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Give old doors a new lease of life; Sticking doors, warped wood and squeaking hinges can easily be fixed Home Decor.

DOORS often develop problems over time through constant use, changes in conditions and because of redecoration.

Here are some common problems that you're likely to encounter and how to deal with them.


The usual cause of sticking at the side is coats of paint that have built up over the years along the frame and edge of the door.

Start by stripping off the paint with an electric sander or plane, then sand with fine sandpaper and open and close the door several times to check it moves freely.

When the door's closed, there should be a small gap between it and the frame-check for this by running a knife all the way round. If, at any point, there isn't sufficient space for the knife to pass through, plane the edge of the door until it can (it may be easier to take the door off its hinges when doing this).

The door should no longer stick, but, if it's painted rather than natural wood, the job's not done yet. Prime and paint the edges you've just planed, being careful not to apply the paint too thickly or the door may stick again and you'll be back to square one.


The reason for this is usually that the bottom edge of the door is unpainted, allowing moisture to penetrate and warp the door.

To solve the problem, remove the door from its hinges and dry the unpainted edge with a hot air gun, being very careful not to burn the wood or yourself.

If this doesn't solve the problem, clamp the door in a workbench and plane from the edge to the centre until the door's back to normal. When you're satisfied that the door no longer sticks, apply a couple of coats of quick-drying wood primer to the bottom edge to prevent moisture penetrating again and, when dry, rehang the door.


The door's top edge probably just needs a plane to prevent it from sticking. To do this, either remove the door and clamp it in a workbench, or hold it open with wedges of wood and plane it in situ, standing on a stepladder.

Door panel is cracked

If your door's painted, the solution's straightforward. Fill the crack with wood filler (preferably a flexible one), applying it with a filling knife so you get it as smooth as possible. Once dry, sand and paint over.

If your door's natural wood, it's not such a quick fix. Take a sharp knife and clean out the crack in the panel, then drill two or three holes (8mm in diameter) by the crack through the edge of the stile (long, thick, vertical piece of wood on a door) to line up with the edge of the panel.

Now cut two or three (depending on the number of holes you've drilled) 8mm dowels, ensuring they're 20mm longer than the stile is wide.

Squeeze wood glue into the crack and the holes in the stile, before driving the dowels into the holes far enough for them to close up the crack. Remove any excess adhesive and leave to dry. Once dry, saw off the protruding dowels with a junior hacksaw and finally smooth off with sandpaper.


Take an aerosol lubricant like WD-40 and spray it on to the hinge pins, preferably with the thin tube that comes with the spray so you can direct it exactly. Rock the door back and forth several times to ensure the lubricant is worked right into the hinges, and remove any excess lubricant.

If your door has rising butt hinges, lift the door off the hinge pins and smear petroleum jelly on to them. Remove any excess jelly and rehang the door.


IN THE FRAME... sorting out doors needn't be a big problem.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 2, 2007
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