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I installed a new door on an old frame. However, when I attached the hinges the door doesn't want to close even though I still have plenty of room on the door handle side for it to close. How do I know if I need to adjust the hinges on the frame or plane the frame down? The door will shut if I force it and that puts pressure on the hinges.

I have approximately 1/4" clearance around the door knob side, top, and bottom but not on the hinge side. Should there be some spacing there?

  • It sounds like the hinges aren't seated properly. Can you post a link to a picture of the hinges? – ChrisF Feb 4 '12 at 12:25
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    While I'm charging my phone, I'd like to ask another question. I have approximately 1/4" clearance around the door knob side and top and bottom but not on the hinge side. Should there be some spacing there? – Connie Feb 4 '12 at 13:01
  • May be a stupid question, but... Do you have the hinges on the right way? If you have the hinges backwards; so they are actually "opening" when you are closing the door, depending on the hinge they may just about "close" but not quite. – Tester101 Feb 4 '12 at 15:16
  • There is no such thing as a stupid question, so here goes. I'd like to believe I don't, but just in case, do I have to take the hinge off to check if it is backward? – Connie Feb 4 '12 at 16:08
  • @connie we have a bunch of these old questions coming up, were you able to figure it out if the answer was helpfully accept it if not provide the answer for others and accept your answer. – Ed Beal Feb 7 at 18:15
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If the door resists being closed just as it is almost closed, then you certainly have a hinge problem. I've seen a lot of this particular problem in old houses I've lived in, where it is usually caused by excessive paint thickness on the frame and door edges at the hinge side. These faces meet before the hinges are closed, so when you force the door shut you are actually levering the hinge screws out of the wood. (Don't do that!)

You can see whether this is the problem by looking at the side of the door where the hinges are — if the door and the frame touch before the door is shut, then you have this problem. (Since you mention that there is no clearance on the hinge side, I assume this is the case.) In extreme cases, you will see the hinges lift away from the wood as you force the door shut.

You will need to fix things so that the meeting faces of the hinge plates are flush with (or above) the surface of the door and frame, rather than set below the surface (as depicted in the drawing on the right).

Planing the frame (or door) is certainly one way to do that, but I'm not a real DIYer (I just pay attention to the spaces I live in) so I don't have any experience with which to say which is the right solution. I hope I have helped illustrate the problem.

  • Thank you for your response. The door and frame do touch before the door is closed and I will try your solution. Your illustration was tremendously helpful as well. I'll let you know when I finish! Thanks again!!!! – Connie Feb 4 '12 at 14:24
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Your door sounds as if it is "Hinge bound" ie.. there is insufficient clearance on your hinge side .....the door is binding on the door frame( door is hitting frame on hinge side and thus not allowing hinges to fully close... Ideally the hinge side of the door should have a back bevel,cut/planed down the full length of door..this will help the door to pass beyond the flush....hinges should be set specific to type off hinge used...Ideally you should be able to pass a coin (2-3mm)around the door whilst in frame...

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Jan 26 at 17:24

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