Basic Vocabulary
January 27, 2009 8:26 AM   Subscribe

The front door of my condo has started scraping against the entryway. I lack the basic vocabulary to describe the problem to those that may be able to help me fix it. Please help me identify the relevant terms.

I have a metal front door that opens into my apartment's front hallway. Immediately inside the doorway, a "strip" of some material extends down from the ceiling for about two inches. Recently, my front door has started rubbing against that "strip" when I open and close the door.

Someone came by to take a look at the door and informed me that it's not the problem, and the issue is that the "strip", made of sheetrock, is uneven and has been moving down. He told me that he could cut my metal door down to avoid the scraping, but informed me that it was probably cheaper to have a "sheetrock person" shave down this strip. I'm trying to find a "sheetrock person" now, but don't know what the term for this strip is. Do you know what it this "strip" is generally called?

Bonus: Anyone know of reliable "sheetrock" people in the D.C. area?
posted by buddha9090 to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sheetrock= drywall. Any carpenter or even handyman should be able to do it.
posted by notsnot at 8:51 AM on January 27, 2009

A picture would be helpful, but if the issue is with sheetrock, you might be able to shave down the strip yourself. Sheetrock people cut sheetrock with utility knives (box cutters) and sand it where it is uneven. I would recommend trying to sand it yourself and possibly retouching it with paint. But beware, sanding it will create a white, powdery mess.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2009

I second the idea of trying a little sand paper. Maybe about a 100 or 120 grit and try fixing it yourself. You might use a higher number grit after to smooth further. If that doesn't work call in a professional. I think a little sanding will probably do the trick, especially if the problem just started.
posted by Carbolic at 9:27 AM on January 27, 2009

I agree that a picture is called for here. It would be odd for sheetrock/drywall to be within grazing distance of the door.
posted by jon1270 at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2009

If all that is involved is cutting sheetrock, you do not need a 'sheetrock person', you do not need a special 'sheetrock knife', and you most certainly do not need sheetrock-cutting skills.

Take a thin knife, and cut the sheetrock where it's binding. Really. That's it. It's soft and will give easily. Open the door, and if it still binds, cut it a little more.

I am puzzled as to how the sheetrock is moving over time, though - usually door binding happens because the door sags on the hinges.
posted by spatula at 10:48 AM on January 27, 2009

Wow, the only thing I could envision from this crude description is that inside the house, above the doorframe running across the room, along the corner at ceiling level, is a narrow bump-out of sheetrocking to hide something like a pipe or conduit (not up to code). And now this long, narrow run of sheetrock bump-out is, what?? , dropping, expanding ??? Sounds to me like there is a poorly sited, possibly add-on, run of hotwater pipe, and it's got a pin-hole leak that is not yet dripping thru (but will some day). Oh: Possibly it's hiding some ductwork for heating, and it has dried out and coming apart.
posted by yazi at 10:49 AM on January 27, 2009

yazi is probably right regarding what it is and what is going on

Carbolic's suggestion is what I would do. Sand it down until you have plenty of clearance then apply a little paint. If it happens again, either the door is coming out of plum (vertical), the building is settling, or something is happening on the other side of that material.

A picture would allow us to be more helpful.
posted by milqman at 10:55 AM on January 27, 2009

If it is an issue of drywall that is rubbing on the door the tool that you want is a drywall rasp. I would not recommend trying to cut it with a knife, although drywall does cut easily getting a straight edge will be very difficult. Using sandpaper is possible but when you are talking about actually removing material from the edge (as opposed to just smoothing) a rasp is a better solution.

This is a job that you can easily do yourself, but be aware it will be very dusty. While a drywall rasp like the one I linked to will catch a good portion of the dust, you'll still want to make sure you wear a dust mask and are prepared for the inevitable cleanup afterward.

All that being said: I am also having a very hard time picturing how/why drywall would be rubbing the top of a door and would really like to see a picture.
posted by Bango Skank at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2009

Is this piece of sheetrock coming loose? It must be if has moved to the point of scraping your door. Maybe you can push it back into place and put a couple nails into it. Also, I can't imagine anyone who would offer to trim your metal door (except the sheetrock person would be cheaper), knows much about this type of repair, and may not even be correct about it being sheetrock. Sorry if this is a friend or something, but that just seems like an odd suggestion.
posted by orme at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks very much for everyone's thoughts. I apologize for the poor wording of the question, but that, in part, is the problem. I'm quite ignorant about these things, to the point that I don't know the basic terms involved. As requested, here are some pictures that will hopefully clarify what I am talking about a bit more:

Photo of the Front Door The part that I am talking about is the blue immediately above the door.

