Sharing the cost of being a tenant and I can’t open my new front door
Your property queries answered
Doors historically are problematic due to the requirement to give access or egress whilst providing security and weather protection. Increasingly sophisticated answers to these problems have come about as technology provides better materials and manufacturing possibilities.
A composite door implies a number of materials coming together to fulfil different functions in one unit, generally modern composite doors employ an advanced plastic covering over a lightweight insulating core, sometimes reinforcement is also introduced to augment security or stability of the door itself so as to overcome the dimensional changes that plastics can be prone to under changing weather conditions. In short, the leaf of the door itself should be engineered to maintain very good tolerances and so it is unlikely this is the root of your problem.
The other elements that go to creating an operable and secure unit are: the opening in the wall itself, the frame to carry and seal the door and the ironmongery to work it, such as hinges, handles and locking mechanisms.
If the basic opening in the wall is out of square or plumb or not prepared properly then the installers may have struggled to align the new unit and frame if it was not initially measured properly, this may have caused the unit itself to be under stress thereby causing sticking. You can check this yourself by looking at the gaps all around both door to frame and frame to wall – they should all be parallel without signs of warping.
The frame may not be compatible with the door leaf, this might be due to a delivery or selection problem from suppliers and can cause the seals to bind the door or overstress the ironmongery. It’s hard to check this one but there may be manufacturer’s marks or obvious signs that the two parts are not designed to fit together.
The hinges may not be adequate for the weight of the door, or be inadequately screwed to either the frame or the opening thereby allowing movement as the door leaf swings, you can check this by watching the hinges as the door opens, any disproportionate movement will cause binding or sticking that may get worse through time.
The locking mechanism and handle may not be compatible with the pre-formed slots and sockets in either the door or the frame, again this can cause stiffness and can be seen by obvious scoring marks on the meeting surfaces.
Getting independent inspection of your door will be crucial to resolving how you proceed, contact your local Chartered Building Surveyor to inspect the installation, or the Associated Locksmiths of Ireland may be able to help you.
If the company is as you say “reputable” then they should have no difficulty in resolving your problem, tell them that you intend seeking independent professional advice and give them adequate time to respond, before doing so, advise them they may be liable for any costs incurred in getting satisfaction.
Fergus Merriman is a chartered building surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland scsi.ie
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