Save Money When Your House Sells By Inspecting The Doors Before The Home Inspector Arrives

As with windows, doors come in many different sizes and materials. Examples of materials are wood, metal, fiberglass, glass, acrylic and composite.

Styles include solid core, hollow core, raised panel, flat panel, louvered, bifold, bypass, accordion, pocket, hinged, tracked, fire, pet, garage, patio, “French”, “Dutch”, double and so forth.

Each door has specification requirements for its use. With their many components and functions, doors are a bit more complicated than windows but some of the information is similar.

Don’t get distracted by door descriptions. When inspecting you will be looking for the physical condition and operation of the door hunting property for sale in missouri and also making sure that the proper door is being used.

Requirements for interior doors are less restrictive than for exterior doors. Exterior doors may be used on the interior of the building but an interior door should not be used for an exterior application.

In other words, a hollow core door should not be used for an exterior exit door. This is not only for security reasons but also hollow core doors do not provide adequate insulating properties and resistance to weathering.

In addition, a solid core fire rated door is required between the living space and the attached garage. I will elaborate more on the fire door requirements below.

Begin your inspection at the front door, which is usually the first door encountered when entering the home.

Look at the front door. Is there anything that jumps out at you?

Is it a solid core exterior door?

How do you determine if it is a solid core door?

Knock on the face of the door with your knuckles to hear if it sounds solid. If you are not sure, try comparing the sound made by knocking on an interior hollow core bypass closet door. The solid core door will create a dull noise and the hollow core door will sound like a wooden drum.

As you approach the door, look at the way it hangs in the jamb (the trim material that makes up the frame surrounding the door).

Check the reveal (the space between the door and the frame or jamb).

Is the gap in the reveal relatively even? An eighth of an inch variance in this area is common. Any more than that could be due to loose hinges, deterioration or poor installation.

Next, inspect the condition of the door face or surface. Is it deteriorated, scratched or damaged in any way? Hollow core doors and even solid core doors with a veneer skin may delaminate when subjected to severe weather conditions.

Are there any cracks in the door edge around the latch?

Front exterior wood doors often have panels. Check to see if any of the panels are cracked or damaged.

Front exterior doors may also have glazing (glass) panels. Check to see if any of the glazing is cracked, broken or has lost its seal. Is the glass tempered?

Next, open the door, straddle the front edge of the door and grab hold of the knobs. Gently lift up using your legs (NOT your back or arms) to determine if the doorknob is tight and the hinges are well secured to the jamb. If you notice a lot of play or movement at the hinge area, it may simply mean that the screws are loose. Tightening them with the proper screwdriver may resolve this symptom. Sometimes the hinge screws are fine but the hinge pin may be worn. In that case the hinge may need to be replaced.

Once you have made certain the hinges are secure recheck the reveal around the door. Securing the hinges may correct some if not the entire reveal problem. If the door did not latch properly before, that problem may also be corrected by tightening the hinges.

Next, check to see if the door will actually latch.

You would be amazed how many times I encountered doors that did not latch. The homeowners were often surprised and commented, “We never close that door.” I replied, “Well I can certainly understand that but the new owners might want it to latch for some reason.

Doors that do not latch could indicate a number of issues discussed below. Make a note at this point if the door does not latch.

Does the door stick in the frame at any point, drag on the floor covering or bind at the striker plate of the latch? The striker plate is the metal plate screwed into the doorjamb where the latch catches to secure the door. Does the door swing open or close on its own?

Is there any unusual noise or squeaks when the door is opened, closed or latched?

Do the knobs and door lock operate properly or do they need some lubrication or possible adjustments? Sometimes just tightening the screws of the hardware will eliminate problems.

I often noticed that when the doorknob screws were positioned top to bottom instead of side to side, the privacy lock would not work properly. Check the orientation of the doorknob screws. They should be parallel with the floor.

Check to see if the deadbolt latches are able to fully extend into the mortise hole in the jamb. If the deadbolt latch does not fully extend, the bolt can be pushed back into the unlocked position.

Try this if you have access to a deadbolt lock. With the door open, engage the deadbolt part way. Stop before you hear the “click” of the lock mechanism. Push on the bolt. You will actually be able to push the bolt back into the door with your finger. Push on the bolt after you hear the “click.” The bolt will not move.

If you are not able to hear or feel the “click” when locking the deadbolt, the lock is not properly engaged. The mortise hole in the jamb is not deep enough to allow the bolt to travel far enough to fully engage. It is not secure.

Home inspectors will report on the presence of double deadbolt locks. Some will report them as a hazard. Double deadbolts are those locks that can only be opened from the outside or the inside with a key. My reports used to say this:

FYI: A locked double deadbolt lock could be a hazard in the event of an emergency if the key is not available.

I recommend double deadbolt locks be replaced before the home inspector arrives.

Check the striker plates in the jamb. If the striker plates are loose, damaged or missing, repair or replace them.

Check the jamb itself. Is it split, damaged, deteriorated or water stained? Make a note on any of these conditions.

Home inspectors and termite contractors carefully investigate water stains found around doorframes. Water intrusion is a serious issue particularly when addressing walls and exterior siding.

Exterior doors will need to be weather-stripped. There should not be any light passing in around the door from the exterior.

Pay particular attention to the sweep at the bottom of the door. Weather-stripping is inexpensive and easy to install. The bottom sweep can usually be adjusted downward to sweep the threshold properly.

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