Closer Picture The discolored line is the result of the door scraping against this part.

Picture of the door rubbing against the "strip"

Another picture of the door rubbing against
posted by buddha9090 at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2009

Best answer: Geez, louise. It's happening because the original installation was done incorrectly. See how the metal frame that surrounds the door when closed is visible on the vertical sides, but not across the top? Well, it should be visible across the top, too. It's like this because the pre-hung door was either too tall for the opening they set it in, or was positioned too high in the opening. Perhaps there was a remodel, and they put down new/thicker flooring, and then set the new door on top of the higher flooring? No matter...

You've got to either (cringe) cut the top edge off the door, or move that drywall up away from the door. If you want the quick and cheap solution, just have the guy trim the door a bit. I say this because you can't just sand or file the drywall away, because the edge that the door is rubbing against has a (probably metal) corner bead embedded in it, just under the paint. Moving the drywall up to where it should be would require that you:

1) Dig that corner bead out of the drywall.

2) Cut out that strip of drywall that we've been talking about.

3) Trim back the wood framing that the drywall is anchored to by about half an inch

4) Fasten a new strip of drywall across the corrected framing.

5) Nail on a new corner bead.

6) Mud that new corner bead (multiple coats with drying time in-between)

7) Sand mud smooth

8) Prime repaired area

9) Paint entire wall.

See what I mean? Ugly as this solution is, CTFD. (Cut The F'ing Door) and be done with it.
posted by jon1270 at 2:40 PM on January 27, 2009

Best answer: Huh. What a mess. I agree with jon1270 that fixing the drywall would be a PITA. However, I'm suspicious about this idea that the drywall is slipping. When you press it (up, as if you're trying to push it off the top of the door), is it at all soft? Is there any sign of water damage (sagging, cracked mud or paint)?

If not, it seems more likely to me that the door got bent out of whack somehow than that the drywall is "moving down." Have you checked whether the screws in the hinges are all right and tight, so the door is hanging properly? Hinges aren't bent?

If you want to get a quote from a drywaller, you could try craigslist--just search services for drywall. I don't know if your "strip" has a name, but I'd just say the door is recessed into a drywall entryway about six inches (?) deep. And either the door is mounted too high or the entryway ceiling hung too low, because there's no top casing visible on the doorframe, and the top of the door is grazing the drywall.

Just a warning though--there could be pipes or something above that drywall, so that it's not possible to move it up. So you could have all the messy tearout, and still end up having to cut the door. To fix the thing properly, the door with its frame should be taken out and a shorter one put in.
posted by torticat at 9:03 PM on January 27, 2009

From the photos, it looks like the door casing (the wooden trim that surrounds the door frame) is what is scraping against the door. This top strip can just be trimmed a bit so it doesn't hit the door - like what Bango Skank was suggesting. Get a rasp and use it to file down the trim, then slap some paint on it if you like.
If that is in fact a steel door, cutting the top down would not be an easy task.
posted by orme at 4:13 AM on January 28, 2009

After seeing the photos I'll retract my advice above. jon1270 is right, what you are going to find underneath that edge that is rubbing is a corner bead: a strip (usually metal, sometimes plastic) that is nailed on to drywall corners to make a defined edge. The repair process that he has laid out above is pretty much right on although you may get lucky and not have to change any of the framing. Either way this is not something you want to attempt on your own.

I agree with torticat that the first thing to check is whether the door is racked on its hinges somehow, this would actually be the best case scenario because it is the easiest fix. I do not think you should cut the door, and getting a shorter door would mean having something custom made if you want to continue using a flush steel door like you have now.

Your best bet is to get a drywall contractor to come and do the repair to the wall correctly. Considering that you only need less than 1/2" additional clearance it is probably unlikely that there will be conflicts with plumbing. Fixing the drywall issue will be definitely be cheaper than cutting or replacing the door.
posted by Bango Skank at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2009

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