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Internal French Door Problems

French doors are generally quite good when it comes to issues; they don’t develop many problems and if they do, they are usually very easy to fix.

Here are some of the most common internal French doors queries and ways to solve them.

Why won’t my Internal French Doors lock?

key to door

Photo by CMDR Shane on Unsplash

When the lock won’t work on an internal French door, the problem usually lies with the locking mechanism you currently have. If the lock is stuck, or something is in its way, the key won’t be able to turn enough to lock, or unlock, the door. Alternatively, the locking cylinder itself may just be broken and needs to be replaced due to wear and tear of the lock. This is only really possible if your lock is quite old.

To find out what’s causing the problem, you can remove the whole locking mechanism itself. You can do this by unscrewing the locking strip. Once you’ve removed all of the screws and the strip is off, you need to pull the locking mechanism out. When you have the lock, check for any wear and tear, or any potential obstruction. If there is anything obstructing it, remove it from the lock and put the lock back in place. It should be back in normal working order.

If the lock is damaged and can’t be repaired by cleaning and removing debris, it’s recommended that you change the lock.

Why don’t they shut properly?

If your doors aren’t opening properly one of the first things to do is check all the hinges. This is most likely to be the source of the issue. If the hinges are sagging, you will need to tighten the screws. Over time, the hinges can slowly loosen; this is natural when you have the weight of the door on the screws. They just need to be tightened once in a while.

If the hinge isn’t tightening while you’re turning the screw, you will need to try a bigger screw. This should need a bigger hole but will be able to better hold the door in place.

If you’ve tried this and your door still isn’t closing properly, you may need to trim your door. To do this, you first need to find where the issue is coming from. When you’ve found that out, take your doors off and put them on your saw horses. Then use your wood plane to take some of the door off. Along with your door, you should have received some information about your door. This should let you know how much of the door you can trim off without damaging it. If you can’t find the information, look at the retailer’s website or give them a call.

We suggest trimming off no more than 1/16 inch at first, you can always take more off. Then put your door back on the hinges, if you can shut it properly, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to trim a little more off.

Why am I having Issues with sticking interior French doors?

There are a few reasons why you could be having problems with sticking doors. You need to look for any scratches or damage around the door. This can show you where any sticking can be coming from. If you can’t find any damage, you may need to look at any grime and dirt that may build up around the door, especially near the frame. If there’s lots grime or sticky build-up, this may be your issue, give this a thoroughly clean and use a dry cloth to wipe away any moisture.

You can also close the doors and look through the gap between the door and door frame. Noting the places where the gap is very thin. Again, debris or anything between the door and the frame can be causing friction.

If you can’t quite determine what is going on through the gap, you can use a piece of paper. Run the piece of paper around the door, through the gap. The paper should glide through smoothly, the point where the paper gets stuck is where the problem is caused.

Try opening and closing the door on different areas of the door. Swing the door back and forth, to try and find the area with the area with the most resistance. Sticking can also be due to the hinges, if you can hear the hinges squeaking when you open and close the doors, try oiling the hinges.

The season is also something that can affect wooden doors. If it’s the summer and humidity is higher, then the wood would have expanded. Therefore, you won’t need a drastic solution. This is because a door that may stick in the summer, when the humidity is high, won’t stick in the winter. If you try a drastic solution, you’ll end up with a much-shrunken door in the winter.

How can I fix sticking Interior French Doors?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A lot of the time, hinges are the main cause in most sticking situations. They are either loose. If they are then it’s just a case of tightening the screws. Make sure you don’t over screw them but the hinge is snug against the wall so the door doesn’t lean out. The screws naturally loosen, so this is something that should be checked every now and again.

Doors are opened and closed several times a day, putting much strain that puts on the hinges. Put a small amount of oil on the hinges, to create a smoother motion to prevent the excessive pulling.  

If you haven’t noticed any small gaps between the doors, you may be missing the residue around the door. This can be removed with a damp scrubber brush. Be sure to choose one that won’t damage the wood or finish. Use a mild dish detergent too. Wipe around the perimeter of the door, this will remove any of the first and debris that’ll cause the door to stick. Wipe the door with a dry towel afterwards to remove the excess liquid and stop the wood warping.

There are the most common internal French door problems addressed and fixed. Be sure to look after your doors and take a look at the hinges every so often to help keep the doors healthy. If you have any general queries about French doors, don't forget to check out our internal french door FAQs. If you would like to know more about our doors and services, please contact us.