Rehanging hardwood stuck patio doors

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10 Mar 2021
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I need some advice on sorting out a stuck patio door. Only one of the patio doors the right one is stuck. Binding on the bottom opposite the hinge side. My thoughts were that the hinges had insufficient length screws, so working loose or hinges had bent or the wood had expanded on the bottom. The doors are hardwood possibly sapele, with individual double glazed panels and a rebated edge and 3 hinges per side. I am told that the door locks and unlocks without problem, (haven't tested this myself) however the door will move but binds on the bottom.
I had suspected a broken floor bolt but seems unlikely as the lock seems to work without issue.

So I was thinking on replacing the screws saw substituting 2", 2 1/2" for 3". What scew sizes would be typical for such a setup?

Also if I planed a bit from the underside, provinding its not a hinge issue is there a fast drying wood sealer or varnish to limit the wood expanding?


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Unless there's evidence of hinges drifting away from the chiselled recess into which they are screwed what reason do you have to replace the existing screws with longer ones?

My guess is that the most likely cause of binding, if it's not a hinge problem, is swelling of the door's bottom rail or bowing upwards of the threshold, perhaps caused by water ingress and/or loosening of the fixings holding the threshold down. At least that's where I'd be looking first, after checking the hinges, of course.

Whenever I've had to fix such problems and revarnish or repaint the bottom edge I usually go in with an oil based version and get a base coat on prior to finally rehanging the door, and protect the floor as best I can whilst rehanging the door. After the door is hung I go back a couple or three times with a small brush, a mirror and a torch, plus the paint/varnish, reach up between the floor and under the hung door with the brush and just try to make sure I get good coverage. As to fast drying varnishes, e.g., usually the water borne ones, I don't have much faith in any of those formulations for exterior work, simply because I've never found a good one, so can't offer any suggestions. I could be wrong about the water borne varnishes and there are good formulations out there, but if so, they've eluded me. Slainte.
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Thanks Sgian Dubh, I hadn't thought of Checking the threshold. Now you mention it the varnish is a bit tired. How would it be fixed down?
I would imagine a few coats of yacht varnish might help prevent the same happening again.....
There's a fair chance you have water ingress from where the external glazing bars are missing on the opening door. Probably as Richard says, the bottom rail and perhaps stile have swollen, they're also rebated judging from the pics, bear that in mind when gathering tools for the job.
The whole job needs stripping back and recoating, along with making/replacing the missing glazing bars.

Don't use varnish, sand/strip back and recoat with Sikkens/Sadolin, or some other decent microporous wood stain
Thanks Sgian Dubh, I hadn't thought of Checking the threshold. How would it be fixed down?
Screws into plugs or similar probably, and if the screw heads aren't covered by something like a supplemental aluminium door threshold, then the screws would be pocketed and the pocket pelleted.
I would imagine a few coats of yacht varnish might help prevent the same happening again.....
Yacht varnish would help. The existing finish is looking rather sad and needs renewing after good prepping, but I tend to use Sadolin products on doors and windows where I can rather than varnish, but Sikkens is good too, as suggested by JSW. Good pigmented film finishes (paint, microporous stain, etc) do generally offer more protection to wood than clear films such as varnish. Slainte.
Check that the doors haven't dropped out of square too.

Then check the threshold hasn't warped?

Then the hinges haven't come loose??
If the threshold is at fault, for say water getting underneath and or unpainted, is there anything I can do without removing/replacing the cill?
Hi Jsw, is there anywhere I can buy the glazing bars from? Getting out the router and searching for a suitable router bit sounds tedious to make a a Meyer or so of moulding.

Hi James I checked the doors with the level and all seems good, however I can't check the hinges until I unbind the door. I'm hoping I can knock out the pins. It has what looks like caps top and bottom. Think there a plain bearing hinge, the top certainly had a cap on as I prized it off...
Hi Jsw, is there anywhere I can buy the glazing bars from? Getting out the router and searching for a suitable router bit sounds tedious to make a a Meyer or so of moulding.
Doesn't look like it needs a router cutter, in fact it looks like a plant-on type of glazing bar from what I can see, should be simple enough to form?

I'd leave knocking the pins out of the hinges to a last resort, just unbolt/unlock both sets of doors then apply some stern pressure with your foot or find something to leverage with to coax the doors open. I'll have a tenners bet with you now that it's not the hinges at fault though ;)
Is it a multipoint locking system?
May be the bottom section into the cill has jumped off the rest.
Other thing to consider is that the doors were hung too low.
Cheers, Andy
You'll need to apply a bit of brute force to get them open, make sure you have disengaged all the locks and bolts and get some weight behind them and push them out as a pair, they've probably just swollen, plus if you look closer at your picture 5 I can see the joint has opened up on the bottom rail.

The center joint between the doors looks a bit odd, I would usually expect a cover/weather strip to be on the outside face of the master door overlapping on to the slave one.

I wouldn't mess with the hinges at this time, you could end up with a bigger problem, and they may even be security ones with pins in the rebates to stop you doing exactly what you are trying to do.

The bars look simple enough to replicate even with just a hand plane to make the bevel.
The doors appear to overlap the frame on all sides, like a storm proof window. This will complicate any trimming of the edges.

It's very common for the normally closed leaf of double doors to bind, as it is opened so infrequently.

You'll need to check the mechanism isn't stopping the door from opening. It will probably have lever operated flushbolts to secure it top and bottom, and these fail quite regularly, as they are often cheap pot metal castings which snap, or they seize because of corrosion.
It turned out to be a the floor bolt mechanism connected to the door lock had uncoupled. A design floor from one of Howden most likely obsolete kit. I had to remove the bottom bolt as a temp fix until the customer sources the part or gets it fixed under warranty.
Just for good measure I corrected all the flawes in the hinge cut outs, lock plates, and planed the threshold to allow further clearance alround.
Bloody heavy door to take off and rehang all by myself. Im glad I ddnt force the door from the bottom as it would have furter damaged the frame.

Oh also I found the hinges were only held on by 25mm 5mm screws, so I swapped them out for 50mm.

Anyone know where to buy the window trim, its symetrical double bevel moulding approx 25mm x 25mm?
Hi Limey whats a weather bar? I only know so much in carpentry, Im more of a mechanical guy.