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Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 8:37 am
by garyb
Hi all,

After installing several interior doors successfully, I'm trying my first exterior door. Shannon makes it look so easy, haha.

I have the door caulked and in position. I shimmed the top and middle hinges, and shimmed the top left corner of the other side. I drove in the longer nails that came with the door into the top and middle hinges. I thought I was in good shape this morning, but I noticed the sweep binding in the corner, ugh. (Oops, I guess I should have started bottom to top, and done the hinge screws last??)

The adjustable threshold is doing nothing - I turned it clockwise a few times (not overly excessive, I'm a lanky dude) and found out it's just spinning in there. Great, so the adjustable threshold shipped with a stripped screw. :x I left out the adjustable sill screw cap thing, and that seemed to fixed the sweep binding! BUT I drove in the 3" hinge screw on the lowest hinge and the binding is worse now, and the door is hard to close.

So I just took out the shims and screws I had on the middle and top hinges and I'm not sure where to go from here.

Edit: After jab-sawing off the sheetrock around the rough opening, I have about less than 1/8" at the top hinge corner, and about 1/2" at the bottom hinge corner, about 3/4" at the opposite top corner, and less than 1/8" (maybe 1/16") at the opposite bottom corner.

After re-watching Shannon's exterior door video, I think what I should do next is try centering the door in the rough opening, drill a 3" deck screw behind the weather stripping below the bottom hinge, then the top hinge side, checking for plumbness between the two... but... what do I do if the door is still hard to close? Do you worry about that later? The video didn't cover that unfortunately.

Can someone please help? :D Here are some photos.

Edit 2: Just watched a video that said you turn the sill adjustment screws counter-clockwise to lower the sill, doh! So I'm gonna see if that helps any.

Edit 3: I just adjusted one of the non-stripped sill adjustment screws, and it definitely is clockwise to lower it and counter-clockwise to raise it... The video I watched was for a different brand of door. Whoops. Anyhow, after screwing in the deck screws on the hinge side, it seems the door sweep barely clears the sill now. Whew.


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Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 10:38 am
by A. Spruce
Sounds to me like your rough opening isn't plumb or wide enough. One of the things you can do is to CAREFULLY smack the top of the closest side with a hammer to push the top of the stud back into the wall a little bit. You do this carefully so that you don't damage drywall or exterior wall. You'd be surprised what an 1/8" will do for your door clearances.

If things are really wonky, you can swap out one of the jack studs for a 1x4, this will give you 3/4" additional space within the jamb to plumb the door.

When I'm setting an exterior door, I pull the weather strip and place my first screw next to a hinge and behind where the weather strip will be, thus covering the screw once the weather strip is reinstalled. You wan to use shanked screws, as most 3" screws are, the shank will slip in the door frame while the threads draw the door tightly to the rough opening framing. Get the door set where it needs to be front to back in the wall, then start installing shims to set the reveal around the door.

When choosing places to set your screws, you want to go for the primary structural points of the door, that will be the hinges and the handset. If you use these locations, the frame is not going to tweak on you as bad. The only time I place a screw outside of the hinge zones is when I need to specifically tweak that point in the frame. The reason to set screws around the handset/deadbolt is to increase rigidity of that area, then I usually follow the same hinge pattern as the hinge side of the door.

Lastly, I use two screws per location, one inside the jamb behind the weather strip and one outside. The two screws will allow you to rock the jamb in one direction or the other, which can be a helpful adjustment sometimes.

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:02 am
by garyb
A. Spruce wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 10:38 am
Sounds to me like your rough opening isn't plumb or wide enough.
...
Hey thanks for the help! Sorry, I updated my post and found that I was able to just jab-saw away the sheetrock since it wasn't flush with the studs! So that bought me a little bit of wiggle room!
When I'm setting an exterior door, I pull the weather strip and place my first screw next to a hinge and behind where the weather strip will be, thus covering the screw once the weather strip is reinstalled. You wan to use shanked screws, as most 3" screws are...
Yep got the shanked kind! I just thought it was odd that in Shannon's video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKN5r91JAIA ) that he put screws in around the hinges, THEN also put the longer hinge screws in... why not only use the supplied longer hinge screws?

