Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Help with a door swing

I am looking for a little help on this one.
Here’s the deal: our basement bathroom has a door that, when opened, bangs into a soffit on the ceiling. This means that the door doesn’t fully open and is often “in the way” of traffic flow in the basement. I’d like to move the hinges to the other side and have the door swing open from the opposite jamb (the current latch-side jamb). This would keep the door out of the way and it won’t bang into the soffit.

It seems like a simple thing but the more I look at it, the more issues I seem to find: Do I just flip the door upside down and reverse the lockset? Do I need to cut a new space for the hinges on the receiving jamb and do the same for the lock on the opposite side? Some of this seems obvious but it would be nice to have some reassurances for stuff I might be missing. Any suggestions, short of having a door-less bathroom would be appreciated.


Jennifer said...

If the distance between the top of the door and the inset is the same as the distance between the bottom of the door and the inset, you can flip it with no problem!
If it's not the same, it might look a little funky to flip it.

Wait... is that just a screwed on mirror? Then it doesn't matter.

Either way you will have to reverse the lockset.

You do need to create new mortises for the door to flip it, too.

We are doing this for a door in our bathroom... but it's a new door we are instlaling the "other" way, so it's a little different.

jay said...

I looked at doing the same thing for a few of our doors, but the thought of boring out the original strong pine in places to reverse a mortise set and patching the old holes made me wary. I ultimately went to a house demolition sale and found a door that matched and just replaced the handle so the hardware matched the rest of our house as well. I recommend finding an old door that compliments your home and replacing the basement door with it. Bonus: Vintage doors are better at soundproofing too!

Marty said...

If there is room, the door should swing into the bathroom anyhow.

If there is room for the swing inside, then you can just reverse the hinges (you'll have to cut the hinge mortices on the door edge through to the other side).

Then, remove the stops. Using a square, mark out new mortices on the inside part of the jamb to match up with the old jamb mortices.

You will have to also drill and or chisel a new mortice for the latch, but before you do this, get the door hung. Then tack in the latch side stop (I would just replace the stops), adjusting it with the door closed up against it to get the positioning right.

Then cut the latch/lock mortice. If the door the door closes too tight or too loose, then you can remove the tacked on stop and make adjustments and nail it in place permanently.

Then, with the door closed, you can nail in the rest of the stops, first the hinge side, making sure to leave a small gap (1/16" or so). Then install to top stop, which will be easy to line up with both sides.

On a properly installed door, the edge on the latch side is always beveled slightly. This bevel will now be the wrong way. Since you are not changing the opeing size, you can't afford to take off enough wood to reverse the bevel, and this would also throw off the depth of your latch set. So you have to live with it, and maybe just plane off a little of the high end if it rubs against the jamb when closing.

Don't forget to reverse the latch pin.

Or, you can just buy a new prehung door and save yourself a lot of trouble. For a basement, I would just use a hollow core. The problem with prehung doors though, for basements, is that the ceiling are usually low, so you have to cut the door down - from the bottom. When you do this however, it lowers the handle and latch by that amount, sometimes making it awkwardly low.

The solution is to find a prehung without the holes cut for the latch and striker part of the jamb.

Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book.

Marty Hackl

Anonymous said...

I adjusted my door with a wedge between the hinge and door jam to move the door. Mine was dragging on the floor. Cheaper than leveling the house at the moment.