The doors in your home are the type of thing you take for granted until they stop functioning correctly, at which point they can create a major crisis; make sure you're prepared for your next malfunction by following these simple door repair tips. Doors that stick and won’t open properly can become more than a just a nuisance; regular forcing and jamming of the door into and out of its frame can lead to damage to both. Doors that won’t close, particularly exterior doors, can create a safety hazard and can also lead to big utility bills and a lot of wasted money. Proper and regular care of these often-used items can keep these problems from occurring, saving you the additional time and money required to repair them. Here are a few tips for door maintenance in your home to keep yours both looking great and working correctly.
Exterior doors get the most wear and tear because of their exposure to the elements and dramatic extremes of temperature. This tough life can lead to damage to the door’s exterior, leaving it tired and worn-out looking. Be sure to clean the surfaces of doors regularly with a damp cloth and, if necessary, a mild soap so as to not to do additional damage to the finish. Wood doors may need to be sanded every few years and re-coated with a protective finish. In addition to the finish, the weather stripping around your exterior doors will require some maintenance. Avoid harsh detergents and cleansers when cleaning, which can damage weather stripping and reduce its efficacy, and check to ensure it’s in good condition and properly attached to the frame before cold weather sets in.
Storm doors create an additional level of energy efficiency and can save you loads of money on heating bills, so long as they are functioning properly. At least once a year, check to ensure that the wind chain at the top is properly attached to prevent door from being blown open and damaged. The door should sit securely in the frame for optimal sealing; adjust the latches and the door-closer tension rod at the base of the door to ensure it's closing tightly.
Sliding doors that stick or make noise when being opened and closed cause unnecessary wear and tear on both your arms and on the door itself. Regularly vacuum the channels in which the doors sit and clean any dirt or grime that gets in them with a mild detergent and warm water. Don’t overly saturate the area and be sure to dry thoroughly after rinsing.
As with exterior doors, interior doors should be cleaned regularly to maintain their appearance; dust weekly with a damp cloth and clean up any spills or splatters as soon as possible. If a door starts sticking, try tightening the hinges, which can loosen over time. Closet or folding doors on tracks can also start to stick after a while; add a dab of petroleum jelly to the track wheel at the top to get them running smoothly again.
Hinges and doorknobs get a lot of action over the course of a year, and dirt, dust, and grime can build up and cause them to stick or squeak. Vacuum or dust regularly with a damp cloth, or try canned air to blow away any debris. Add a little lubricant annually to keep hinges, knobs, and locksets moving freely.