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How to Adjust Door Hinges

As time passes, homes begin to “settle” and things can shift ever so slightly. This is often the case with doors. Whether your door rubs against the frame, closes on its own, drags along the floor, or has a large gap when it’s closed, door problems can usually be fixed by adjusting the door hinges. Here, our door repair experts give you four ways to do it:

Add a long screw:

  1. Use your screwdriver to unscrew the center screw on the top hinge.
  2. Remove the screw and replace it with a long 3-inch screw.
  3. Make sure you drive the screw into the framing.
  4. This should change the gap at the top of the door as well as on the opposite side.

Bend the hinge:

  1. Place a nailset in between the hinge plate and the hinge knuckle and hold.
  2. Slowly pull the door towards the closed position. (As you do this, the nailset should widen the gap.)
  3. Remove the hinge pin.
  4. Using your wrench, slowly bend the knuckles on the door side towards the door handle to close the gap.
  5. Replace the hinge pin.

Cut away the mortise:

  1. Use your screwdriver to remove all three screws on the hinge plate that sits against the door frame.
  2. Remove the plate and note where it has left an impression in the frame.
  3. Use a pencil to trace along the impression.
  4. With your utility knife, cut along the pencil line to make the mortise larger and accommodate the hinge plate.
  5. Use a small chisel to remove the excess wood so that your plate will sit flat.
  6. Reinstall your hinge plate.

Reposition the hinge:

  1. Use your screwdriver to remove all three screws on the hinge plate that sits against the door.
  2. Using wood plugs and a hammer, gently tap your plugs into the existing screw holes.
  3. Use a utility knife or a chisel to trim the plugs so that they’re flush with the door.
  4. Reposition your hinge and drill three new holes in the door.
  5. Reattach the hinge using screws and a screwdriver.

Tools & Materials

  • Screwdriver
  • 3-inch screws
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Chisel
  • Wood plugs
  • Nailset
  • Wrench
  • Hammer
  • Drill

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