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Door Will Not Close Due to the Lock Rubbing
or Binding Door Edge Weatherstripping

TWO PROBLEMS... ONE SOLUTION!!

(1) The entire lock edge of the door rubs on the jamb, but the latch prevents me from trimming the door enough.
(2) There is a weather strip mounted on the latch edge of the door, but the door needs cutting because it hits the door jamb. What's a person to do?

One possible solution for Question One...

If you disassemble the lockset, you can see if it is possible to reposition the lock further away from the edge of the door. Take out the screws that hold the two sides of the lock together (if they are not visible, see LOCKS in the index for more info) The steps would be:

  1. Remove the hinge pins and take the door down. Lay it across sawhorses, which should be covered with a protective tarp to protect the door surface.
  2. Trim the door edge as needed (as described in a previous question on this page).
  3. Install the lockset in the new position (See the article under LOCKS concerning replacing a lockset with another requiring a larger hole in the door).

A BETTER WAY, if you want to attempt it...

Sometimes, you just can't trim the latch side of a door. Maybe you cannot reposition the lockset and/or deadbolt! Or maybe the door has an integral weather strip installed, sometimes know as a J-strip. This is a metal weather strip that interlocks, one section mortised into the door and the mating section on the jamb. This material is impossible to replace if you damage it, which figures, because it was in my opinion one of the best, longest lasting weather strips ever produced. Isn't it aggravating that so many great products have disappeared from the market. Anyway...

Diagram of J-Strip door weatherstripping - closed                                           Diagram of J-Strip door weatherstripping - open

Back to the point... Since you can't remove this weather strip without hopelessly bending and damaging it, you only have one option in a repair... CUT THE HINGE SIDE OF THE DOOR!!

This is not an extremely difficult thing to do, but requires patience and the right tools.

  1. Determine the amount of wood you have to remove from the edge of the door. I know... this is not an exact science, so make your best conservative measurement.
  2. Remove the hinges from the door. What... oh... that's right, you have to take the door down first, silly!
  3. Carefully deepen the hinge mortises by the amount you plan to cut off the door. You can do this with a chisel or with a router. Total accuracy in position is critical, but in depth of cut is not. You can always increase the depth later if necessary, or conversely shim the hinges out if cut too deeply. What you are trying to do is save the original position of the hinges so that you will not have to go through the more difficult and time consuming process of repositioning them from scratch when the old mortises disappear as you cut or plane the door!
  4. Trim hinge edge of door. See The blasted door rubs... for more detailed cutting info.

    NOTE: The interlocking weather strip usually has a piece that slides into a slot on the hinge edge when the door is closed. If this is true in your case, you must take the additional step of running your circular saw through this slot, deepening it to accommodate the weather strip. You can use the saw guide that came with you saw. The door should be standing on edge. If you don't have a Workmate or similar clamping table at your disposal, I have in a pinch used large wooden clamps, one at each end of the door (top and bottom) to stand the door up. Be very careful to stabilize door before cutting to minimize the risk of injury. If you blow this cut, you can really do a number on the door, so take your time and get it right the first time. A saw-kerf width cut may be adequate, depending on the original slot width and the kerf (width of cut) of your saw blade. If not, you will have to adjust the guide and make multiple cuts.

  5. Reinstall hinges. If the wind was blowing at your back, they should fit fairly flush to the edge of the door. If they were not originally flush, then they will still not be, which is OK. Little imperfections add character. Sometimes on old work, trying to change imperfection to perfection causes dysfunction!
  6. Put door up and see how it works. If it's OK, congratulations!! If it still is binding, be sure the weather strip is engaging properly before repeating the above process. Sometimes, a little bending is required to get the weather strip properly aligned.

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