At Home with Gary Sullivan

At Home with Gary Sullivan

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Fix up your Home's Front Door!

Is your front door giving you the fits? Does it jam or stick? You already know that your front door is one of the first things your friends and family see when they arrive so it shouldn't have any glaring issues. If you’re looking for information on how to fix front door alignment conundrums, read on! We’ve also thrown in a few helpful tips on renewing the look of your front door, too.

Fixing Your Front Door’s Alignment

The main cause of doors sagging, sticking or jamming is usually related to the hinges. Over time, the weight of the entry door pulls against the top hinge which in turn pulls the top hinge loose from the frame, causing your door to sag.

A sagging door can eventually cause problems with the door’s locks, bolts or latches. This will cause the door to stop working properly.

The first thing to do is to make sure the screws in the top hinge are in tightly. Follow these instructions:

1. Put on safety glasses. With an electric drill, tighten down all screws in the top door hinge.

2. If you find a screw that has been stripped this means that the hole has become too big for the screw. To remedy this, take a wood toothpick and place a dot of wood glue on the end.

3. Place the toothpick into the hole, move it around a little and then snap it off so the end remains in the hole.

4. Then, put the screw back in hole, and tighten it down with the drill to approximately half way. With a manual screwdriver, tighten the screw.

Another tip to fixing a stripped screw is to replace the existing screw with a longer screw – a galvanized deck screw works well. The longer screw will go into the door frame and also into the 2×4 behind. This will pull the door back up into frame, correcting the door’s alignment.

Continue to check and tighten the door’s middle and bottom hinges using the techniques described above. Open and close the door to check for proper alignment.

Renewing Your Front Door

After fixing your home’s front door alignment, give your door a new look! An inviting and attractive front door displays a cheery welcome to guests. Two ways to renew your entry door include repainting and/or cleaning or upgrading the hardware (including locksets, house numbers, doorknockers and kick plates).

Painting Your Front Door

Make sure you choose a morning with pleasant weather as you’ll need to leave the door open for a few hours. It’s best if the door is out of direct sun!

Place a drop cloth under and around the door to catch debris and paint splatters.

Remove the lockset and all decorative hardware. Set aside.

 Inspect the door- Examine the door for peeling paint, cracks and small dents. Check the door’s hinges for paint marks. If your door’s hinges are covered in paint, you may want to soak them in paint stripper to remove it. This will require removing the door and hinges from the frame.

Remove any peeling paint from your door and then sand the surface. Fill any cracks or indentations with a spackling compound.

Apply two coats of oil-based primer to seal the surface. After this, apply a good quality latex gloss or semi-gloss paint. Liven your entryway by choosing a color that provides a contrast to your home’s current exterior color. Or give your home a sense of harmony by choosing a color similar to your home’s current shade but slightly lighter or darker.

Brush or roll on the paint in long, vertical strokes in the direction of the wood grain. If your door is paneled, start by painting the moldings, then the panels, followed by the rails, and lastly the stiles.

In general, start on the inside of the paneled door and work your way to the edges. Let the paint dry a couple of hours before applying the second coat.

Cleaning the Door Hardware

If your door’s hardware has lost its luster, it’s easy to give it a quick cleaning. First, check your hardware’s finish as the cleaning method is unique to each type.

Clear-coated finishes-

Clear-coat finishes require cleaning with mild soap and water, then a gentle buff with a soft cloth. It’s a good idea to also coat the finish with a dab of car wax. This preserves the shine and protects it from the weather. (Don’t use a strong cleaning agent as it can destroy the protective coating and cause discoloration).

Oil-rubbed bronze finish-

Oil-rubbed bronze finish hardware starts with a brown coating that eventually changes to a dark copper tone. To clean, wipe with a little vegetable oil on a soft cloth. A mild abrasive powder can be used to restore its luster without affecting the original finish. Finally, rub the surface with furniture paste wax.

Bright or Satin Chrome finish-

For silvery chrome finishes, wipe the surface with a damp, soft cloth. To clean and restore the original shine or satin finish, apply a chrome polish following package instructions.

Fixing your home’s front door alignment and giving it a fresh coat of paint or finish is sure to boost the curb appeal of your house! This process may seem like a lot of work, but our guide makes this an easy weekend project. 

Interested in more home improvement tips? Click here.

Want to learn more about painting your home? Click here.

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