Toeing and Heeling is a process to effectively strengthen a heavy, double-glazed PVC-U door to stop it from slowly bending out of shape and allowing the weighted side of the door to drop. The procedure is something that can be done by double glazing fitters or competent do-it-yourself layman alike, although it should have been done by whoever fitted the door originally.
To ensure that exterior doors are sturdy and robust, they inherently need to be fairly heavy. When a door is opened, the entire weight of it is supported solely by the hinge on the side of the door, connected to the wall or structure of the house. Thus, there is little holding up the weight of the non-supported side of the door. It is from this inevitable feature of doors that the unhinged side of the door may begin to ‘drop’ over time. Toeing and Heeling prevents this deterioration occurring by bracing the glass from corner to corner by installing small plastic packers under the beading between glass and frame. These are inserted from the bottom corner of the hinged side of the door to the diagonally opposite corner at the top of the unhinged side of the door.
When does a door require Toeing and Heeling?
When a door is installed, it ought to have undergone toeing and heeling, but yet one of the most common problems and complaints regarding these heavy PVC-U doors is that they have dropped. Usually, the first sign that a door has begun to drop is that locking the door becomes harder and less smooth. Eventually, if left, the lock may stop working completely and the door may rub against the bottom of the frame when pushed shut. If these problems occur then it is very likely the door has dropped to some extent. The easiest way to check this would be to measure the two diagonal lengths of the door from corner to corner. If these two measurements are virtually identical (i.e. within one or two millimetres) then the door will be in good shape. On the other hand, two measurements which are off by more than this, and in the range or half-centimetres, will signal that the door needs toeing and heeling.
How to Toe and Heel
Toeing and Heeling can be done in a few fairly straightforward steps. In preparation for this procedure, the glazing beading must be removed and the double-glazed sealed unit should be in its place of resting on its plastic setting blocks. The door should then be opened and the unsupported side needs to be held up at the desired height. This can be done using a plank of wood. Once the door is at its intended position and level, a gap will be noticeable between the door and the sealed unit. It is in this gap that the packers need to be inserted. By doing this correctly, these will brace across the glass and prevent the unhinged and unsupported edge of the door from dropping.