Question: My bedroom door tends to rub along the lock edge right near the top.

I don't think it will need sanding or planing because there are no signs of warping or settling of the house.

Is there any way I can fix this door without having to plane or sand the edge?

Answer: It's possible that there is nothing wrong with the door. Some of the hinge screws may have come loose, allowing the top of the door to sag outward so that it rubs against the frame on the opposite side when you try to close it.

It's also possible that the hinge needs to be set deeper into the wood jamb. This would pull the opposite edge of the door away from the door jamb up near the top where it now rubs.

Test the hinge screws to see if any are loose. If so tighten them. If they are tight, it could be that the top hinge needs to be set deeper into the jamb or frame. Remove all the screws holding that hinge in place, then use a sharp chisel to dig out the mortise in the jamb to make it slightly deeper.

When the hinge is replaced it will then pull the top of the door closer to the jamb, thus providing the added clearance needed for the other edge of the door.

Shimming out the hinge at the bottom with strips of cardboard will accomplish the same thing - as long as there is enough clearance for the door after its bottom is moved out slightly away from the hinge.

Question: I plan to enclose my open patio and cover the concrete floor with wood flooring. I plan to fasten down 2x4s first, then nail down sheets of particle board, with strips of hardwood flooring nailed on top. What should I do to make certain there will be no trouble with this floor squeaking later on?

Answer: Squeaking floors are normally caused by loose floor boards.

When poorly nailed boards move up and down slightly (usually because the nails are not holding properly) the edges of the boards rub against each other, or against the nails, causing the squeaking noise.

Avoid this by using so-called "twisted" or spiral shank nails. These have far more gripping power than ordinary nails and thus are much less likely to work loose.

Question: We have some very expensive wallpaper in our dining room and it is still in good condition. However, I want to paint the baseboards and wood trim in that room and I am worried about smearing paint onto this wallpaper.

I have used masking tape for this purpose before, but have had trouble removing it without damaging the wallpaper.

Is there a safer way to protect the wallpaper?

Answer: One simple method is to use a metal or plastic painting shield of the kind that is sold in almost all paint and hardware stores.

These usually consist of slightly curved plastic or metal strips that you can hold against the edge of the trim while painting the trim.

You keep moving this shield while painting to protect the wallpaper as you move the brush, but you must frequently stop to wipe excess paint off this shield as you go along.


Questions about home-repair problems should be addressed to Bernard Gladstone, care of The New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Mr. Gladstone regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually.

2003 Bernard Gladstone


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