Even though my adjusting sill screw is stripped, now that I have the hinge side totally screwed in (without the supplied hinge screws yet!) the sweep just barely clears the sill, so that's good. I was just worried that this brand new door would bind and be hard to shut!

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:12 am
by A. Spruce
garyb wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:02 am
I just thought it was odd that in Shannon's video he put screws in around the hinges, THEN also put the hinge screws in... why not only use the hinge screws?
That's a question for Shannon to answer. I've never bought a door with supplied screws, so I use the method I stated earlier. Personally, I don't think replacing a hinge screw with a longer one is going to be any better than my method, but I'm sure someone can come up with a reason.

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:17 am
by garyb
A. Spruce wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:12 am
garyb wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:02 am
I just thought it was odd that in Shannon's video he put screws in around the hinges, THEN also put the hinge screws in... why not only use the hinge screws?
That's a question for Shannon to answer. I've never bought a door with supplied screws, so I use the method I stated earlier. Personally, I don't think replacing a hinge screw with a longer one is going to be any better than my method, but I'm sure someone can come up with a reason.
Ok cool, thanks. So you do use 2 screws per 'location' in the door though like you said, right? So like 12 screws in all? (And more if you need to tweak the frame to make it plumb? Thanks again!

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 12:08 pm
by A. Spruce
garyb wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:17 am
Ok cool, thanks. So you do use 2 screws per 'location' in the door though like you said, right? So like 12 screws in all? (And more if you need to tweak the frame to make it plumb? Thanks again!
Yes, for 3 hinge doors, that is correct. For two hinge doors you don't need the center screws in either the hinge side or the strike side, simply because interior doors don't need to be as secure, nor do they take the abuse. The caveat here would be if installing a solid core door, but those usually have 3 hinges, so . . .

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 12:38 pm
by garyb
A. Spruce wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 12:08 pm
Yes, for 3 hinge doors, that is correct. For two hinge doors you don't need the center screws in either the hinge side or the strike side, simply because interior doors don't need to be as secure, nor do they take the abuse. The caveat here would be if installing a solid core door, but those usually have 3 hinges, so . . .
Sounds good, thanks! So weird... I just finished driving in all the 3" screws and putting in the longer hinge screws... After I finished that bottom longer hinge screw, the sweep binding issue returned!! So I took the long screw back out, and it fixed the problem. It makes no sense to me! But I don't know anything about this stuff, lol. If anything, it seems like pulling the bottom hinge back into the frame would lift the bottom corner up, pulling it away from the sill. But it seems to be actually pulling it down into the sill. Oh well. I can live with a shorter screw in the bottom hinge, lol.

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 1:09 pm
by A. Spruce
Tightening the screws at the bottom hinge is going to pull the strike side of the door down, which if I'm seeing your pix correctly, is the side you're having sweep issues with.

The reveal between your door and door frame look good, so you're very very close to a perfect install. What you probably have going on is the framed opening threshold is not level, the strike side is higher than the hinge side of the opening. Here are a few things you can do to help adjust the door in the hole.

1 - Is the floor level that the door is sitting on? You can shim the door jamb and threshold to make it level.
2 - Is the adjustable sweep square to the bottom of the door? If not, you may not have much choice but to replace the stripped adjuster screw or the entire threshold if you can't fix the adjustment mechanism.
3 - Shim the door between the top of the jamb leg and the header to force that corner down, this should give you a bit more clearance for the sweep.
4 - Add some shim to the bottom hinge and maybe take just a touch of shim out of the top.

Re: Exterior Door Shim Fail? How Can I Fix?

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:15 pm
by Shannon
I use one longer screw in the hinges after to secure the shims in place more then anything until the spray foam is in place. Sometimes you need to tweet the hinges to get things falling into the correct position as well. So screws behind the wether strip and screws in the hinges for me.
So if your bottom hinge screw is tweaking the knob edge of the door when you tighten it then try shimming it just a hair more behind that hinge.