Un-warp a solid wood interior door?
February 25, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Un-warp a solid wood interior door?

I've got a closet door that's warped about 3/8" at the top. It's a solid wood door, original to the house's 1950 construction date. It's been painted several times, of course. It's a typical suburban home with HVAC. It may have been warped like this for a while, but only recently did I notice the extent of it. The door was typically left open. So it's only upon closing that I noticed it. The warp is outward from the frame, so it doesn't really impede closing of the door. It just looks wrong with the 3/8" of material sticking proud of the frame when the door is closed.

I'm wondering if there's a reliable way to remove the warp. I'd be willing to set it aside for a while with some weights on it or something. But I've no idea if that will actually work or not. Tips? Or should I just give up and replace it? Meanwhile I may just swap it out with a less conspicuous location elsewhere in the house.
posted by wkearney99 to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd be willing to set it aside for a while with some weights on it or something.

It'll probably just spring back. What you're most likely seeing is 'cupping' due to the circular nature of the rings of the tree from which the door was cut. Over years the wood dries out and the rings contract, pulling the wood into a curve. Another thing that can happen is that wood exposed to warmth (e.g. sunlight) dries out more quickly on one side, causing the wood to curve in that direction.

You might be able to fix it by steaming or wetting the bare wood, then drying it flat on the floor. It's not guaranteed to work, but possibly worth a try.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:00 AM on February 25, 2010

If you particularly want to keep the door the easiest way IMO is just to plane the convex side flat again and pack the concave side with filler putty. A carpenter would be able to do that for you and you can then repaint it.

It would be easier and may be cheaper just to replace the door, as you note. This also gives you an opportunity to get a nicer-looking door, if you want a decorative carving or something.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:00 AM on February 25, 2010

Leave the door as it is remove and adjust the doorstop (the strips of wood on the frame at the top and knob side that the door closes against. You'll probably have to move the strike plate as well but this is easier, faster and more reliable than trying to un-warp a door.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2010

You have not stated whether the warp is continuous from top to bottom or only in the upper portion of the door. Here are two fixes:

If the warp is continuous, you can affix a wire and turnbuckle diagonally on the back of the door extending from near the bottom at the hinge side to near the top on the latch side. Twist the turnbuckle until the door comes into shape. It's ugly, but unnoticed if the door is kept closed most of the time.

If the warp is only in the upper portion of the door, buy a length of one inch angle nearly as long as the door is tall and screw it to the door on the inside surface on the latch side of the door. This should pull any curve out. Again, ugly when the door is open, invisible when the door is closed.
posted by Old Geezer at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2010

It's not a continuous warp. It's at the top of the door, well above the knob and it bends outward from the frame. This leaves about 3/8" of it sticking out (proud) from the frame. Adjusting the rest of the door would actually make things worse. And that'd cause the bottom portion of the door to look wrong.

Planing down the surface would be a whole lot of work, as it starts about 12" down and about 8" inward (on a 24" wide door). It would seem that the lock stile board has warped and has also pulled the top rail along with it. I guess if I had a power planer capable of accepting the whole door, maybe it'd come out.

It doesn't look "bad enough" to justify that amount of sanding or planing to correct. And I'd wonder if the problem would continue to worsen? Were I to go that route I doubt I'd bother to build up the inner portion, as it's not going to be visible nor affect the operation of the door.

It was not in an area that received any direct sunlight or uneven temperatures. It's just a bedroom closet door. As such, there's really nothing "better" to be had in it's place. It's just a regular, white, two panel door for a closet. I'll just have to buy a new one.
posted by wkearney99 at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2010

You mean attach an L-shaped angle bracket running up the length of the door? I suppose that would work. But would, as you mention, not look all that great. Good tip though.
posted by wkearney99 at 2:25 PM on February 25, 2010

For such cases there is plane ... I do not know whether you can work with him?

I do not like the first time understood how to manipulate )
posted by jasonbold at 9:04 AM on March 11, 2010

posted by jasonbold at 9:06 AM on March 11, 2010

The end result was to replace the door slab with a new one. The warp was significant enough, and a replacement door cheap enough, to make that the best solution.
posted by wkearney99 at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2010

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