How to Open a Stuck New French Door
Newly installed French doors may stick for several reasons. Moisture can swell the wood, the door hinges may not be aligned or poor installation may affect door performance. A sticky door means that it catches against the door frame, but a stuck door will not move on the hinges. Wiggle the doors to determine where they are sticking, such as at the door knob, at the bottom of the door panels or between the door and the frame. Getting the doors unstuck is the first priority, then you can work on eliminating the problem.
Check the hinges to see whether they have dropped. Use a screwdriver to tighten all the screws that hold the hinges to the door frame. This can lift the French doors up into proper alignment, allowing the doorknobs to move freely against the strike plates. It also aligns the doors so the door panels don't rest against each other.
Remove the doorknob trim by unscrewing the small screws on either side of the doorknob. Pull the cover plate and doorknob pieces out, then set it aside. Remove the bolt by unscrewing the two screws that hold it inside the door. Add it to the pile of hardware that is set aside in a safe place.
Take the door off the hinges by placing a flathead screwdriver underneath the head of one hinge pin, and tap the end with a hammer. Use leverage to pry the pin up, then work it free. Repeat with the lower hinge pin and catch the door as it falls forward. Do the same with the second French door if needed.
Examine the door for more clues on where it was sticking. Check the door panel edges for warped wood or excess paint build-up. You may need to plane some wood from the edge to make it fit better inside the frame. Other solutions include sealing raw wood edges with paint or sealant to prevent wood from swelling from moisture. The hinges may have been installed crookedly and need readjusted. Adjust the strike plate if it is not set properly on the opposite door. If the door continues to stick after all these solutions, contact the manufacturer or installer for repair information.
- Avoid getting a stuck door open with too much force because you may damage the door by bending the hinges, breaking the doorknob, or cracking the wood of the door frame.
Jenna Marie has been editing and writing professionally since 1993. Her editing background includes newspapers, magazines and books, and her articles have appeared in print and on websites such as Life123 and AccessNurses. She specializes in writing about parenting, frugal living, real estate, travel and food. Her nonfiction book was published in 2008. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Utah State University.
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