Asked on May 13, 2020

Door gap

Connor Hawke
by Connor Hawke

Backstory: There are some gaps around my apartment doors I'd like to fill, most notably a diagonal gap at the top of the main door, as shown in the photo. I own the apartment, not just rent. Replacing/restructuring the door/frame entirely for a perfect fit would be the ideal solution but meanwhile I want a quick fix to cover the gap, primarily to prevent the smell of secondhand smoke from smoking tenants entering my apartment, which occurs regularly as they smoke at the front door of the building close to my apartment. Any sort of padding I place in this gap such as weatherstrips fall out with continued use of the door. I wanted to screw on an upside-down door sweep but the metal door is not very accepting of my cobalt drill bits, as you may be able to see in the photo.

TLDR: How would you fill/cover this gap and fix the sagging door? Weatherstrips fall out and door is unfriendly to drilling.

  14 answers
  • Mogie Mogie on May 13, 2020

    I am assuming this is an exterior door.

    1. Open the exterior door. Examine the weatherstripping on the bottom of the door to see if there are holes or worn areas.
    2. Pull the weatherstripping toward the outer edge of the door. Continue pulling until it completely releases from the grooves in the bottom of the door.
    3. Measure the weatherstripping, then buy another piece that's slightly longer. Cut it to fit with a utility knife then push the barbs of the weatherstripping into the grooves on the bottom of the door. Push in the weatherstripping until secure.
    4. Pry out the old weatherstripping from inside the door frame using a flat-head screwdriver. Buy new foam-filled vinyl-tube weatherstripping, the press it into the slots on the inside of the door frame. Insert on the top and both sides by pushing it in with your fingers.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 13, 2020

    Hi! You can also add a door sweep to the bottom. It will give you less air flow if you do that in addition to the weather stripping. Good luck and stay safe!

  • It sounds like you have tried all the easy fixes. Replacing it might be the best solution.

  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on May 13, 2020

    I have a steel door also and it is near impossible to nail anything. Try your idea of the upside down weatherstrip but use glue-E6000. We framed our door with wood using glue, painted them, and it is holding very well. It is a main door to the garage and gets used constantly and is exposed to the cold. Also added decorative frame moulding bought at Home depot to give the flat door some interest. Hope some of these ideas help.

  • I agree with Anita, it may be time to replace it.

  • William William on May 13, 2020

    The door is sagging (and I assume binding when opening and closing) from the weight of the door and possible worn hinges. A quick fix for the gap would be to glue an upside down door sweep to cover the gap. One solution to close the gap Another solution is to shim out the lower hinge at the door jamb with some cardboard. If the door has three hinges first shim the lowest hinge and see if the gap is gone. Other wise shim out the middle hinge also. This will push the door slightly out at the bottom and in at the top.

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on May 13, 2020

    Here's an off-the-wall idea for a quick fix - although I DO agree, carpentry work is required because, by the looks of things, this building has settled. But on to the quick fix. Have you tried Command Strips to attach the door sweeps? There is a velcro variety that will take a lot of punishment - but can also be removed without marring either surface. Just a thought.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 13, 2020

    The hinges are most likely your issue. The article posted by William should help you in fixing it. Since you own it, you might consider replacing the door with a door that comes with the casing as well.

  • Nan W. Nan W. on May 13, 2020

    Connor: since you rent... contact your landlord to fix the issue! I doubt the door is closing properly. --- so it is a maintenance issue.

  • Penny Penny on May 13, 2020

    Try a wood shim glued to the top of the door, caulk and paint it to match. I did that to mine and you only notice it if you are eye level

  • Dee Dee on May 13, 2020

    I just fixed my front door by adjusting the hinges. It worked like a charm. Then I took an old candle and rubbed it against the weather stripping. No more stickiness.

  • Connor Hawke Connor Hawke on May 13, 2020

    Managed to drill it after applying 3-in-1 oil. Metal layer was thin, no more than 1cm. Screwed on an upside-down sweep over the top gap and self-stick sweeps over gaps on the side and bottom of the door. So that's my current DIY project done.

    I guess for my next project relating to sealing my apartment I'll eventually get to properly covering/filling the gap at the top of the front window which doesn't close all the way, at least until the closing issue is fixed - although I'd have to move the coaxial cable to another window to allow this window to close fully as the cable comes down from the building roof entering my apartment through this window. Right now I'm simply using an inordinate amount of duct tape over the window gap which nonetheless provides some degree of insulation and which is easily taped snugly around the coaxial cable. Nonetheless any tips on proper fixes for this are also welcome.

    In the meantime, thanks everyone for all of the suggestions. I read them all and was about to try some of these if the drill reattempt didn't work. Really appreciated.

  • Heje Heje on May 17, 2020

    Put weather stripping on the frame on the outside of the door in the hallway. Then when you can work with the hinges, see how they are fashioned and repair.