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Discussion Starter #1
I've got an 8-foot exterior door that, when it's closed, has a half-inch gap between the door and weatherstripping at the top -- it fits properly at the bottom. I'm losing a lot of heat through this gap and would like to close it.

As far as I can tell, the door otherwise hangs correctly: the gap between the door and the jamb looks correct all the way around the door.

The house is two years old and most of the workmanship is stellar, so I'm wondering if I'm missing an easy adjustment.

I suppose I could add more weatherstripping to fill the gap, but that would look pretty bad. Or I could remove the weatherstripping and make a long, tapered shim to equalize the gap.

Does anyone have a suggestion?
 

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Take a picture of this door. Have you put a level on this door and the floor? It sounds like one of the jamb legs is higher then it's counterpart on the other side.
This is not a minor adjustment as one side needs to be freed from the framing and shimmed or the other needs to be shortened.
Ron
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Take a picture of this door. Have you put a level on this door and the floor? It sounds like one of the jamb legs is higher then it's counterpart on the other side.
This is not a minor adjustment as one side needs to be freed from the framing and shimmed or the other needs to be shortened.
Ron
Thanks, Ron, I'm traveling but will take a picture when I get home. I haven't checked for level, so I'll do that too.

But it's hard for me to imagine how this is a problem with the jamb being out of square, so maybe I didn't describe the problem properly.

The gap is between the face of the door and the weatherstripping -- NOT between the edge of the door and the jamb. So it's more like the door is warped than the jamb being improperly installed. I haven't actually checked to see if the door is warped, but even if it is, I can't imagine spending the money to replace it so I'll need to accommodate it.

I imagine I could move the top hinges (there are 4 hinges) slightly outward (towards the weatherstripping) to fix the problem, but that would be a ton of work and I'm not confident it would fix the problem.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Sounds like the door itself is warped--use a straight edge -corner to corner--to check that--

OR one leg (jamb side ) is not in line with the other---Check that with a level---

Post those pictures when you get home--Mike--
 

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Thanks, Ron, I'm traveling but will take a picture when I get home. I haven't checked for level, so I'll do that too.

But it's hard for me to imagine how this is a problem with the jamb being out of square, so maybe I didn't describe the problem properly.

The gap is between the face of the door and the weatherstripping -- NOT between the edge of the door and the jamb. So it's more like the door is warped than the jamb being improperly installed. I haven't actually checked to see if the door is warped, but even if it is, I can't imagine spending the money to replace it so I'll need to accommodate it.

I imagine I could move the top hinges (there are 4 hinges) slightly outward (towards the weatherstripping) to fix the problem, but that would be a ton of work and I'm not confident it would fix the problem.

Thanks for your help!
You really need to make some observations when you get home to give us an idea of the issue. You mention an 8 foot door, which is a very large door. I'm assuming you meant 8 feet high. This is 16" higher then the standard door and could warp if it was constructed with unstable materials or not finished correctly.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
You really need to make some observations when you get home to give us an idea of the issue. You mention an 8 foot door, which is a very large door. I'm assuming you meant 8 feet high. This is 16" higher then the standard door and could warp if it was constructed with unstable materials or not finished correctly.
Ron
Thanks for all your help, guys. Ron, you're right that the door is 8 feet high, which I know is quite tall, but I'm pretty sure it's not warped.

I've attached some pictures that provide some details. You can see from the pictures that:

1. On the hinge side, the molding seems to be compressed about the same thickness at the bottom and the top (first two pictures). (It might be slightly more compressed at the bottom.)

2. On the jamb side, the molding is properly compressed at the bottom, but there's about a 1/4" gap at the top (pictures #3 and #4). (I wildly exaggerated the gap in my earlier post.)

3. The threshold is level.

4. What you cannot see is that the door is not plumb. Using a 4-foot level, it looks like the top of the door is leaning toward the inside of the house. The amount is about 1/8" along the 4-foot level, or about 1/4" overall.

I don't think the door is warped. It looks like the ideal fix would be to move out the top hinge by 1/4", and move the middle two hinges by an appropriately lower amount. But that seems like a lot of work. Is there anything I can do to ease the work? Or is there an alternative I can try instead?

Thanks!
 

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The way to correct the issue is to plumb the offending jamb.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The way to correct the issue is to plumb the offending jamb.
Ron
Thanks for your response, Ron.

