Do It Yourself: How To Fix A Squeaky Doorjamb

SQUEAK! CREAK! That door has been driving you insane for days. Here's how to fix it.

SQUEAK! CREAK! That door has been driving you insane for days, and you're finally to the point where you have to either do something about it or scream until your windpipe collapses.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do about squeaking doors. Most of these solutions are quick, easy and cheap, so you don't have to run up a charge card bill or call a professional in to help you out.

First, you have to figure out the source of the problem. Turn off anything that's making noise - the blender, the surround-sound home theater system, the pool boy's boombox - and tell the kids to play The Quiet Game. Slowly open and close the door, listening closely. You may have to repeat a few times to get a bead on the source of the noise.

It helps to look while you're listening, so you can see when it squeaks. Sometimes a foreign object - usually too small to notice unless you're actively looking for it - interferes with the door. It could be a small chew toy, or perhaps a lot of dirt or dust buildup on parts of the hinges. Whatever the case, obstructions or buildups are easy to remove.

If the problem lies in the hinges, a few squirts of spray lubricant will probably fix it.

Lay down an old towel to catch any drips before they wreck your floor or carpet.



If the can comes with a straw, attach it to the nozzle and begin spraying at the top. Work your way downward, being sure to get the lube into the tight spaces between the hinge's parts.

You may have to repeat a few times a year, so keep the lube at the ready just in case.

If you have a wooden door (especially if it's outside, like the front or back door), it may squeak as it's opening and closing. This is because the door swells and shrinks with the elements. It absorbs a little moisture even if it's been sealed, which makes it expand slightly. This is one of the more common causes of scraping, squeaking doors.

Sometimes plain old dirt causes problems. Use a damp washcloth to wipe down the doorjamb. Make sure to clean the weather-stripping as well.

One other thing you can look for is evidence that the door is scraping against the jamb. If it's a painted or finished door, you will notice bare, raw marks where the door meets up with the jamb. The door might also be harder to open and close than it was before the problem started.

You can fix this, though, and it won't take all that long.

The first option is to readjust the door's hinges. This is especially helpful if, upon closer inspection, you find that one or more of the screws has worked itself loose over time. Tightening all of them down should improve the situation.

Another idea is to check the weather-stripping that surrounds the door. If it's worn or swollen, cracked or brittle, you should replace it. Putting fresh strips around the door could improve its operation, and get rid of that awful noise.

One of the extreme fixes is to shave the door down slightly with a wood plane. This obviously does not apply to non-wood doors, and it usually requires that you remove the door from its hinges and put it up onto sawhorses. That's why it's a more involved fix, hopefully one that is the last - or at least second-to-last - resort.

If even that doesn't work, you should check the entire door (inside and out) for cracks, warps, and other signs of extreme wear and tear. If it's too bad, you might need to replace it. While this can cost a little money, it should stop the noise - and, more importantly, provide more peace of mind for you and your loved ones when you go to sleep at night.

If these ideas don't work, you can always consult your local home-improvement warehouse for more tips and suggestions.

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