Are you having a hard time getting your storm door to close? Sagging, loose screws, or faulty hardware are common causes of door problems.
Fortunately, with basic DIY skills and simple hand tools, you can easily fix a storm door that won’t close. Below, we outline quick fixes to get your door to work properly.
Gather the following tools to repair a storm door that won’t close:
- Hand plane
- Wood shims
- Screws and nails
How to fix a storm door that won’t close
Follow these simple ways to get your storm door working like clockwork.
1. Check for a loose frame and trim
- Step outside and open the door. Move the door up and down and check if the hinge side of the frame or trim moves.
- Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws all around the doorframe. If there is a gap between the frame and doorjamb, insert a shim and secure it with screws to close the gap and make the frame square. Insert as many shims as necessary until the door closes properly.
- Check for broken or worn-out screws. You might need to drill additional screw holes underneath or above the old screw holes to accommodate news screws. Add at least three new screws on each side and at the top of the frame to secure it in place.
2. Tighten loose hinges
Other than a loose frame or trim, loose hinges are also a common culprit when a door won’t close.
- Use a screwdriver to tighten the hinges. If the screws do not tighten, they are probably worn out and need to be replaced.
- Remove the worn-out screws and replace them with longer ones. Longer screws are better placed to reach into the wooden door jamb.
3. Plane the doorframe
Shifts in weather patterns can cause the frame to expand, making it difficult to close the door. In this case, planing the frame just slightly might give the door ample space to close.
- Close the door and notice where it binds against the frame. Also, check if the fin at the bottom of the door rubs against the threshold. If it does, mark where it rubs the threshold and unscrew it from the door.
- With the door open, plane the part of the frame that binds against the door. If you have a fin that drags against the door threshold, planing the bottom of the door might solve the problem. But, first, you will have to remove the door off its hinges and place it horizontally on two sawhorses.
Pro tip: Be very gentle when planing the frame. You want to trim as little wood as possible to avoid damaging the door altogether.
4. Adjust the hold-open washer
The cylindrical tube at the bottom or top of your storm door controls the pace with which the door opens and closes. The hold-open washer is a small, moveable metal piece on the tube that holds the door open at various distances.
- Check if the washer has slid too far away from the hinge. In this position, it might prevent the door from closing. Slide the washer toward the hinge side to get the door to close.
5. Tinker with the adjustment screw
If the door won’t close properly even after you have repositioned the washer, the closer might be faulty.
- Before replacing the closer, try fixing the adjustment screw located at the furthest end of the cylinder away from the hinge side.
- Use a screwdriver to turn the adjustment screw anti-clockwise. The objective is to reduce the pressure in the cylindrical tube to allow the door to close faster.
- Turn the screw slowly and keep testing how fast the door closes. Turning the screw all the way will drastically lower the pressure in the cylinder causing the door to slam shut.
6. Move the connecting pin
If the door has a latching problem, repositioning the connecting pin might help. The connecting pin holds in place the closing arm of the cylindrical tube.
- Repositioning the pin increases the force with which the door closes, alleviating any latching problems.
- Locate the connecting pin where the arm attaches to the door. Unscrew the pin then move the arm further away from the hinge side and insert the connecting pin into the adjacent hole.
- If adjusting the connecting pin does not fix the problem, you might have to reposition the striker plate on the door jamb to realign it with latch. Here’s a helpful video to help you fix a storm door that won’t latch.
Pro tip: Repositioning the connecting pin minimizes the entryway space. As you adjust the pin, ensure that the door opens wide enough for easy in and out.
Below are additional tips to help you get the most from your storm door.
Replace faulty hardware
If the door won’t close even after adjusting the frame and trim, and repositioning the adjustment screw and connecting pin, your door might need a new cylindrical closing tube. Unscrew the tube from the door and bring it to your home improvement store to find a suitable replacement.
Periodically lubricate your storm door
Dust, debris, and rust can prevent your door from closing properly. Keep your door working efficiently by regularly spraying lubricant on the latch, hinges, cylindrical tube, and other moving parts. Apply the lubricant sparingly; a little goes a long way.
Clean your storm door regularly
When was the last time you gave your door a good wipe down? In addition to regular lubrication, you can prevent serious problems with your door by cleaning it at least every two months. Use a mild detergent and soft cloth to wipe down the screen, glass, latch, hinges, pneumatic cylinder, and other parts where dust might accumulate.
Regularly check for a loose frame or trim
Storm doors are not as strong as the regular exterior doors. The frame, trim, and door itself are prone to damage. To catch any damage on time, be sure to inspect the frame and trim every three months. If you catch the problem early, you will avoid running into problems such as the storm door refusing to close or open.
There you go! If your storm door is not closing properly, check for a sagging frame or trim and secure these in place. Adjusting the pneumatic tube accordingly should also improve the door’s closing force.
How have you dealt with a storm door that won’t close shut? Let us know in the comments below!