Internal doors should be trouble-free but can occasionally offer problems, particularly in older properties. Doors can stick, drag on their hinges or warp so they no longer close properly. But if you know what you are doing resolving these problems becomes pretty easy DIY stuff.
Know Your Door
First you have to know the sort of door you are dealing with. Many newer properties will have hollow panel doors. They will have a softwood frame with relatively thin panels glued to the front and back. They look quite convincing and fifteen years ago I had the shock of my life when I started drilling a hole to put a coathook on the back of a door and it just went straight through! Having lived in older houses all my life it just never occurred to me that there was any other door apart from solid wooden ones.
So that’s the first point, tap the door to find out if it’s hollow or solid. Beware that even some ‘solid’ internal doors these days are not what you and I would call solid. They are made up from dense chipboard with the ‘real wood’ relegated to a frame around the edges, similar to a hollow door. Technically they are solid, and are wood, but the first time I came across one I felt cheated all the same.
Squeaking hinges are a doddle, you just need to get some oil on them. A quick squirt of WD40 or a similar light oil will do the trick. Squirt gentley from the top down on the pivot in the middle of the hinge. Don’t overdo it, and have a cloth ready to wipe up the excess as it can stain. Work the door back and forth a few times to get the oil into the crevices of the hinge.
Wobbly Hinges on Internal Doors
If the door is wobbling on it’s hinges a few screws have probably come loose. In fact in our current property, parts of which are hundreds of years old, I despair of ever coming across a hinge that has it’s full complement of screws in it. Or any decent wood left at the bottom of the frame, for that matter. But enough of those problems.
Tightening hinge screws is unlikely to work as they wouldn’t have worked loos if there wasn’t a problem, and you have to solve the problem. It’s a reasonable first step though, and if the door stay in place for a while then great.
Hinges and Screws
It’s more likely that you will have to replace the screw with a fatter or longer one because it’s lost it’s grip, although this isn’t particularly good practice as there’s only so far you can go. If someone before you has already done it then you may be out of luck.
At worst you can open the door, support it underneath with a suitable piece of wood, then unscrew the three screws where the trouble is. Fold the hinge back, fill the hole with wood filler, then re-drill and put new screws in.
Sticking Internal Doors
If the door is sticking at the top, bottom or side then it’s likely to have warped, probably due to moisture getting into the wood. This really only happens to solid wood doors, by the way, and by that I mean proper solid doors. You may find it happening in cold weather and then miraculously fixing itself in the summer, when the warmer weather dries the wood out.
You can fix this by rubbing down the edges of the door where they are sticking, with sandpaper or a rotary sander. If the door is sticking at the bottom you can put sandpaper underneath it and work the door back and forth to take off the high spots. Make sure you clear the sand and grit out frequently though.
Once you’ve rubbed down a door edge you should paint it over to prevent damp getting in again. This is a bit harder if you’ve been working at the bottom of the door so you’ll just have to leave as it is, unless you fancy taking the door off and putting it back on again.
Have a Browse
So there you have it, a quick guide DIY solutions for the simple problems that you can get with internal doors. For more in-depth advice on some of the individual techniques used here, take a look at other basic DIY articles.