How To Hang and Repair Doors Like a Professional

Hanging a new door is a relatively straightforward exercise. Most doors are hung on ordinary butt hinges, although rising butts are used where the door has to clear a thick floorcovering as it opens. Two hinges, set 150mm (6in) down from the top of the door and 230mm (9in) up from the bottom, are fitted on most doors, while on heavy doors a third hinge may be added midway between the other two.

Hanging the door

With all the preparatory work completed, the door should be held in the open position so that the hinge positions can be marked on the door frame and the recesses cut. Of course, if you are hanging a door in an existing frame, you will have fitted the hinges to the door to match the existing hinge positions. The door is then fixed with first one screw per hinge, and a check is made that it swings and closes correctly. If adjustments are needed, the recesses can be chiselled out or packed as necessary. Where rising butts are being used, you may have to bevel off the inside of the door’s top edge so it clears the frame as it opens.

The last stage is to mark the latch position on the door frame, and chop out the wood to receive the latch plate.

Door repairs

You can stop a door rattling by fitting self-adhesive foam draught strip around the edges of the stop bead against which the door closes. For a permanent cure, however, you should reposition the latch plate in which the door catch engages. This will involve chiselling out the recess on the door frame by a few millimetres on the side furthest from the door face, and replacing the plate.

Sticking doors can be caused by a build up of paint on the door edges, by loose hinge screws or by opening joints on a framed door. To cure the first, plane off about 3mm (1/sin) of wood along the door edge, prime, undercoat and repaint. To cure the second, tighten the screws in the top hinge after wedging the door up slightly in the open position. If they will not grip use longer screws, or plug the old screw holes with thin dowel.

If the joints in a framed door have opened up, open the door and wedge it up slightly at the outer edge. Then tap glued hardwood wedges into the mortises (cutting a starter slot with a chisel first if necessary) to tighten up the joints. Leave the door wedged up overnight, and trim off the wedges flush with the door edges when the glue has set.

Doors may squeak either because the hinges need oiling or because the door is catching on the frame. The first of these problems can be cured simply with a small quantity of oil. The second problem should be tackled in the same way as for sticking doors. But check where the door is catching and sand any slight protrusions.