The jamb is quite wide and it looks like it would be a lot of work to move it - do you think it would make sense for me to glue a thin tapered strip of wood against the jamb instead?

Thanks!
 

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those type of doors in standard height with the jamb/hinge being mounted to a side lite are a pain to start with, let alone an 8' door which should have 4 hinges. check the vertical plumb(level) of hinge and latch side. check straight/flat/true of jamb and door at each position when closed. my guess is if all is straight but not plumb you will need to adjust hinges unless you want to remove trim and true door/jamb in openining. it is quite possible the head jamb was not secured properly prior to trim
 

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Thanks for your response, Ron.

The jamb is quite wide and it looks like it would be a lot of work to move it - do you think it would make sense for me to glue a thin tapered strip of wood against the jamb instead?

Thanks!
How is putting a piece of wood against the jamb seal the door against the weatherstripping. Sorry, this makes no sense to me.
Is moving the jamb "a lot of work" because you don't know how to do it?
It's not.
You remove the interior molding on the side of the door. You look at the jamb face and look for the fasterers. If they're screws, you unscrew them. If they're nails, you go behind the jamb and just cut them with a hacksaw or a sawzall like tool. Leave one nail(or screw) at the very top. If there isn't one there, put one there as an anchor.
Since the gap is at the top of the door, you'll move the jamb bottom into the room to a plumb position. You might need to loosen some threshold fasteners so that moves in as well.
Once the gaps are even and the weatherstripping is making proper contact, renail the jamb using shims so you don't distort the frame.
If this is not something your comfortable doing, tape some shims to the door so they make contact with the weatherstripping.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
those type of doors in standard height with the jamb/hinge being mounted to a side lite are a pain to start with, let alone an 8' door which should have 4 hinges. check the vertical plumb(level) of hinge and latch side. check straight/flat/true of jamb and door at each position when closed. my guess is if all is straight but not plumb you will need to adjust hinges unless you want to remove trim and true door/jamb in openining. it is quite possible the head jamb was not secured properly prior to trim
You're right, the door has four hinges. The hinge and latch sides of both the door and the jambs are all plumb and level. Every surface is flat. Now that I've inspected all surfaces with care thanks to the help I've received here, it's absolutely clear that the right way to fix the door is to move the hinges -- and that seems like a lot of work.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How is putting a piece of wood against the jamb seal the door against the weatherstripping. Sorry, this makes no sense to me.
Is moving the jamb "a lot of work" because you don't know how to do it?
It's not.
You remove the interior molding on the side of the door. You look at the jamb face and look for the fasterers. If they're screws, you unscrew them. If they're nails, you go behind the jamb and just cut them with a hacksaw or a sawzall like tool. Leave one nail(or screw) at the very top. If there isn't one there, put one there as an anchor.
Since the gap is at the top of the door, you'll move the jamb bottom into the room to a plumb position. You might need to loosen some threshold fasteners so that moves in as well.
Once the gaps are even and the weatherstripping is making proper contact, renail the jamb using shims so you don't distort the frame.
If this is not something your comfortable doing, tape some shims to the door so they make contact with the weatherstripping.
Ron
Ron, I would remove the weatherstripping, glue a strip of wood to adjust the jamb, and then install new weatherstripping. (I'd actually need two strips of wood because I'd need to do the top too.)

I would never dream of removing the trim around the door. It has a very complex profile that I suspect would be impossible to re-fit precisely, and it appears to be somehow integrated with the jamb. I know that seems odd, but I cannot see any seam between the trim and the jamb. I bet this was a very expensive door. Maybe the factory screwed it up.

Anyway, as you can see from my recent previous post, it's clear that the right way to solve the problem is to move the hinges. And I assume that means taking the door down entirely, removing all but the bottom hinge, filling the old holes, drilling new holes just slightly off from the old ones, chiseling out the jamb for the new hinge positions, replacing the hinges, and re-hanging the door. (And this is further complicated by the fact that the hinge pins are not removable.)

If that's true, then my best bet is just to add some wood to the jamb. After I sand and paint, I suspect it won't be noticeable if you're not looking for it.

Does that sound reasonable? (Is that what you would do?)

Thanks!
 

