How to Fix French Doors That Don't Close Properly

Written by gail logan
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French doors not installed properly are prone to catching along the top or bottom of the door, or along the door jamb or in the centre where the two doors meet. Also, the wood in the French doors or along the door jambs may grow or shink over time, causing the doors to fail to close properly. If any of these is the case with your French doors, the problem can be fixed in a few simple steps.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Screws, 2 1/2 inches long
  • Screwdriver
  • Hand planer
  • Sanding block

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Check the French doors to see where they are not closing correctly. Test the doors separately, opening and closing them one at a them. Then open and close them at the same time to check whether they are rubbing where the two doors come together. The spot where the doors rub will determine how the problem should be treated.

  2. 2

    Test the screws in the hinges to ensure they are screwed in tightly. If they are tight and there is still a problem, remove the current screws and insert your longer, 2 1/2-inch screws into the top hinge. Screw in tightly. The longer screws will pull the door closer to the door jamb, helping to prevent it from rubbing along the top of the door or outer centre edge.

  3. 3

    Take out the current screws in the middle or bottom hinge and replace them with longer screws if the door is rubbing along the ground; this will shift it upward.

  4. 4

    Sand away any spots that are causing rubbing along the outer edges of the door. If necessary, remove the door from its hinges to sand areas that cannot be reached while the door is in place. Before you remove the door, mark the area on both sides with a pencil so you will know the spot to target. Lie on the floor while sanding. Put the doors back into place and test them. If necessary, repeat sanding.

  5. 5

    Plane away slivers of wood using the planer tool. Shave only a thin strip at a time, as you can always take more off. The planer can be used while the door is in place, but if the spot is near to the door jamb, remove the door by unscrewing the screws from the hinges to avoid causing damage to the surrounding area. Put the door into place and open and close to determine whether the process needs to be repeated. Smooth the areas that were planed with the sanding block.

Tips and warnings

  • Retouch the door paint, if necessary, after planing and sanding.

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