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Door Frame Uneven, Not Level

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Hey.

I just moved into a home. The bedroom door does not latch because it seems the inner door frame is not level or uneven. Is it possible to fix this without being too destructive or costly?

Im not sure how hard or really how to take apart the inner portion of the door frame without damaging it.

Here is a pic:


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Ok, i know this sounds cheap, and it is! Unscrew the bottom hinge from the door frame and insert a cardboard shim between the frame and hinge. You may have to experiment with different thicknesses until you find a suitable one.
 

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Ok, i know this sounds cheap, and it is! Unscrew the bottom hinge from the door frame and insert a cardboard shim between the frame and hinge. You may have to experiment with different thicknesses until you find a suitable one.
That will be an awfully thick shim to fix that door.
I would remove the casing from the hinge and striker sides to see if there are shims there and re-shim to suit. To me, I'm thinking you will be removing the entire door frame and re-installing to get a properly working door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That will be an awfully thick shim to fix that door.
I would remove the casing from the hinge and striker sides to see if there are shims there and re-shim to suit. To me, I'm thinking you will be removing the entire door frame and re-installing to get a properly working door.
Im thinking that too. I didnt want to have to but thatd be the best way to do it. Im just not sure how to take it apart. The nails are flat against the wood and like I said, I want to cause less destruction and a mess as possible.
 

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The door really needs to be pulled out and reset but short of that all you really can do is removing one of the upper hinge screws and replace it with a 3” screw that will reach the framing and hopefully pick up the door. That or lowering the striker plate, or both.
 

· KemoSabe
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Looks like the hinges were raised up on that door in the past, for what reason, I don't know. I've never seen a prehung door with a gap that big on the top jamb, hinge side. Either that, or it was taken down to be cut and it was done improperly. It also appears that there is no way the striker ever latched into the strike plate, judging by how far off it is in relationship to the gap at the top of the door. Without tearing out the jambs, I'd say have a new blank hung to fit that opening. Not really a DIY project, unless you've at least seen it done once or twice.
 

· KemoSabe
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Upon a second look, it's pretty apparent that someone already hung a new blank in the old opening, incorrectly. It needs a new blank and judging by the looks of the existing opening, a professional installer.:thumbsup: Those six panel blanks are less than 20 bucks at the big boxes.
 

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Molson, if the door swings fine and is square (same width from top to bottom) and your only concern is that the latch doesn't engage because of the gap then:
1. Carefully remove the inner and outer casing on the latch side. Use a putty knife and wonder bar and go easy.
2. Cut any nails between the rough frame and jamb on the latch side (you might be able to do the next steps without doing this).
3. With the door closed, insert shims between the rough frame and the jamb to move the jamb into correct position and straight from top to bottom. Should be an even gap of 1/8 to 3/16".
4. Makes sure the jamb is still flush with the wall inside and out -it could have moved while driving in the shims.
5. Nail through the jamb to the rough framing with finish nails.
6. Replace the casing.
 

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I would..

I hang 3-15 doors a day depending on the state of the lining and the type of door (fire check etc). When i'm changing existing doors for people I have to make the door fit the frame not the other way round. Whoever swung your door by the way should be ashamed of themselves!! This may sound like grief but it's the only way to get an equal margin all the way round the door without ripping the frame out. As long as you're ok with an electric plane you'll be fine ;-)

From the pictures it looks like the problems are this:

1. Door doesn't close because lock side of frame has a beer belly! its ok top and bottom, but fat in the middle

2. Even if door did close, latch wouldn't locate because the keep is too high.

3. Gap along the top of the door is uneven, either the frame is out of level or the door has been butchered.

4. Gap along the carpet is uneven too!

(this may not be true, might just look like it as the door is slightly open..)

One good thing is the hinge side looks really tight which means you've got a little room for manouvre.

There are two ways to tackle this depending on what length you want to go to. Personally, if it was my house i'd want minimum redecoration, So removing the casing in order to remove shims from behind the belly to straighten lock side of the frame would be a last resort.

Heres how i'd deal with it and in the right order:

1: Fix the uneven gap at the top. How?

If the gap is say, for example 1/4" on the hinge side, cut a small piece of wood at 1/4". Run this along the top of the frame with a pencil to scribe a line 1/4" down onto the top of the door. You now have the shape of the lining marked along the top of the door. With an electric plane sort the top of the door out. (Don't panic this wont mean the door has to move up 1/4", only an 1/8" because you need to leave a gap above it.)

2: Lift the door.

Put the door back in the frame, lift it up so there's an even gap and mark the new hinge positions (on the frame). Chop a little out above each hinge and screw the door back on. Now the top is sweet.

3. Scribe the lock side.

Go to the other side of the door and pull it shut. Use the same method as for the top to scribe the shape of the frame onto the door. Remove the door and latch and plane it to the right shape, so the door now has the shape of the belly cut out of it.

4. Refit the door and pack hinges over.

Screw the door back on and put shims behind the hinges to even out the gap either side of the door.

5. Sort the keep out.

Re-mark and fit the keep to the frame so the latch locates.

6. Fill

Using 'two part' filler (a filler that comes with an activator and goes off really hard) fill the gaps under the hinges and the keep. That and the door edges are the only painting that will need to be touched up.

You could use the scribing method for the top of the door for the bottom which looks uneven as well but you're got a big enough gap under it already. You decide..

Sounds like a lot but you could do all that in an hour.

If you need help marking the hinges or making the latch work perfectly go to

http://www.carpentry-tips-and-tricks.com/Finish-Carpentry.html
 
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