• UK Oak Doors Blog

How To Correct Common Problems with Doors – Binding Doors

The quality of the fit and performance of any door is only as good as the fixtures holding it in place. Even if you choose one of our best doors from our most prestigious ranges you cannot make up for deficiencies in the quality of the fitting.

Over time even with careful use, the door fit within the frame may develop certain defects. These defects will cause the door to clip the frame in places, making it difficult to open and close or may prevent the door shutting altogether. In this edition of ‘How To Correct Common Problems with Doors’ we will be focusing on binding doors – problems with hinges, screws and latches.

Binding Doors - What to do

Check for Loose Screws

It sounds obvious but when it comes to binding doors, one of the simplest problems that can occur with the door hinges is that the screws have come loose. This will mean the door will pull away from the frame making it difficult to open and clashing together as it is closed. If the screws turn but without actually tightening you will need to either:

a) use longer screws to penetrate further into the wood

b) use thicker screws (hinge bracket screw holes may prevent this)

c) use glue covered splinters of wood (e.g. matchsticks) and insert them in to the hole. This will create a tighter fit giving the screw more purchase grip (but is only suitable for lightweight interior doors)

TIP: to avoid binding doors check all screws are properly countersunk for a nice snug fit to the hinge metal.

Strained Hinges

Strained hinges can sometimes be the reason behind binding doors. This is when the weight of the door has bent the hinge out of shape. This will increase the swing radius of the door and create friction and possibly prevent the door closing altogether. If the strained hinge was not the outcome of misuse then it is likely the hinges were not strong enough for the weight of the door. We typically recommend T Hinges or butt hinges for fixing our range of solid oak internal doors.

It's really down to your own personal preference as to what type of hinge you want to use.

T Hinge


For the more traditional style doors such as barn/cottage style or ledge and brace doors, the T Hinges work really well and are a very popular choice. As a rule of thumb, select a size of T hinge that is approximately half the width of the door (so if it's a 3' door then use a pair of 18" T hinges, if it's a 2'6" door then the 15" T Hinges would be fine).

stainless steel butt hinge


For the more contemporary doors such as the Mexicano or Victorian doors, you'll probably want to use a pair of butt hinges (although there is no technical reason why you couldn't use T Hinges on the Mexicano if that's your preference). We would recommend a pair of good quality 3" butt hinges, such as the stainless steel option (pictured) or the more traditional black butt hinges in a beeswax finish.

The black butt hinges also look great when combined with the ledge and brace door or barn door - it really does come down to what you feel works well with your own interior.

Problem with the Hinge Mortise Depths:

Sunken Hinges

Sunken hinges can be another cause of binding doors. This is when the hinge has been set too deep into the frame causing the door to bind with the frame at the hinge side just before it closes. To rectify this you will need to:

      • Remove the door from the frame.
      • Unscrew the screws from the problem hinge.
      • Cut un-corrogated cardboard to fit behind the hinge. This will pad out the distance between hinge and frame.
      • Reattach door to frame temporarily using only one screw per hinge to test and check the problem is resolved. Unscrew hinges and adjust padding depth using other sheets if necessary.
      • Once sure the binding doors issue is resolved screw in the other screws to fully reattach the door.

Exposed Hinges

A door with an exposed hinge will exhibit the problem of the door binding to the frame on the lock side. An exposed hinge means that the metal of the hinge is not flush with the wood surface of either the door or the frame. To rectify this you will need to:

      • Remove the door from the frame.
      • Unscrew the screws from the problem hinge.
      • Carefully deepen the mortise with chisel and hammer. First cut the perimeter edges of the mortise. The chisel must be vertical with the bevel side facing the mortise. Next gouge out the centre part of the mortise with the chisel bevel side down using small taps.
      • Once metal is flush with the wood surface smooth off the mortise and screw in the hinge.
      • Reattach door to frame.

This entry was posted in 'How To' Guides, Oak Door Articles, Resources on August 4, 2011 by will.

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