Interior doors are notorious for shifting as your home ages. Most home owners develop the bad habit of trimming, shaving or planing a door down to correct dragging or sagging. Since the door does not change size once installed, the problem is not in the door, but rather in the position of the doors frame. Once a door frame, or jamb, becomes unlevel due to shifting, it is only a matter of time until that shift effects its proper operation. Leveling the jamb to compensate will make an old door work like new.
Things You'll Need
- Locking pliers
- Rubber mallet
- Hammer and woodblock
- 3-inch drywall screws
- Finish nails
- Painter's caulk
Pry the door casing, or vertical trim, from the face of the door jamb, starting at the bottom corner, using a thin, flat, pry-bar. Work along the length of the piece loosening it until all fasteners release their hold. Remove the nails from the trim by pulling them through the back of the piece with locking pliers to prevent damage to the trim face. Repeat this on both sides and the top of both door faces.
Place a level on the face of the hinge side jamb. Adjust the bottom corner of the jamb in or out to position the bubble in the center of the level's indicator. Tap the jamb to adjust using a rubber mallet, or hammer and wood block.
Install one 3-inch drywall screw through the bottom corner of the hinge side jamb into the frame behind, once the jamb is level, to hold it in position. Add a second screw at the top of the jamb.
Place the level on the knob side jamb and repeat the leveling process, tapping the bottom end of the jamb in or out until level. Install one screw in each top and bottom corner.
Test the door for proper operation. Make any needed adjustments, by loosening the screws and tapping the jamb in or out until the door opens and closes smoothly. Tighten all screws.
Realign the door casing with the face of the jamb and nail in place with one finish nail every 10 to 12 inches. Leave the top corners of the trim loose until the top horizontal piece is in place. Adjust the top corners to snug up the corners joints with the top horizontal piece and nail it to the jamb header.
Fill all screw holes, nail holes and any seams that you created in removing the trim with painter's caulk. Smooth the caulk with a dampened finger. Touch up the nail and screw holes with a matching coat of paint.
- "Windows and Doors: Installing, Repairing, Replacing"; Various Authors; 2006
- "Ms. Fix-Its Window and Door Repairs"; Annette L Bach; 1974
- Photo Credit carpenters level image by Richard Seeney from Fotolia.com
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