Shut the Front Door – Door Repair vs Door Replacement?

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Happy New Year! It’s January. Say hello to the polar vortex, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area homeowners. For the next three months, every time your front door opens, your cheery greeting will be replaced with an urgent “Shut The Door!!!!” How’s that working for you? The door, I mean.

Let’s face it – your front door takes a beating almost every day. It’s just a lot worse in the winter. Constant foot traffic, extreme temperatures, heavy items being moved in and out, snow and ice building up at the threshold – all these elements can make your door function poorly.

Most of us have tried placing a rolled up bath towel to block a draft or even tacking up plastic to keep the heating bills down but stopgap measures don’t really address what’s wrong. When the door starts to stick or the wind whistles through the cracks, you need to be able to identify the problem in order to find the right fix or move on to door replacement.

Your front door is made of distinct sections and each requires its own kind of repair. Here are just a few of common door problems and how you might go about fixing them:

1. Threshold – The metal plate at the base of your door is very important to the smooth operation of your door. If the material under the metal plate is made of wood or plywood, moisture seeping under the metal plate may be causing expansion, shrinking or warping, making it tough to get the proper seal and/or making the door difficult to open or close. If you need to replace the threshold, get one with a PVC base under the metal plate.

2. Door Jamb – The jamb is the interior frame of the door, where the hinges attach. This area is also subject to water damage, expanding and contracting, as well as wear and tear. If the door binds against the jamb, you may need to adjust your hinges (if the hinges are adjustable). Other problems may be due to swelling caused by moisture. This is particularly true of wood door jambs.

3. Door won’t stay latched or is hard to close – This may be caused by the way the door is hung in the frame. You may be able to adjust it by tightening the hinges or you could try moving the strike plate up or down a little. However, if latching problems compromise your home’s security, you may want to call in a professional or replace the door entirely.

4. Weather stripping decay – A high traffic doorway requires a seal that can withstand wear and tear so if your weather stripping has seen better days, be sure to replace it with a high end metal channel designed for heavy use. This material will help create a “vacuum seal” for your front door that will reduce draftiness and make the door function more efficiently.

5. Caulking – Caulk is a sealant used to create a waterproof barrier, but it can decay over time and after repeated exposure to weather. Check to see if the caulk on the seams outside of your doorframe has rotted away. However, keep in mind that if the material your caulk is supposed to seal is also deteriorating, just replacing the caulk won’t be enough.

If your door problems go far beyond these simple fixes, or if you just want to update the look of your home, you may want to replace your front door system entirely. Home Town Restyling carries a complete line of exterior doors along with licensed and insured crews for professional installation. Stop by or contact us today for a free estimate. You can also download our FREE Door Planning Checklist for help planning this home improvement project.