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New Doors Won't Stay Closed

RobertMcG's picture

We are replacing interior, luan doors with raised panel doors. We brought the old doors to the store and the fellow measured the old ones and matched the new doors to the same size. He also notched out a small section where the hinges are recessed.  We had to chisel out slightly more wood (1/16”) to get the hinge to mount flush.  The old doors were stained; the new ones came with a coat of primer and we added one coat of semi gloss paint. We purchased new hinges. The hinges appear identical to the old ones only the news ones are nickel coated. The problem is that after we hang the door it seems to almost fit perfectly except it won't stay completely shut; it tends to pop open an inch or so. The thicknesses of the doors match exactly 1 3/8".

Likely it's the way the (post #205393, reply #1 of 3)

Likely it's the way the hinges fit the notches, and/or how the door fits the opening.  When the door is closed either the two hinge plates are bumping into each other or the hinge edge of the door is bumping into the jamp. 

You can determine which by closing the door on a piece of paper (a dollar bill works well because it's thin and strong) and seeing where you can't pull it out with the door closed.  Try it several places along the hinge side of the door, and then try with the dollar bil stuck between the two hinge leaves.  You should be able to pull it out everywhere.  If not you need to make corrections.

It may be that the notches for the hinges are too deep and you need to add cardboard shims behind the hinges, so that the door edge doesn't hit the jamb.  Or it may be that the hinge plates are hitting and you need to either cut the notches deeper or bend the plates.  Or it may be that the screws used in the hinges have heads that are too large and they are sticking out and causing the problem.

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Hinge bound is what it's called. (post #205393, reply #2 of 3)

And what is holding it or causing it to rebel from closing fully is what you have to hunt for.  Several possibilities are mentioned already, something as simple as the door rubbing on the stop on the hinge side or head will do it also.

If it's the stop, you'll have to get the gap between door and stop that is necessary and usual procedure when hanging doors, whether new or set to an old opening.

Will it latch when closed forcefully, but pops open when you just swing the door shut?


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Hinges fit in a mortice. If (post #205393, reply #3 of 3)

Hinges fit in a mortice. If the mortice is too deep, the edge of the door will hit on the jamb as you close it, known as hinge binding, sort of causing a spring like situation as you described. There can be other factors but since you cut the hinge mortices deeper, it's a good bet that this is causing the problem. Cut  pieces of cardboard the same size as the hinge mortices and place them under the hinge leaves, bringing them out from being flush with the door a little. It's pretty easy to do and will tell you if that's the problem.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match