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How to Fix a Commercial Door that Won’t Close Correctly

Closing Commercial Door

If your commercial business has a door that won’t properly close, fixing it is an immediate concern. In addition to presenting security issues, a faulty commercial door can reduce fire protection and privacy. 

There are several different issues that might be preventing your door from closing, and each problem requires a different solution.

Debris Is Creating an Obstacle

The most common cause of improperly closing commercial doors is the presence of debris in the hinges, strike plate, or door jamb. Even a small stone can prevent the door from closing completely. If your commercial door remains ajar and you can’t pull it closed with a little extra force, there’s probably debris in the way. 

Check the floor around the bottom of the door and pull the door open to see that it swings freely. If you don’t notice a problem there, check the gap between the hinged side of the door and the door jamb. 

Look for litter, stones, sticks, cardboard, and other types of debris. Make sure you clear everything out of the way before attempting to close the door. If you’re sure there isn’t debris in the way and the door still won't close, another issue is causing the problem.

Your Doorway Tolerances Have Changed

A change in doorway tolerances doesn’t usually occur with metal commercial doors. 

Depending on the type of business you manage, you might have wood doors that are more susceptible to changes in doorway tolerances. These changes can occur as the result of humidity and moisture or as the result of the building shifting in the soil over time. 

Regardless of the cause, you can tell that the doorway tolerance has changed by looking at the gaps between the door and the door frame. If the gap seems very narrow or tight, swelling of the wood may have occurred. Compare the widest gap to the narrowest gap to determine how much wood to trim off the edge of the door. 

If you only need to trim a very small amount, you can use a sander to level the door’s edge. Otherwise, you might need a wood planer to resize the door more significantly.

The Strike Plate Isn’t Aligned

Especially when dealing with a fire-rated door, IFSEC Global emphasizes the importance of a door that closes and latches automatically

If your commercial door isn’t engaging the latch, check the strike plate. Something as simple as a missing screw may have caused the strike plate to become misaligned. You can usually fix the problem by replacing the missing screw with one of the same size.

If the strike plate appears to be properly aligned, check the depth of the catch hole. This problem is more common when installing a new door. The size of the latch will determine the required depth of the catch hole. If the hole is too shallow, you’ll need to increase its depth.

In a wooden frame, it’s fairly simple to chisel out greater depth in the catch hole. Other materials, such as stone or concrete, may require the expertise of a mason. You’ll want to increase the depth of the catch hole without compromising the rest of the door jamb, so relying on a professional is the best way to proceed.

Your Door Latch Is Sticking

A common problem that’s also easier to fix is a latch that’s sticking. This problem is simple to identify by trying to pull the door open without pressing or turning the doorknob or handle. If the door opens this way, the latch is sticking. 

You can find door latch lubricant at any hardware store. Follow the instructions to apply the lubricant. Engage the latch repeatedly to help spread the lubricant to the inner components.

The Hinge Alignment Is Off

Finally, check the door’s hinges. Missing or loose screws can leave the door sitting askew. Replace the missing screws and ensure every screw is tight to fix the problem. If the door frame is wood, you should also look for signs of rot and moisture damage. A damaged door frame will need replacing to fix this problem.

We’ll Help You Replace Old Commercial Doors

CDF Distributors has a wide range of commercial and industrial doors to meet the needs of your business. When you need to replace an old door, contact our door experts.

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