How to Keep your Doors Swinging Smoothly: Simple Door Maintenance
On any normal day doors might seem ordinary, simple, even boring. Doors are often forgotten, passed through without a second thought. They are, after all, nothing more than metal-embellished wooden rectangles -- which are just glorified squares anyway, if you think about it. But, a door that doesn’t function properly quickly becomes a big nuisance.
The world of doors is black or white, all or nothing. Either a door needs to be replaced, or it can be fixed. Minor door problems are common, they present no real threat to the integrity of the home, and rarely even the door. Any major structural damage to a door requires replacement.
While minor issues aren’t worth the cost of paying a handyman or contractor
, they can still vex the novice or unseasoned do-it-yourselfer.
One of the major reasons that door problems are so prevalent are the extreme fluctuations in temperature in most areas of the United States. Humidity makes doors swell and warp, putting stress on the hinges, and often inhibiting the door from shutting properly. Here are a few simple tips on how to keep your doors swinging smoothly.
1) If your door wobbles or hangs loosely, that isn’t a good thing. Check the hinges along the side of the door for loose screws. Close the door, then wedge something underneath it, to raise the door up so that the opening across the bottom is even all the way across and parallel with the ground. Screw the loose screws in tightly.
2) If the door meets resistance when it closes: first, somehow make a casual note of where the door is hitting the frame. Check back in a few months, changes in the weather may have solved your problem. If not, your door might need to be planed. This process involved taking the door down, and using a tool called a plane to shave a thin layer of wood off the door where it was butting against the frame.
3) Squeaky hinges need grease, too. For all the love squeaky wheels get from grease, there are plenty of squeaky door hinges that could use it, too. If your door hinges are noisy, or old and not as mobile as they used to be, try lubricating them with WD-40. Make sure to put a towel under the area where you are working, and spray sparingly at first. If your door is still screeching at you every time you leave the room, try taking the door off the hinges and cleaning the linchpins that hold the hinges together.
4) If your door doesn’t close properly, and you have tried the quick-fixes above, try tightening the screws that hold the plates for the latch mechanisms to your doorknob; both the one on the door itself, and the one on the frame.