Settling house affecting exterior doors

Melissa K
by Melissa K
Help. My home is 26 years old and L-shaped. My fron door is solidly on the jamb at the top but not touching at the bottom. On an home improvement show some time ago, I learned that I could remove the hinges and shim the edge that no longer fits snug. Anyone else heard of this?
  7 answers
  • OK, got some questions for you. First off can you take a photo or two and post it? If the door is sitting square in the frame. meaning its parallel with the hing side and the space along the top is even from hinge side to door handle side, and your only concern is there is an uneven gap on the bottom of the door, No shimming is needed or should be done. Next off shimming a door is a very tricky thing to do. Even for experianced trim people. If your thinking to shim to take up space you may risk fouling up the entire fit of the door. Try to explain a bit better exactly what or how the door fits. Start from the hinge side, Then tell us about the gap along the top from the hinges to the door handle side. Is that even, or is there a difference in the gap, and if so what side is the gap the widest? Then tell us about the fit on the handle side of the door. Starting from the top to the floor level. Is it even or exactly what if its not. Then along the bottom edge. Even or not, If not where is the gap wider, near hinges or near handle side? Is the door fitting tight around the door stop trim? or is the door appear to be twisted and not fitting the frame tightly in that regard. Once we have these answers we should be able to give you a better idea of what you need to do to fix this issue.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 29, 2012
    I have also seen issues where the Hinge itself gets "worn" to a point where the door may sag on the strike side. In some cases here the door bottom gets trimmed to prevent it from dragging. Then in the future if the Hinges are replaced ...the door no longer fits.

  • Melissa K Melissa K on May 29, 2012
    I probably posted it wrong. Imagine you are facing the closed door, hinge on right. The door appears lopsided in the jamb, as though there is no bottom hinge. Now look down the strike side of door and you will notice that all is well until more than halfway down the frame, then there is a gap to the floor. Will try to get a pic in a sec.

  • Melissa K Melissa K on May 29, 2012
    Pictures posted. I should note that in 2005, the company that built my wheelchair ramp also replaced the threshhold saying that it was required by code. This threshhold is wide and flat, probably so as not in interfere with wheelchair operation. May have something to do with it. I don't know.....If you can help, please do and thank you for your responses. Makes me feel like someone cares about my dilemmas

  • Melissa K Melissa K on May 29, 2012
    The gap at the top from hinge to handle begins about midway and widens as you get to the handle side. The top portion of the door to about halway is flat against the jamb, then the gap begins and widens as you get to the floor.

  • It sounds as though the door frame has settled on the hinge side. Think of it like this and you will understand. The door is fixed to the hinge side. So if the hinge side move up so does the door, if it moves down same thing happens with the door. Now, the gap on the hinge side near the top will always remain the same. As this edge closest to the door hinge will move with that side just like the door would. However, If the gap on the door handle side along the top becomes wider, this indicates that the door on the hinge side has dropped. If the gap becomes smaller on the handle side at the top, this indicates that the frame on the handle side has dropped. Remember the hinge side will always remain the same so the frame and the door move together. I attached a quick sketch of a door and frame, Door on bottom right is yours I think. What has happened here is the door frame has settled. This can be caused by all sorts of factors. Termites or carpenter ants is one reason for this to happen. Another is to much moisture just below the door jamb allowing the door to settle. Not properly installed door frame is another reason as well. The fix is determined by what caused this movement. Shimming the door frame may be required if one knows for sure that no additional movement is happening. You may be better off having the door frame removed and then reset in the opening to assure that it is entirely level and plumb. You said the threshold is changed for ease of handicap use. This should have no bearing on how the door acts within the frame.

  • Melissa K Melissa K on May 30, 2012
    Wonderful solution Woodbridge. You hit the nail on the head. The handle side os facing the L of the house and we always noticed settling toward the L from the beginning. I think resetting the dor frame might just be the solution! Thank God for professionals like you.