Common door problems: how to fix a door that won’t close
We’re all about lending a helping hand here at Savoy Timber, so this week on the blog we’re continuing with the latest instalment of easy fixes to common door problems. This is arguably one of the most urgent (not to mention annoying) issues that can sometimes arise with oak interior doors, whether it’s a traditional Victorian 4 Panel oak door, or a more contemporary Pattern 10 shaker style pre-finished door. Having a door that won’t stay closed – or even springs open spontaneously – is a bit of a nightmare in terms of security, privacy, or even if it’s just a bit chilly in the living room.
So… let’s get right down to solving it, shall we?
How to fix a door that keeps swinging gently open
You’re shutting your door as normal, but you’re finding that it keeps slowly, silently opening when you’re not looking. After the umpteenth time of having to get up from the sofa and push the door closed again, you may have found that you just give up and put a bit of furniture in front of it so you can sit and watch your show for a bit. But obviously that’s not a permanent solution!
The most likely cause is that the latch isn’t engaging properly with the strike plate – the two crucial parts that need to interact in order for the door to stay closed. You’ll generally be able to tell by the absence of any clicks or snaps when you push the door closed. If it doesn’t make a sound, chances are that it’s going to swing open again.
1. Solution number one involves simply replacing the latch set. It’s not a complicated job – you just need a screwdriver, half an hour or so and a new latch set (obviously). While you’re looking, it’s worth saying that you can find a small selection of latches right here on our website.
2. Alternatively, you can widen the gap in the strike plate, so that the latch has a shorter distance to travel to slot properly into it. For this you’ll need a mill file; a small multipurpose saw file that’s commonly used for sharpening blades. You don’t need to remove the strike plate – just open the door, place the mill file inside the gap in the strike plate and file away at the inner edge until it’s large enough to accommodate the latch.
How to stop a door from springing open
Having an internal door that springs open is arguably worse than one that swings open gently. For starters, it adds an unpleasantly unpredictable element to the task of carrying your tea through to the dining room. It’s also potentially dangerous for young children or pets. In fact, as a general rule you don’t want any part of your house or furniture liable to suddenly smack you without warning, really.
A door that springs open actually has several potential causes:
1. The hinges are incorrectly positioned (which means the door is straining to re-open)
2. The door isn’t closing fully before it hits the doorstop
3. It’s jamming at the bottom because it doesn’t have enough clearance (which means it’s grinding against the floor or carpet)
1. To fix the hinges, it’s a case of using the classic ‘pack it with cardboard’ approach. First, remove the screws of one hinge (just one) and prise it out of the recess, so it pivots over out of your way. Place a bit of cardboard in the flat space underneath it, and then pivot the hinge back over to hold the cardboard in place underneath it. Screw back in the screws, and that should improve the clearance. If it doesn’t… well to be honest, it might first be worth seeing if you’ve used enough cardboard!
2. If it’s hitting the stop too soon, your interior door won’t be able to close far enough to engage the latch. To fix this, you just need to reposition the doorstop slightly further away. Using a chisel, carefully lever it off its frame. Stand back for a second and close the door, so you can judge where it actually needs to go. Then, using that as a reference, nail the doorstop back into its new, proper place. Use 30mm nails that are spaced about 30cm apart.
3. The last one is the easiest to solve – it’s simply a matter of planing a little excess wood off the bottom of the door, so it’s got the room to move into its proper place without being pushed out by lack of space underneath.
In almost all cases, any issues to do with your internal door will be solved by using one of the approaches above. Of course, if you’re still having a nightmare with it, we’re here to help! Stop by any of our superstores in Blackpool, Preston or Wigan, where one of our friendly staff members will be only too happy to lend a helping hand. And if you’re looking to replace your internal door altogether, we’ve got no shortage of options there either! Our pre-finished internal doors save you the bother of having to paint your doors yourself, or you can browse our range of most popular internal doors to explore some top customer favourites!