When it comes to homeownership, there are some things that are certain: Concrete and stucco will crack, caulking won’t last forever and will need to be redone, and you will encounter a squeaky door at some point. Door squeaks can be incredibly annoying, especially if it’s a door you use frequently. The good news is that in most instances, you can fix a squeaky door quickly and easily. Before we get to the tips for fixing a squeak, what are the causes? The root cause could be one of the following:

  • Dirt: If dirt builds up in the knuckle of the hinge, it can cause friction that creates noise.
  • Lubrication: Door hinges need lubrication to prevent metal parts from rubbing together and squeaking.
  • Bent Hinges: Hinges are made of soft metal that can bend and become misaligned. That causes metal parts to rub against each other.
  • Loose Screws: A loose screw can cause uneven pressure on the hinge knuckles, which will then rub together and create noise.
  • Door Misalignment: A misaligned door can cause the door’s weight to be distributed unevenly on hinges, creating stress that can cause squeaks.
  • Damaged Door Frame: If a door frame is damaged or falling apart, that can create several issues, including door squeaks. In this instance, you may need to replace the door and frame, and you will likely want a professional to come in and do this for you to ensure proper fit and installation.

So, how do you solve these issues? Here are tips. If these don’t work or more involved work may be required, such as taking a door down, you may want to contact a professional to assist you.

Start With An Inspection

As you have probably figured out by now, door squeaks can be caused by a variety of issues, so an inspection is a great place to start. Pinpointing the cause or even just narrowing down potential causes can not only save you time, but it can also give you a better chance of success. Start by inspecting the door frame to make sure it is in good condition. If it’s not, you probably need to have an expert inspect it to determine if it needs to be replaced. Follow that up with inspections of the hinges (look for excess dirt, bent hinges, and loose screws) and the door (make sure it is aligned properly).

Lubricate Your Hinges

The majority of door squeaks are caused by a lack of lubrication at the hinges, so a great way to start your repair/maintenance is to lubricate the hinges. BobVila.com recommends using a silicone spray that has a straw attachment to minimize overspray. Aim the spray at the seams between hinge knuckles. After spraying, open and close the door a few times to work the lubricant into the hinge. When done, use a rag to wipe off excess lubricant. Avoid using sprays with oil, which can gum the hinge up or attract dirt. Also, while graphite is the go-to lubricant for locks, it is not a good option for hinges because it can create a gray smudge on the door or floor covering below it. If you choose graphite, apply sparingly to prevent excess getting on the door or floor covering.

If lubrication stops the squeak, you may not need to do any additional work. However, if it does not or your visual inspection found excess dirt or other issues, take additional steps to fix the squeak or do maintenance that may prevent future squeaks.

Clean Hinges

If you find a build up of dirt or grime on your hinges, clean them using a household cleaner designed to cut through grease. A small brush or cotton swab can help you get into knuckles to clean dirt out. If there is a lot of dirt and grime on the hinges, you may want to consider removing the hinge pins to give you better access to all parts of the hinge. Note: Removing all hinge pins at once will cause the door to come out of place – the pins hold the hinge pieces together, so removing them all will separate the part on the door from the part on the door frame.

Tighten Hinge Screws

Use a screwdriver to tighten any screws that may be loose. While some may be visibly loose, others may be starting to come loose and don’t show to the naked eye. It’s a good idea to check all screws with the screwdriver and tighten as needed to help prevent squeaks from coming back soon.

If screws are stripped or won’t tighten properly, replace them with new screws that fit tightly and can be easily tightened in the future as needed.

Replace Bent Hinges

Bent hinges are not uncommon due to the softer material used on them. You may be able to visually see a bent hinge, but sometimes the bends are subtle enough to not be readily apparent. If you think a bent hinge may be a cause (or you’ve ruled out other causes), you can check the hinges by removing the pin one at a time. Remove the first pin, then open and close the door to see if the squeak is still there. If it is, that hinge is not the problem, and you can move onto the next hinge. If the squeak stops, that hinge is bent/misaligned and needs to be replaced.

Realign a Misaligned Door

A misaligned door can not only create door squeaks, but the uneven distribution of weight can damage the door or frame in the long run. If your door is misaligned, it’s a good idea to realign it as soon as possible. Realigning may be as simple as tightening or replacing hinge screws or adjusting the strike plate or as involved as sanding (plane) the door. If you need to sand/plane a door, it is best to consult a professional before doing so.

Preventing Future Squeaks

If you want to stop squeaks before they start, regularly clean and lubricate your hinges. Also, keep an eye on door alignment and the condition of the hinges (bent or not, screws tight and in good working order). This may not prevent all door squeaks, but it will help keep most doors squeak-free.

Looking for your dream home? Liberty Homes has been building new homes in Utah for nearly 30 years. We take pride in our trade, crafting each home as if it were our own. Our quality, affordable homes are energy smart and thoughtfully personalized for your active Utah lifestyle. We currently have townhomes available in Salt Lake County, single-family homes in West Jordan (now open to all ages!), and single-family homes in Heber CityContact us today to find your dream home.

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