Creak, Rattle and Scrape: Three Common Door Problems

Posted on November 18, 2015.

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We walk through doors dozen of times a day, but often only notice them when they're misbehaving. All your efforts to avoid waking a sleeping baby can be ruined by one squeaky bedroom door, while a back door that doesn't latch properly leaves your home vulnerable to theft.A few facts about door installation and construction can help you understand why these issues arise.

Out of Plumb

The commoncause of a rattling or scraping door is that it's "out of plumb." Plumb simply means "vertical," and a door out of plumb is not perfectly vertical, and therefore not parallel with its frame. This is usually due either to its hinges being misplaced when installed, or the frame warping from moisture or temperature changes. A level can determine whether a door is out of plumb and needs adjustment.


A door's latch is composed of the latch bolt, which the door handle turns, and the strike plate on the door jamb, where the bolt catches. If these are misaligned during a door installation, the door won't latch properly, and may not latch at all.If it's only slightly off, the strike plate can be filed down. Otherwise, it will need to be removed and repositioned to match the door's bolt.

Squeaky Hinges

One of the most common problems is fortunately one of the easiest to fix. A bit of oil will silence most hinges.To make sure all the metal is properly lubricated, insert a metal nail under the pin of each hinge to push it partway up, and spray or drip oil over the hinge and pin. Then drop the pins down again, and open and close the door a few times to spread the lubricant around.

Most of these problems and more occur during the door installation, although they can get worse with time. To ensure your doors work properly from the start, hire a professional, who will have the tools and knowhow to avoid the common installation mistakes.