By : Izzat Rusydi
05 September 2012
Doors are so common in our lives that we take them for granted. They keep us safe from intruders, they screen us from prying eyes, and they protect us from air drafts. Some doors can even help prevent the spread of fire. Only poets and writers and painters seem to take more notice of doors, imbuing them with metaphorical, allegorical, and even mythical powers. It is only when they creak and moan that we become aware of their humble but important presence in our lives.
So my friend, Kamarul, lectured me on doors recently, and gave me this tip on door maintenance picked up from being the handy man around his parents’ home, and also from ‘googling’.
Want to have happy doors – doors that work and slide and open smoothly and noiselessly, read on…. There’s also the added benefit of saving money in the long run as a stitch in time saves nine! Translated into common English, it means regular home maintenance will help you rectify a problem before it deteriorates into something more serious, requiring you to spend a huge sum of money on repairs.
Let’s learn how to do some simple maintenance for your timber room doors. These are the standard doors that are equipped in every HDB home.
One of the most common problems encountered are doors that won’t open or close smoothly or doors that are out of alignment. This is usually caused by the screws at the hinges which have come loose. To get this fixed, all you need is a common household screwdriver to tighten the screws and the hinges.
If you find that the screws spin in their place and won’t tighten into the wood, it means the holes have been stripped. In layman terms, they have become ‘bigger’ and need to be made ‘smaller’. When this happens, you can do the following:
1) Remove the screws on that particular hinge. If you have a three-hinge door, undo a single hinge plate at a time.
2) Once the plate is removed, dip a couple of cardboard matches into wood or white glue and put them into the hole. Then tighten the hinge screws and that should fix the problem.
3) If the matchsticks don’t work, use a sliver of wood or toothpicks instead. Cover these with glue and reinstall the hinge. Allow the glue to dry, then cut off any excess wood, and then drill a pilot hole into it. This will keep the wood from cracking, ensuring that the screw won’t strip it again.
While you are lubricating the hinges, you should also apply the WD-40 to the locks as well. This helps maintain the locking mechanism and prevents the locks from jamming. Spray directly into all the possible joints and areas, such as the keyhole, around the latch, along the tube of a deadbolt and around the handle. Then turn the mechanism repeatedly, spreading the lubricant around inside. Make sure it has penetrated the locking mechanism deeply by using the thin plastic straw that comes with the spray.
To maintain your door’s natural timbre finish, clean the surface regularly with mild soap and water. If you do this regularly, you will keep the wood fresh and clean. You should also clean the door knobs with a slightly damp cloth to keep its shine..
Creaky doors are another common problem. It can be really annoying, and at night, even spooky! But this can be easily solved by a bit of lubrication. Spray a few sprays of WD-40, or any common household spray lubricant at each joint along the pin so that it soaks into the centre. This is the source of creaks in your door hinges. If you don’t have any WD-40, you can use a bit of cooking oil, but the effect may not be as lasting.
You should not remove the Door Closer that comes with all the fire doors of HDB flats. Do you know why?
The answer to that is found in the HDB Residents’ Handbook.It’s a guide for all home-owners on the essential things you need to know in taking care of your flat. The handbook contains useful tips regarding household repairs and maintenance plus important safety pointers.
You can access the handbook at