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You're right, the door has four hinges. The hinge and latch sides of both the door and the jambs are all plumb and level. Every surface is flat. Now that I've inspected all surfaces with care thanks to the help I've received here, it's absolutely clear that the right way to fix the door is to move the hinges -- and that seems like a lot of work.
Unless the hinges were set incorrectly, which is easy to check, there is something else wrong with the installation.
If you rack the hinge side, it will telegraph to where the doors meet and you will create the same issue there. Actually a worse issue, as the door will not latch properly. You will need to push the top of the door in, torqueing the glass as you do, to engage the latch.
If the door isn't warped, the frame is not plumb. Period.
Ron
 
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I would remove the stop molding at the latch jamb and, if necessary, on the head jamb, too. Remove the nails left in the molding from the backside (so you won't damage the face). Pull or drive in any nails left in the jamb. To reinstall the molding, close the door and let the latch bolt engage, place the stop in position and press it lightly against the door, and install new nails in new locations. Punch the nails with a nails set, fill the holes, and touch up the finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Unless the hinges were set incorrectly, which is easy to check, there is something else wrong with the installation.
If you rack the hinge side, it will telegraph to where the doors meet and you will create the same issue there. Actually a worse issue, as the door will not latch properly. You will need to push the top of the door in, torqueing the glass as you do, to engage the latch.
If the door isn't warped, the frame is not plumb. Period.
Ron
You clearly know a lot more about this stuff than I do so I'm not confident in arguing with you, but here goes...

According to my level, the door itself is not plumb -- when I put the level on either the front or back face of the door, it shows that it's out of plumb by about 1/8" over the length of the level, which is 4 feet long. And yet, every face of the frame (including the jamb and the moldings) is plumb and level. Doesn't that mean that the hinges weren't placed properly?

I do suspect that if I moved the hinges, I'd have to move the latch plates too -- or perhaps just grind the opening a little bigger...

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would remove the stop molding at the latch jamb and, if necessary, on the head jamb, too. Remove the nails left in the molding from the backside (so you won't damage the face). Pull or drive in any nails left in the jamb. To reinstall the molding, close the door and let the latch bolt engage, place the stop in position and press it lightly against the door, and install new nails in new locations. Punch the nails with a nails set, fill the holes, and touch up the finish.
Thanks, Epson. That sounds like a better solution than my idea of adding a filler strip to the stop molding -- and a LOT easier than moving the hinges. (I just realized that I've been using the word "jamb" sometimes when I meant "stop molding." I hope I didn't add any confusion...)

Thanks!
 

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You mention the hinges like they're an ethereal concept. All you do is measure them and see if they have the same offset. If they don't, shift them. If they do, the issue is elsewhere.
Ron
 

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Ron is making sense here.

I've hung a lot of doors on the job, and i've encountered this problem, usually has to do with one jamb being out of line/out of plumb to the other, racking the door.

As this is a pre-hung door the LAST thing I would do is fool around with hinge offset, unless they don't match, which I would doubt.

Much easier anyways to simply remove the casing (interior) all you need to do is cut along edge, it's probably caulked and painted. Then pry off. Unscrew or cut nail, readjust or use new shims as needed, insert screw through hinge, reattach casing. Easier than trying to redo weatherstripping with shims.

Check jamb with level, move bottom opposite of where your problem is with your door/weatherstripping. Or wherever seems to be out of whack.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ron is making sense here.

I've hung a lot of doors on the job, and i've encountered this problem, usually has to do with one jamb being out of line/out of plumb to the other, racking the door.

As this is a pre-hung door the LAST thing I would do is fool around with hinge offset, unless they don't match, which I would doubt.

Much easier anyways to simply remove the casing (interior) all you need to do is cut along edge, it's probably caulked and painted. Then pry off. Unscrew or cut nail, readjust or use new shims as needed, insert screw through hinge, reattach casing. Easier than trying to redo weatherstripping with shims.

Check jamb with level, move bottom opposite of where your problem is with your door/weatherstripping. Or wherever seems to be out of whack.
Thanks, Chris. What you and Ron are saying makes a lot of sense. Adjusting the position of the entire door within the frame may be easier for you and Ron than shimming the jamb, but I know my limitations. I think I'm going to call in the guy who hung the door in the first place.

Thanks for your help, everybody!
Pete
 
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