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How to Adjust a Door

Whether your door becomes out of whack over time or you have a problem as soon as you install it, there are several ways to adjust a door. Here, our door installation experts explain a few of the most common door situations and how to fix them easily.

Sagging Door

If your door is old, over time it may have begun to sag because the screws have come loose with the weight of the door. The threads have likely pulled through the wood, leaving you very little to grip. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Examine your hinges to determine if the bottom or top ones are loose.
  2. Use a drill or screwdriver to remove the loose screws.
  3. Screw long wood screws through the frame and into the timber stud.
  4. If this doesn’t work, you can create a makeshift grip by placing matches into the screw hole.
  5. Squirt a little wood glue into the hole.
  6. Then, push as many matches as you can into the hole and use a knife to cut the edges flush with the opening.
  7. Once the glue dries, use your drill or screwdriver to drive in your screws.

Door That Springs Open

If your door springs open on its own, it could be because the hinges are too deep and since there’s no gap between the edge of the door and the frame, the door springs back open. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Take a look at your hinges. If they’re thin, they’re likely not quality hinges and should be replaced.
  2. Look for hinges that are thicker and will sit higher in the frame.
  3. Use a drill or screwdriver to remove the screws from both or all three hinges.
  4. Remove the door and lay on a flat surface.
  5. Using your new screws, attach one side of each new hinge to the side of your door where the old hinges were.
  6.  Attach the other side of the hinge to the frame where the old hinges were. Because they’re thicker, they should sit higher and allow the door to swing.
  7. If this doesn’t work, you can also slip a thin piece of cardboard behind each hinge to elevate it even more.

Swinging Door

If your door swings open or closed on its own, it’s likely that it’s out of plumb and the weight of it carries it one way or another. If the wall isn’t out of plumb and your home doesn’t have major settlement issues, you can easily fix it. Here’s how:

  1. Check the gap at the top of the door.
  2. If the gap wider at the doorknob side, remove the center screw of the top hinge.
  3. Using your drill or screwdriver, replace this screw with a predrilled 3-in. screw.
  4. When inserting it, angle it slightly toward the middle of the door jamb.
  5. The screw should pull the jamb and the door tighter to the frame and therefore, eliminate the swinging.
  6. If this doesn’t work, unscrew the screws in the middle hinge and remove it from the door.
  7. Do the same to the bottom door hinge.
  8. Place one wooden shim behind the middle hinge and two wooden shims behind the bottom hinge and reattach both hinges.

Tools & Materials

  • Drill or Screwdriver
  • Long Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Matches
  • Knife
  • New Hinges
  • Wood Shims

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