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What to do if a Door is Sagging?

Sagging Doors

Doors are supposed to sit about an eighth of an inch above the floor, fitting square within their frames. But over time, the alignment can shift due to gravity, your home’s settling foundation, humidity, or a number of other reasons.

You want the doors in your home to be something you don’t have to think about, something that you can close and lock without effort. But a sagging door can cause frustration as it leads to a variety of problems.

For one, you may start noticing that you’re having trouble with your locks, even to the point where they’ve become impossible to use. There are two basic parts to a lock; the lock itself on the door and the strike in the frame. If your door has shifted from its original position, it means that the two parts don’t line up correctly and so it takes a lot more effort to use the lock.

Having to use force to get your door to lock isn’t always effective, and you may have considered getting help from a nearby professional locksmith in Vancouver, WA to solve the issue. But the problem may not be the lock at all. It could very well be a sagging door instead.

Prevent Floor Damage

A sagging door also leads to several other problems as the bigger gap between the door and the frame can cause drafts. The door might also be hitting the frame or the ground, making it harder to close. Having to force your door closed can damage your floor or the door frame over time.

A solution that often gets offered for this problem is to take the whole door off, sand it down, and then refinish it. This isn’t always the most practical thing to do, however. For one, it takes a lot of time and effort.

You also have to be careful to not sand off too much of the door, which can lead to a gap between the door and the floor. Especially if you’re a DIY novice, a project of this scale can be intimidating.

Fortunately, there are some easier things to try that can help a sagging door and don’t involve taking it off its frame.

Hinge Screws

Perhaps the easiest thing to start with is tightening the hinge screws. Years of using a door can loosen its screws, meaning that the door’s weight is not being supported as efficiently as it once was.

Take out one of the hinge screws to see how long it is. Ideally, your screws should be 2.5 to 3 inches, which allows them to reach the wall stud. But doors are often installed with shorter screws, which don’t support the weight as well.

If your door’s screws are long enough, tighten all of them up. This is especially important in the top hinge, which carries more stress. Make sure to use a screwdriver rather than a drill to avoid stripping the screws. This also prevents over-tightening. While you want the screws to be tight, overly tight screws are also a problem and can cause different alignment issues with your door.

If your screws are too short, replace them all with longer ones. When screwing in the new ones, make sure to do so one screw at a time so your door doesn’t fall off its frame. Again, avoid stripping and over tightening by using a screwdriver. During this process, you can also use a level to make sure your door is going on straight.

Hinges

If your door is still sagging after tightening the screws, check to see if the hinges themselves are damaged. Sometimes, they can get bent out of shape and don’t work the same afterward. If this is the case, you can replace your hinges.

Even if just one is damaged, replace all of them as different manufacturers’ hinges might differ slightly. Getting ones that are the same kind ensures that the weight is being evenly supported.

Door Frame

As a locksmith in Vancouver, WA, we get many inquiries from people who are having trouble shutting and locking their doors. But sagging doors aren’t the only problem; uneven door frames can also cause issues.

Are the frame and door on the same level? Frames can get out of alignment due to a shifting foundation or time. The humidity levels here in the Pacific Northwest can also cause wooden frames to shift and warp. Use a carpenter’s square to see if the corners of the frame are at 90-degree angles.

Frame problems have different solutions than sagging doors. If you suspect your issue lies with your door frame, consider calling a professional contractor.

Plane Your Door

While your issue might be solved with a simple fix, such as tightening hinge screws, in some cases, your best or only solution will be to take the whole door off and plane it. This is a process that involves sanding down the door along the edge that has been rubbing. Wooden doors that have absorbed moisture over time can swell, which leads to sagging problems.

Plane a little bit at a time to ensure that you’re not taking off too much of the door, which would lead to too big of a gap. As well, be careful and make sure you’re keeping the door as square as possible.

After planing, you should also refinish your door. A coat of paint or varnish, especially along the newly sanded edge, will help keep moisture out of the wood.

To further ensure this step is successful, replace the hinges and screws as well. That way, if these were damaged through years of use, they won’t continue causing problems with your newly refurbished door.

If you’re not experienced with this type of project, using a plane on your wooden front door might not be the best option for you.

Consider putting a new front door in instead and getting a new lock installed by a locksmith. Vancouver, WA is generally a safe place, but if you’re worried about leaving your home exposed while you sand and refinish your door, consider getting professionals to help.

