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angie 04-21-2009 05:07 PM

Exterior door not closing properly.
Exterior door does not close all the way at top, door handle side. About 1/2 inch gap between door and weather striping and the gap slowly disappears along the way to the bottom of the door. How can I determine the problem?
It is a steel prehung door with a full panel window.

glennjanie 04-22-2009 10:31 AM

Welcome Angie:
There are at least two reasons for a door not to colse completely. One, the door may be warped; which is not usually the problem with a steel door. The other is, the door is binding somewhere on the frame and friction stops it.
Look on your door, lock edge and the frame on that side. Do you see horizontal lines that indicate binding and scraping? Make sure the hinges are tight to the door and frame. A quick check would be to open the door, hold the door knob inside and outside and raise the door up and let it down several times. If the hinges are very loose you will see them working and hear the screws squeaking. Often, on door hinges, the screws will eat the hole out and let the screw loosen; in that case you can take one screw at a time out, insert a few drops of wood glue and then a golf tee or kitchen match, break it off by hitting with a hammer and replace the screw. After you have done every screw in the wood frame just tighten the screws in the door; they are usually tapped into the steel. However, if they are into a wood band on the door, they will need the same treatment as the frame screws.
It can also be caused by the house settling or the frame getting loose on the sides. You can use a three inch screw above and below each hinge close to the back corner of the frame and about the same number of screws on the other side to pull the frame in for a better fit. If the issue is settling, that's another complete process and we'll talk about it later.

joefarrell 10-27-2010 07:01 AM

This is the exact situation I am faced with. GlennJanie, your first response was very thorough so I figured I would try to follow through and get more info. The hinges on my door appear fine. I will plan to use the three inch screws above and below all the hinges first to see if this provides results,but, if not, I was wondering what steps to take if this does not work? I imagine this indicates a settling issue (house is 6 years old and I believe we have had the problem for at least 4 years) and I would like to know what steps to take if the screws don't help.

Thanks very much for your input, I look forward to your (and anyone else's) response.


inspectorD 10-27-2010 04:24 PM

hi Joe
Glenn has been retired for a while, and we miss his humor. Maybe I can help out.
Try the screws, use deck screws if you can, they do not snap like many sheetrock screws do lately.
Then if this does not work, you may need to remove the trim on the inside of the house, and use shims to adjust the opening. You may even have to remove some shims, depends on the problem.

Let me know what you find, and you can also find video on youtube.

joefarrell 10-28-2010 06:49 AM

Inspector D:

Thanks, I will install some deck screws and see what happens. Hopefully I can avoid the trim removal scenario, that has 'hassle' written all over it!

I will poke around youtube for more info.


inspectorD 10-28-2010 04:57 PM

Let us know what happens.:) So others can learn too.

TheDoorGuy 11-29-2010 08:26 PM

Hi there,
If your situation is the same as the first post it sounds to me like the door jambs are crosslegged.
That is to say that they are not parallel to one another.
Perhaps the hinge side is plumb and the latch side leans into or out of the
house or vice versa. Check them with the longest level that you have.
Sometimes the walls are out of plumb/parallel on either side of the opening
and the installer just lined the unit up with the walls without checking plumb.

I have a couple of ideas if this is the problem.


HoMoaner 04-06-2011 12:02 PM

DoorGuy nailed it
Door Guy,
This is exactly my problem. the frame seems to be 'cross-legged'. The hinge side seems to be plumb (or really really close), but the latch side leans a bit.
Problem is, it's about 3/4 inch out of plumb and moving the top of the frame in by that much will prevent me from being able to install interior trim.
And when you follow the wall from top to bottom, it seems to have a 'bow' to it (let's say it's flush with the sheetrock at the top and bottom, but sticks out from the sheetrock in the middle by about 3/8 inch)...
I suppose I could plane the frame once I lean it in - any suggestions appreciated!!!!

joecaption 04-08-2011 06:50 AM

Remove the trim and reset the door.
When hanging a door you will need the longest level you have, 4' minimum, you always start on the hindge side. It has to be plumb, and square with the top jam, it also can not have any waves in it. High and low spots between the hindges will cause gaps and can cause hindge binding from missaligned hindges.
I would never install screws into the jams to try and adjust the jams. On the hindge side there was suppost to be one 3" long screw for each hindge, not to be seen on the face of the jams, so it would go all the way into the 2 X 4 jack studs.

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