Doors are an essential part of any home. They help to keep us protected from unwanted visitors such as burglars and also help to keep the warm air in and cold air out. Most entry doors (or exterior doors such as front or back doors) also have integrated security ranging from basic rim cylinder (‘night latch’) type locks to more secure multi point locking systems.
Some doors have a combination of these such as a rim cylinder and a mortice lock for ‘dead-bolting’ the door. Doors provide us with much needed security and it’s easy to take them for granted until something goes wrong and they need repairing.
Unfortunately door repairs are a common fact of life and at some point you may need to call in an expert to help you with yours. In the meantime, learn about the most common door faults, how you can help to prevent them from occurring and what to do when things go wrong.
Common Door Faults / Door Repairs
Doors are pretty resilient but over time even the most secure door is likely to develop a problem of some sort. The most common types of door faults are:
- Alignment Problems
- Door Swelling
- Rusty Hinges
- Hardware Failure
- Faulty Weather Stripping
- Faulty Door frames
In addition to this doors and frames can also be damaged by brute force during a burglary, although there are products available on the market which can mitigate against this type of risk.
Door Repairs – Alignment Problems
Sometimes a door can become loose on its hinges which will cause problems when trying to open or close the door. This doesn’t usually affect the function of the lock or handle at first, but over time a misaligned door can cause stress on locking mechanisms which can make it difficult to lock or unlock the door.
This type of problem is more common with uPVC doors due to the fact they are heavy units and require aligning with a combination of spacers and screws. Over time the sheer weight of the door on its hinges can cause it to come out of alignment, and when this happens it can become difficult to activate the multipoint locking mechanism and the door will no longer close or lock properly.
At this point it is advisable to contact a local locksmith who specialises in uPVC door repair so they can adjust your uPVC door. Provided no real damage has been done to the locking mechanism the door can usually be fixed by adjusting a few screws. Continued use of the door without contacting a specialist to assess and repair the alignment issue can cause additional problems which may require a new multipoint locking mechanism.
Door Repairs – Swelling
Door swelling is a problem affecting untreated wooden doors during humid conditions which can cause them to absorb moisture, swell and become stuck fast. Usually a bit of force will open a swollen door although it may cause some damage to the door frame, however once a swollen door is open it will be almost impossible to close again.
Usually the open edge of the door will need to be sanded or planed to allow it to close and sometimes the door hardware such as handles and locks will also need to be realigned or replaced to make an effective door repair. Making sure the door has been treated and decorated/painted correctly will help to prevent this problem occurring.
Door Repairs – Rusty Hinges
Well-kept hinges are essential for the continued smooth operation of a door, but a combination of weathering and a build-up of dirt and grime can cause hinges to become stiff and noisy. If hinges are not kept clean or treated occasionally with a lubricant they can start to rust and seize up, and a rusty hinge is likely to need replacing at some point.
Doors to outbuildings which aren’t used frequently such as sheds and garages are more likely to suffer with rusty hinges than a front door, and a severely rusted hinge can prevent entry altogether. The only solutions at this stage are either to remove the door from its hinges (if they are not obstructed and can be accessed easily) or in very extreme cases for the door to be completely cut away with power tools which will obviously require the door to be replaced. Prevention is always better than cure, and a little bit of oil every now again can help to prevent a costly door repair.
Door Repairs – Hardware Failure
Handles and locks are the most common types of door hardware which are prone to failure. These are the most stressed points of a well-used door and over time will simply wear out and need repairing or replacing.
Door handles can fall off revealing the spindle, or they can fail internally – no longer engaging the spindle when the handle is turned. Either way the handle will need replacing. The ardent DIY’er may find replacing door handles a breeze, but most people might need to call a local locksmith or handyman.
Occasionally on wooden doors the mounting screws can become worn where they make contact with the door allowing the handle to work itself loose or worse, simply pull away from the face of the door completely.
Door locks can fail in a multitude of ways. The key can snap in the lock, the lock itself can seize up, parts of the locking mechanism can break internally and over time the teeth on the key can also wear down no longer pushing the locking pins into the correct position (if you are interested in learning how pin tumbler locks work take a look here). At this point the key will usually go into the lock but it won’t turn.
Lock failures usually require repairing by a professional as the old lock needs to be removed and the new one installed. Depending on the type and size of lock this may require additional work to the door to install fixings for the new lock.
Door Repairs – Faulty Weather Stripping
Most exterior doors have some sort of weather stripping which is installed around the inner frame of the door for draught exclusion. If this stripping starts to deteriorate or comes away it can leave gaps which, if not repaired, can lead to further damage to the door caused by cold and wet weather. In untreated wooden doors this can lead to door swelling if the weather conditions are humid.
The gaps will also cause heat loss from the house which can increase heating bills. On the scale of DIY door repairs this is a relatively simple fix requiring a couple of rolls of self adhesive weather stripping. No need to call in the experts for this.
On uPVC doors the weather stripping compresses once the locking points are engaged creating a water tight seal to help prevent water ingress.
Door Repairs – Faulty Door Frames
Door frames can also be responsible for preventing a door from opening or closing. If the frame is swollen or cracked it can interfere with the normal operation of the door. If a frame is damaged around the hinges it can cause the hinges to come away which will cause alignment problems. If a door frame is swollen it can prevent a door from opening or closing.
The good news is repairing a door frame isn’t usually as expensive or as complex as repairing a door and as far as door repairs go it is something you can attempt yourself following instructions in the video below.
Door Repairs – How To Repair a Rotten Door Frame (Video)
Hopefully this has given you some insight into the common problems affecting doors and the methods required to perform effective door repairs. If you have a problem with your locks or doors give us a call on 0800 0612 677. We’re available 24 hours a day.