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I just installed a solid wood door (first time doing it) and I got a gap of 3-4 mm on the hinge side and 6 mm on the striker plate side.

Just looking at it I think the gap is a bit too much, but I might be overthinking it. I even surface mounted the striker plate (instead of inset in a mortise) just to reduce the gap a bit.

door gap

door gap

The hinges are properly inset but I think that I can shim between the hinges and the door jamb with some cardboard shims.

  • If this is a inside door 6mm or ~1/4" would be fine. If a external door to be locked this is quite a large gap and it would be very easy to open the latch with a comb or pocket knife. – Ed Beal Jul 25 '16 at 13:36
  • This is a external door, but it is almost impossible to open the latch from the outside. There is some 5 mm of overlapped wood (I don't know what is the name of the part of the jamb that stops the door from swinging out) blocking the way. – Luiz Borges Jul 25 '16 at 14:21
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    It's appropriately called the "stop". :) – isherwood Jul 25 '16 at 14:31
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The two primary factors are latch operation and weather sealing (where applicable). 1/4" (6mm) is getting fairly large, but still within what I'd consider acceptable. It's hard to say without seeing it all in action.

Much more than that and I'd take your approach of shimming the hinges, but use some nylon or other non-biodegradable material in the case of an exterior door.

You could also surface-mount the strike plate, but this does look a bit less professional.

A less significant factor is the appearance of a large gap. Generally, as long as the gaps are individually uniform (parallel), they can be what they are. Varying gaps are what look sloppy.

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  • They are uniform, and this is something that I tried hard to ensure. Both the handle and the bolt latch holds the door. But I think I will shim it anyway just to make it more even. This is a exterior door but is fully protected from the weather, does the cardboard shims will hold? Otherwise I might make some shims from a plastic soda bottle. – Luiz Borges Jul 25 '16 at 14:24
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    Yeah, if they never get wet cardboard should work fine. It's easier to work with, too. – isherwood Jul 25 '16 at 14:30
  • BTW, can I shim the door one hinge at time without removing the door? Just unscrewing and screwing back with the shims? – Luiz Borges Jul 25 '16 at 14:48
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    Yes. There's typically enough play in the system to allow that. – isherwood Jul 25 '16 at 14:50
  • Done, shimmed with 4 pieces of cardboard under each hinge (1.5mm total) and now the gap is all around 4.5 mm). I will still leave the striker plate mounted on the surface for now, just to add an extra filler on the latch. After all that I realise that my door isn't perfectly flat (it warps a little bit diagonally) and my jamb is a bit wavy on the bottom. – Luiz Borges Jul 25 '16 at 17:16

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