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Steel Door Won't Close

I have a steel entrance door that goes from the garage to the backyard, that won't close completely.
There is a 1/4" gap from top to bottom on the handle side.
I can just barely get the door to latch.
The door has been installed for several years with no problems at all.
There doesn't appear to be anything preventing the door from closing.
I had the heater on the other day (up to 50 deg F), for a few hours, and the weather outside got very cold.
Is it possible the frame is swollen?
What do I need to do to fix this?

Re: Steel Door Won't Close

Do you have the opposite crack on the other side of the door?
How old is the door? How old is the house?

Try removing the center screws from the top hinge. Replace them with 3" deck screws, tightening the hinge to the frame as hard as you can without deforming the frame. This will pull the door up towards the hinge. You can adjust the door a bit by tightening and loosening the screw. Check the rest of the hinge screws and the hinges to see if anything has come loose.

Re: Steel Door Won't Close

There is no gap on the opposite side of the door, and the door was installed when we built the garage, about 15 years ago.

The hinges don't appear to be loose, but I'll check the screws just the same.

A. Spruce
Re: Steel Door Won't Close

It's hard to tell from your description if the door is binding in some manner or if it's bolt is just not engaging into the strike plate. With normal expansion and contraction, the jamb strike plate may be just a bit out of alignment so that the handset bolt doesn't engage it. It could be too high or low, or it could be set too deep into the jamb. Some strike plates have an adjustable tang inside them to make the door close tighter, you may be able to adjust that tang without any adjustment to anything else.

Do check the hinges and hinge screws for looseness which can cause strike misalignment. If the hinge side of the jsmb is twisted to the strike side the hinges can close and bind on themselves before the bolt is able to engage the strike. Remove the trim on the hinge side and add some shims to stop the binding.

Could be other things, check out all the clearances and get back to us with more details.

Re: Steel Door Won't Close

Hmmmm.....I'm wondering if this could be "hinge bind"?
Perhaps the frame is swollen and the door refuses to come the rest of the way closed (hence the 1/4" gap).
There does seem to be some "spring" in the door as it gets closer to the closed position.
Maybe I need to shim the hinges off the frame?

I don't believe the latching mechanism is the issure here....the door simply won't make up the 1/4" gap.

A. Spruce
Re: Steel Door Won't Close

When you said 1/4" gap, I thought you were referring to the space between the edge of the door and the jamb, not the face of the door and the doorstop, which is apparently what you're describing. With this being the case, then I'd say that the jamb has twisted/warped on the hinge side, and the hinges are now binding. To double check this theory, as you close the door, watch the hinges (pin side ). as you force the door shut, do the hinge pins rock forward with the door? If so, then the hinges are binding. Depending on what the problem is, sometimes you can shim the jamb, between the framing and jamb to rotate the jamb forward. Sometimes you can shim behind the jamb side of the hinge plate.

Re: Steel Door Won't Close

I finally had a chance to tackle the problem on the weekend.....took the lower hinge screws out of the jamb, and wedged a paint stick behind the jamb.
When I closed the door, it was almost perfect, so I removed to paint stick, and tried again.
The door closes perfectly now, just the way it was before.
I'm leaving the screws out of the jamb until the weather warms up, then I'll re-install them and try it again.
Problem solved!

Many thanks for everyone's advise...it's greatly appreciated.


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