Do It Yourself Repair: Stop A Door From Drifting Closed

Unless you're in a scary movie, the bedroom door isn't supposed to drift closed by itself. Here's how you can fix the problem without calling in a priest.

Unless you're in a scary movie, the bedroom door isn't supposed to drift closed by itself. Though doors are moving parts, they're designed to stay in place, not float around like an apparition from the great beyond.

Sometimes it doesn't work that way, but there's no need to call the exorcist just yet. There are several quick, easy fixes that you can try on your own before you call in the priest. These repairs are also much less likely to make your neighbors cross the street to avoid making eye contact with you.

First, you should be sure that there isn't an excessive amount of weight on the door. A poster is fine, but an over-the-door towel rack with three sopping-wet towels is probably too much weight for the door to handle. Remove the extra weight and see if that helps.

You can also check the stop (on the wall or baseboard behind the door) to be sure it is in proper working condition. It's not likely that this will make your door drift closed, but the way that you use the stops can pose a problem. If you have the spring-type baseboard stops, they'll usually cause the door to bounce back - giving the appearance of door drift - if you shove the door open too hard.

If being a bit gentler doesn't help, check out the hinges. Inside doors (bedroom, bathroom, et cetera) usually aren't susceptible to humidity, which causes wood to swell and contract. However, their hinges do loosen sometimes. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws.

While you're there, make sure that the doorjambs are flush and tight. The older they are, the more likely it is that they can work loose. Aging glue, heavy or rough use, and plain old aging can all be remedied, at least temporarily, by tapping the jamb lightly with a hammer.

Speaking of older houses: wooden doors can be susceptible to warping. If this seems to be the problem, you can buy a replacement door at the nearest home-improvement warehouse, hardware store, or even salvage yard. (You can always look through the seconds and rejects in search of something that only needs, say, a new coat of paint, to be a good, nice-looking replacement.)

You should also check the hardware (doorknob, tongue, et cetera). If these work loose and knock themselves out of alignment, your door probably won't stay shut. A screwdriver should fix the problem in just a couple of moments.

Some homeowners have to worry about this more than others. For example: if you live in a mobile home, you might have more of a problem than other people. You can try the previous fixes, but be prepared to re-level the trailer if they don't work. If more than one door is drifting, or not shutting properly, or is just hard to open, you should consider calling in the re-leveling crew.

One quick and easy way to check the levelness is to get a bubble level and place it in various spots on the floor throughout your trailer. Check all the rooms, paying special attention to the outside corners and the places above the foundation pillars (usually blocks).

You can do the same thing even if you live in a house with a solid foundation. Problematic doors can be warning signs of serious troubles - problems that can be confirmed with the level.

Usually, though, it's not that serious. With a little investigation on your own, you can often fix the problem with a screwdriver or a bubble level.

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