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cb1974 09-28-2011 02:39 PM

Door Repair Questions (hinges and sagging)

I've read up on this on a few different websites and some forums and feel like I've accumulated some decent solutions, but I also thought I'd post and get some more specific comments in regards to my particular situation.

Below, is a photo of a door that I recently took down in order to repair. It's the back door to our home in New Orleans and measures about 34" X 88". I stripped it, replaced the door hardware and glass as it was in terrible shape. Here are my questions if anyone has any opinions:

1. Hinges and sagging
I replaced the original 1/8" regular glass with 1/4" tempered glass. This added additional weight to the door, of course and now I'm getting some sagging. The bottom left of the door now rubs against the door sweep/stop. The rubbing is at the bottom, below the knob and lock. I am able to lift the door (though it doesn't feel like it moves much) to get it to close. It's about 1/16" of rub from what I can tell. I really hate to sand the door down, because it was fine before and I feel like this could be repaired by doing one of two things, based on what I've found.

First, I should replace the existing 3" X 3" door hinges with either 3.5" X 3.5" or 4" X 4" hinges to give it more support, now that there is a bit more weight. Agree?

Second, I've read that I should screw in longer screws into the top hinge into the jamb which will pull that corner up more. Is this correct? Should I do both of those things or is upgrading from 3" to 3.5" or 4" unnecessary?

2. You'll notice that the top of the door isn't square with the door frame. The upper right corner is fitted properly. True, the door in general isn't well constructed and square (the center "beams" don't line up), but I'd like to fix the top of this door if possible. I had the idea of cutting it all square at the top, in line with the lowest point (left side where light is showing through) and then cutting an appropriately sized new strip of oak or cypress to glue to the top of the door. Stacked on top of the door, essentially, which would let me square that up with the frame. However, from what I've read and what I've come to know in my limited experience so far, I could have issues with wood movement. And, the first time it gets cold or warm each season (bear in mind, New Orleans is very hot in the summer and plenty of humidity), that the door will move, but the top piece attached to the door via wood glue or screws will not move. Thus, it'll not only look awful within a year but could also make my door structurally worse than it already is. Will I have movement issues or am I overestimating that?

Thanks for any input you care to offer.

Door Photo

nealtw 09-28-2011 09:16 PM

Have you checked the frame for square? It looks to me like the frame may want to be re-fit.

BridgeMan 10-03-2011 04:00 PM

Looks to me as if the extra weight of the heavier glass (did you have a good reason for doubling the glass thickness?) may have caused the door's panel joints to let go, as in fail. Think of it as pushing against the corner of a rectangle, turning it into a parallelogram instead. The right fix has little to do with hinges, but involves taking the door apart to reglue all of the joints. Lots of work.

The foregoing assumes that all of the hinges are tight against the frame casing, especially the top one. I've often seen hinge screws no longer being able to tightly hold, wallowing out the holes they're in or being too short to begin with in the case of heavier doors. If that turns out to be the case, replace the existing screws with much longer ones, extending all of the way through the casing and into the adjacent wall framing (I like No. 8 square-drives, as they won't cam out like a Phillips or flathead will). I've also seen hinge plates that aren't stiff enough to maintain their shape, and actually bend enough (between the closest set of screws and the hinge pin) to allow a heavy door to sag.

cb1974 10-03-2011 04:12 PM

Thanks for taking the time to post. Actually got this all fixed now from some assistance I got on the other forum I posted this on. Which is here if anyone stumbles upon a similar issue and wanted some ideas. Take care.

nealtw 10-03-2011 08:39 PM

This is a mortise and tenon door, it can not sage with out joints coming loose on both sides of the door. There is no evidence of this kind of failure. There would have to be angled cracks at all six joints.

cb1974 10-04-2011 07:59 AM

Nealtw is correct, there is no joint failure. I had actually posted a link to the resolution that I got on another forum, but I guess that comment wasn't approved by the moderator. I got this fixed by using #8 3" screws instead of what I was using.

kevin51 01-18-2012 12:36 PM

Hi all,

When you take the Glass out of a door, you are in effect removing a panel that helps keep the door square, you need to replace the Glass and "toe and heel the new piece" this means putting a block tightly wedged under the bottom hinge side and the Glass and beside the Glass. Then wedge another at the top side opposite the hinge and on the top edge on that side. This stops the door dropping and makes the Glass part of the door. ( I am a Glazier with 30 years of experience)

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