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Adjust a Door Jamb To Straighten a Twisted Door

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Dick in Rhode Island tunes into The Money Pit on WPRO. And you’ve got some twisted doors, Dick. What happened?

    DICK: Oh, I don’t know. They … they’re new … they were new French doors; you know, with the glass lights, okay?

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: How many lights?

    DICK: And … well, there’s a pair of them in one … in one entryway, if you will. And they … they’re probably seven years old but they were never finished, I guess. So never sealed or anything. It’s just the natural wood. And unfortunately, one of them is displaced at the bottom, approximately an inch from the other door, so that it doesn’t go across in a straight line. And yet, the … where the hinges are is fine and across the top they’re both fine. The problem is that one is displaced. Is there any way that that can be -?

    TOM: Okay, so the bottoms of the doors don’t quite meet at the right place. One’s sort of twisted in, correct?

    DICK: That’s correct. Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, okay. Well, the way to straighten this out is by adjusting the jambs of the door. And hangling … hanging – hangling. (chuckling) Hanging a pair of French doors is a pretty tricky operation. Because, typically, if you have a door that’s not lined up at the bottom, the jamb – where the bottom hinge is – has to either move forward or backward – forward toward the outside of the house or backward toward the inside of the house – to get that to line up. And, sometimes, if it’s a lot of room, you may have to move it sort of halfway on one jamb and halfway on the other jamb. Because the goal, here, is not as much to have the doors be perfectly plumb and level but to have them line up and look that way.

    DICK: Right, okay. Straight line at the bottom.

    TOM: You follow me? Yeah, exactly.

    DICK: Where the problem is. Right.

    TOM: Yeah, and if it’s a wood door, they could be in constant movement. So, really, what has to happen is it has to move at the jamb. Now, how do you do that? Well, if it was me, I’d probably be taking the molding off on the inside of the door. If the jamb was really, really secure so you couldn’t move it at all, I’d probably use a saws awl to cut the nails out from back of the door jamb so I could have room to move it. Then I would very carefully pull it one way or the other until I got it the position I wanted. And then, I would re-secure it in place.

    DICK: Okay. Actually, there’s really no jamb. It’s … let me see … yeah, there is on one. But jamb; is that some … like a stop against which the door should -?

    TOM: No, that’s what the hinges are attached to. That’s the frame of the door. It’s the jamb; the door jamb. Okay? And that’s going to be nailed to the frame of the house. And so you need to break that connection to be able to move the door one way or the other.

    DICK: Really?

    TOM: Yep.

    DICK: You can do it by adjusting (inaudible) –

    TOM: (overlapping) By adjusting the jamb; that’s right. Yeah, think of it as moving the entire plane of the door. If you move the door one way or the other at the jamb, the inside’s going to adjust.

    DICK: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But it only needs to be adjusted on that bottom where the door is not meeting up?

    TOM: Correct. (inaudible)

    LESLIE: And then, think about finishing that wood. Really think about taking care of it; putting some sort of a urethane finish on it so it’s sealed up so it will resist warping and twisting a little bit.

    TOM: That’s right. And how many sides does a door have, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Six. Please.

    TOM: That’s right, six sides.

    DICK: Okay.

    LESLIE: Six sides.

    TOM: So cover every one of those sides with the proper finish because that’s going to stop it from warping in the future. Okay, Dick?

    DICK: Yeah, okay. So the idea is to move the bottom jamb forward, I guess.

    TOM: Correct. To close down the gap.

    DICK: Yeah. Okay, we’ll give it a shot. Thank you. Enjoy the show.

    TOM: Well, thank you very much and thanks for calling in from WPRO in Providence, Rhode Island.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number.

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