Is it acceptable for a door to open or close by itself?
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), states that both interior and exterior doors “shall not swing open or closed by the force of gravity alone.” This applies to new construction and it makes an exception for a remodeling where a new door is installed in an existing wall that is out of plumb—which is reasonable.
We agree that the doors in new construction should be mounted plumb and stable, and would consider it a defect that requires repair if a door would not stay put when opened, unless intended to be self-closing. It’s not something we carefully check for in existing homes because there are so many other defects that are more significant, such as a door that binds, does not latch properly, sags, has damage, or a visible gap around it when closed. Also, a door that swings by itself is likely to have one or more of those other defects anyway. We note a door that closes by gravity as a defect, if observed, but do not specify repair in an existing house.