What to Do when You Have a Loose Door

Few things are more annoying than a door that just won’t shut tight. There is a particular name I like to give to the phenomenon: a loose door. Whether you want to refer to the door that swings loosely as loose or not too tight is up to you. I have traveled across half our state to see about this problem. A construction maven friend of mine has given me some tips on how to deal with this problem that is almost bound to strike all of you at one time or another.

Essentially, a loose door is a mathematical problem in the guise of a construction problem. What is the opposite of loose? Tight. And so that means the first steps to take when trying to stop the problem of a loose door is to tighten it up. In many cases the step toward tightening a loose door is to determine if the actual door was the right size for the frame into which it was placed. If the door proves to be too small for the frame, the initial step toward solving this mathematical equation is to head down to your local hardware store or, if that is not practical, give your bidness to the Home Depot or the Lowe’s or the Wal-Mart (though, goodness, knows Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart hardly need your business), and buy an inexpensive piece of weather-stripping.

Install the weather-stripping on the side of the doorjamb where you find the latch. If the latch itself is the root of the evil of a constantly opening and shutting door, then your best bet is to conduct some adjustments on that strike plate. Sometimes the latch simply does not reach the strike plate when the door shuts. If this is what is behind the headache of your loose door swinging out like Peter Allen at a Rock Hudson party then the answer is to either shim the plate out enough so that the latch will catch or, if necessary, install a better strike plate. If after either of these steps you still find that your door continues to slide open on a moment’s notice then it is time to engage in a bit more shimming. This time you will need to shim not the strike plate; that ship has sailed. If the shimming of the strike plate does not work and the purchase of a new strike plate from your local hardware Hank (NOT Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe’s if you can in any way help it) does not work, it becomes time to shim out the door hinges.

This process may sound complicated, but if done right it should take less time than you would waste watching two bad singers get ripped by Simon Cowell, the man who makes Simeon from The Lillian Verner Show skit on Mad TV look like Warren Beatty.

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