The way a door opens can play an important part in a successful room layout and often builders fail to pay enough attention to this fact when the doors are originally positioned. You may, for example, decide you want a door to open out of a room rather than into it – or that it is more convenient to have the door opening from left to right and not the other way round. There are also occasions when you may have to adjust the position of the door frame, particularly if you are insulating the walls of a room with boards or panels fixed to battens. Rehanging a door or repositioning it is not a difficult job – and one you can do yourself.
If you wish to reposition a door when you are lining your walls with board, the door must be removed and the frame extended into the room before you start lining the walls around the door. But measure carefully the total thickness of the lining so you know how far to extend the frame and where to reposition the door.
Removing the door
Open the door to its full extent and support it by pushing wedges underneath. Release it from the frame by removing the screws in the door frame hinges. These screws may be difficult to loosen if they have been in place for some time, particularly if there is a build-up of old paint over the screw heads. Clean the paint from the slots with a sharp. pointed instrument or an old, small square-ended screwdriver. Use the correct size screwdriver to get the maximum grip on the screw or use an impact screwdriver. To release a stubborn screw, it often helps to tighten the screw slightly before trying to unscrew it. If this fails to move the screw. as a last resort put the edge of the screwdriver blade against the lower half of the slot head and tap it gently in an anticlockwise direction. This will not do either the screw or the screwdriver any good, but it should bring results. Having taken out the screws and removed the hinges from the frame, unscrew the striking plate. Cut pieces of softwood or hardboard to fit exactly into the recesses in the frame and glue and pin them into position. Next lift away the frame moulding with a broad chisel and mallet. If you do this carefully, the small nails which hold the moulding in place will stay in position and you will be able to use them again. when you come to fix the moulding back in position. Try not to damage the moulding or it will have to be replaced.
Extending the frame
The door frame can be extended to the required distance by nailing or screwing the same thickness timber to the sides and top of the existing door frame. Measure and cut these new pieces carefully so the extended frame will be flush with the new wall surface. Always extend the frame before relining the wall or you could damage the frame moulding when trying to remove it. Having extended your door frame, fix the wall lining before continuing work on the door, checking again that the new wall and frame surfaces are flush. You can now nail back the moulding on the frame. wedges The door will have to be brought forward to line up with the frame, which means cutting new recesses for the hinges and striking plate, depending on how you want the door to hang. When you have decided on the new position for the door, mark it on the frame. Remove the door closure bead with a broad chisel and mallet, starting at the bottom of one of the side pieces. Remember to lift it away carefully to avoid damage to the bead and so you can use the existing nails again, then refix it against the new position of the external face of the door.
Rehanging a door
If you want to change the way the door opens into the room, first label the two faces of the door A and B. A will be the face of the existing door on the room side and B the external face.
If you are moving the hinges so the door still opens into the room but from the opposite side of the frame, you must patch the old hinge recesses on the door. If your door has a natural finish which you want to keep, you will have to match up the wood carefully. If you are going to paint over the door, any softwood will do. Cut the filling pieces slightly larger than the recesses and glue and pin them firmly into place, driving the pin heads below the surface with a nail punch. Fill the punch holes with cellulose filler or matching plastic wood, depending on whether you are painting the door or leaving a natural finish. For a really flush surface, plane down the filled edge and face A of the door and rub smooth with medium glasspaper. With a try square and pencil continue the top and bottom lines of the old hinge positions across the edge of the door and mark out the new hinge positions from the B side of the door, then cut out the recesses with a sharp chisel and mallet. Unscrew the striking plate from the door frame; this must be placed on the opposite side later. Fill the plate recess in the frame with softwood or hardboard in the same way as before if the frame is to be painted; match the wood carefully if you want to keep a natural finish. Complete the patching up by filling the hinge recesses on the other side of the frame.
Then screw the hinges into the new recesses in the edge of the door. Turn the door round so the side B faces into the room. Push it tightly into the frame, using the wedges to raise the door to its original clearance height above the ground. Mark the top and bottom positions of the new hinges onto the door frame and then take away the door from the frame. Cut out these recesses and screw in the unattached leaves. You will now have to reverse the spring-loaded door catch, since this will be facing the wrong way to engage the striking plate. (If the door has a ball catch, there is no need to transpose its position.) Remove the door handles and cover plates from either side, pull out the connecting rod and remove the catch assembly fixing screws. Using a screwdriver ease out the catch assembly housing, replace it upside down and screw back all the fittings. To find the correct position for the striking plate, dab paint on the catch and push the door closed. The paint mark left on the door frame will indicate the area for the striking plate. Position the plate to fit correctly over this mark and trace the outline of the plate on the frame. Chisel out the recess to the required depth and screw the striking plate into position.
After removing the door, lift the closure bead away from the frame and patch the existing hinge recesses, cutting new ones on the same edge of the door but flush to the B face, as described before. Patch up the hinge and striking plate recesses on the frame in the same way. Reverse the catch assembly housing as before, cut out new recesses for the hinges on the outer side of the frame and also a new striking plate cavity. Tack back the door closure bead close to the A face of the door on the room side. If the door closure bead is formed as a solid recess, as it is in some older properties, you will have to cut about 13mm from each side of the door with a panel saw and tack on a new closure bead.
Changing sides and direction
Remove the door closure bead, door and striking plate, leaving the hinges on the door and patch up the recesses on the frame. Reverse the door so face A is on the outside, mark and cut out new hinge and striking plate recesses on the door frame and screw the striking plate into its new position. Fix the door in place and tack the closure bead down close to face B of the door, now on the room side.
Whenever you reposition and hang a door, to fix the hinges always insert the centre screw only into each hinge and check the door opens and closes properly before inserting the remaining screws. This saves a lot of time and trouble drilling unnecessary holes in the door frame. If the screws do not tighten, plug the holes and insert the screws again.