For more information on ways a door can be improved to increase the level of security, click here.

How a Commercial Locksmith Determines the Hinges to Use

Growing your business should be an exciting venture that is full of possibility and while the company logistics should be a priority, employee and property safety needs to be at the top of the list as well.

Sure, it’s fun to dream of profits margins and the customers you are sure to serve, but it’s just as important to keep in mind the nuts and bolts of your commercial building.

This step is crucial for any new business owner or corporation and taking the time to learn the ins-and-outs of running a commercial building will pay off later.

Take, for instance, the doors that you will need to have installed on your property. Have you considered what type of hinges to use? It might seem small, but if you pick the wrong hinge for your doors, or worse, have your hinges improperly installed, these mistakes can lead to big consequences.

A commercial locksmith, like Harry’s Locksmith, has a specific way of determining which hinges they’ll install on your door. And today we’re going to demystify the process.

Most commercial locksmiths will tell you that there are industry tips and tricks that the layperson is probably not aware of and one of the things that a commercial locksmith can determine is what type of hinges will best suit your space, but let’s start with the basics.

What is a Hinge?

A hinge is the mechanical bearing that connects your door to the frame and while you might think that any old hinge will work on any door, your deeply mistaken. Different hinges allow different types of access to your entryway and are typically heavier so as to support metal or large doors that most commercial businesses typically have. There are even electronic hinge alternatives for doors that operate on an electronic access system. But before we discuss these varieties, let’s first understand how a hinge works.

Parts of a Hinge

A hinge is made up of five basic components. The leaves, the bearings, the pin, the “knuckle”, and the tips. The leaves are the metal plates that are attached to the door and the door frame. Bearings keep the hinge aligned and help protect the hinge from wear. The pin connects the leaves inside the “knuckle” and is the axis on which the hinge will bend. The “knuckle” is the hollow portion of the hinge and it creates the joint through which the pin passes. The tips, both the top tip and the bottom tip, help protect the inside of knuckle and keep the pin clean.

Now that you understand the basics, let’s explore the different types of hinges that can be used for your commercial building.

Types of Hinges

Most standard commercial hinges that are architectural grade strength will have similar properties, but there are some differences that a commercial locksmith would have to decide between.

For instance, most commercial hinges are standard or heavy weight, but could have either square or round corners. A commercial hinge could be ‘“template” or “non-template” hinges, which means that the screw pattern can either follow architectural guidelines (which would allow a standard hollow metal door prep) or not. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if a commercial door is intended for heavy use, you might want to choose a heavy-weight hinge, which will better be able to withstand the pressure of high-traffic use.

If you’re interested in an electric door hinge, that is another possibility. The options for these types of hinges are wired, concealed magnetic contact, and exposed electrical contact.

There are also some options when it comes to the types of leaves on your door hinge. Leaves could be equal or unequal widths, they could be bent to compensate for a door with a beveled edge, or “swaged”. You could also use any of the following bearings; ball bearings, concealed bearings, lube bearings, or “plain” bearings, but these differences will only matter to protect the longevity of your hinge, as the components tend to wear over time.

A commercial hinge might also have a joint that has any number of knuckles on them. While three is the most common design, there are certainly hinges that have five or more knuckles. And of course, the tips of your hinge can be decorative or plain.

All of these options might seem confusing, but a commercial locksmith will be more than happy to help you figure out which type of hinge will work best for your building.

Though, if you’re looking to install a hinge yourself, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of maintenance and how the materials will wear as time goes on. There is nothing worse than having to replace a hinge because the materials broke easily or they needed replacing after a small amount of use.

A commercial locksmith is the best way to assuage these concerns and will often guide you in selecting the choice that is most effective and cost-efficient. While the parts of a hinge might not seem pricey, picking the wrong materials that easily break or are unnecessarily expensive is not a dilemma that you should have to face.

At Harry’s Locksmith, we are experts when it comes to the safety of entering and existing commercial properties. Not only will our specialists deliver superior customer service, but we pride ourselves on easy and knowledgeable installations.

If you’re looking to move into your first commercial property or just want to update your hardware but don’t know where to start, allow us to guide you through this process. We will make sure that you are installing your commercial hinges properly, at a low cost, and with thorough consideration as to how your hinges will wear over time.

Give us a call today and let us help you keep your business running safely and efficiently.