you get it fixed and find a problem let us know so that we can watch for it in the future.
Brett

popupguy 10-17-2008 05:55 PM

Wrangler, thanks for your thoughts. The Panhandle? I'm down in Palm Beach County, transplanted from Mississippi after stints in LA and Philadelphia. Two weeks ago I made the 9-hour drive up to Crestview to camp for the weekend lakeside at Black River State Forest. Very nice! Nice folks up there, too! Anyway, measured diagonally, there's a 1/8" difference in the frame. That's got to be within tolerances, right? I put the level on the sides and top of the frame, and it's right on. And remember, every time I make a fix, it works for a few weeks. I was hoping to get a reply that said something like "oh, yeah, I've run into this with the glass/steel doors with the lever-handle. Because of the weight of the door, you need to use the special heavy duty hinge at the top made by ACME Heavy Duty Hinge Corp." I guess that's not gonna happen.

n0c7 10-17-2008 06:43 PM

I had a similar issue with my garage side door. It's similar to what you describe, came with the frame as well. I put it up in the summer, and when winter came around it was catching just like yours. I attempted to corrected it 4 times, each time the season changed it happened again. Finally, after being told I was crazy as well, I figured it was the contraction of the concrete pad the door rests on. Fortunately, it still opens and closes during the winter months, and continues to resume its proper position when the sun shines. :laughing: Not sure what the weather is like where you're at, but I assume "Palm Beach" is far from snow.


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