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How to fix a door

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Key Points:

  1. WikiHow is a pretty good source for small DIY project. Those small fixes are not complex and can be reliably used whenever there are issues.

  2. WikiHow has many similar articles about fixing a door, but we have picked the best article available for your convenience.

We need to use doors frequently at home. It's common to have some issues with the doors. Most of the issues are easy to deal with and can be fixed by DIY.

Here we quote the best way to fix a door provided by wikiHow, a wiki that is building the world's largest and highest quality how-to manual. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiHow articles on How to Fix a Door, How to Fix a Rubbing Door. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Temperature, humidity, kids—there are a lot of things that can cause your door to stick or sag over time. No matter whether the problem is with the door itself, the hinges, the latch, or the frame, we have the tips you need to get it sorted out!

Method 1: How to Fix a Rubbing Door

We know that it’s pretty frustrating when you can’t open a door smoothly because it gets stuck in the frame. Your door might rub against the frame if it’s sagging or when it’s just a little too large, but luckily there are some really easy repairs. Adjusting your hinges will solve most of your problems for any type of door, but you may need to trim it if those don’t work. We’ll walk you through some of the most common solutions so your door opens and closes smoothly!

1. Simple Hinge Fixes. Tighten the screws in the hinges if they feel loose. Over time, the screws in your hinges might come loose and cause your door to sag. If the top corner on the latch side of the door scrapes against the frame, then tighten the top hinge. For a door that rubs against the bottom of the frame on the latch side, then screw in the bottom hinge more.

2. Place a 3 in (7.6 cm) screw in the top hinge if the jamb bulges. Some builders use screws that are 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, so it’s more likely for the jamb to come loose. A longer screw will pull the jamb in tighter so it’s not scraping the door. Open your door and place a shim that’s 1⁄8 inch (0.32 cm) thick on the floor underneath it. Take out any one of the screws from the top hinge using a screwdriver. Fit a 3 in (7.6 cm) wood or deck screw into the hole and screw it in until it’s flush with the hinge.

3. Switch a bent top hinge with the straight bottom one if your door sags. Over time, a heavier door can slightly bend the top hinge and cause it to sag. If this happens, open your door and tap out the pins in the hinges with a hammer and screwdriver. Pull the door straight out of the frame so you can access the hinges. Unscrew the top and bottom hinges from both the door and the frame. Reattach the bottom hinge on top and use the slightly bent one on the bottom.

  • The bottom hinge usually stays straighter since it’s not supporting the weight of the door as much.

  • If your hinge is extremely deformed or broken, then you’ll have to replace it entirely.

4. Fill in stripped holes with a golf tee and wood glue if the hinges still feel loose. Tap the hinge pins out from your door using a hammer and screwdriver. Pull your door straight out of the frame. Then, unscrew the hinges to take them off of the frame. Cover a wooden golf tee with wood glue and push it as far into the loose screw hole as you can. Score the tee with a utility knife and break it off so it’s flush with the frame. Once the glue dries, install the hinges and screw into the golf tee.

5. Put a shim under the hinges when a door hangs unevenly. Remove the hinge pins from the door and lift it out of the frame. Next, unscrew the hinges from the frame, but leave the ones attached to your door. Trace the shape of the door hinge on a piece of 1⁄8 in (0.32 cm) cardboard and cut it out with a utility knife. Put the cardboard shim in the frame’s mortise, which is the recessed area where you place the hinge. Set the hinge on top of the shim and screw it back in. Try reinstalling your door and checking if it opens and closes smoothly.

  • When it scrapes the bottom corner on the latch side, then shim the top hinge.

  • If your door scrapes the top corner, add a shim behind the bottom hinge.

  • If your door still rubs, you can add another 1⁄8 in (0.32 cm) shim under the hinge, but don’t let the front of your hinge extend past the mortise. Otherwise, your door will get looser over time.

Method 2: A Door That Won't Close or Latch

1. Check your strike plate. The strike plate, or metal piece on the jam where the door latches, might be placed too low or too high. This should always be the first thing you check when identifying a door that's not closing correctly. Look for marks on the strike plate that show the latch going above or below the hole. If you see these marks, use a metal file to file down the hole of the strike plate to make it lower or higher so that the latch can go in.

2. Check the hinges. If that wasn't your problem, then the problem is probably with your hinges. They are probably uneven, with one being too far in or out from the jam. Close the door as much as possible and look for uneven lines. The gaps all around the door should be the same all the way across (along the hinge line, at the top of the door, bottom of the door, and on the side of the door with the latch).

3. Adjust the hinge. The easiest option is the just adjust the center hinge, but you'll probably want to adjust either the top or the bottom hinge depending on the situation, since this should have the most impact. No matter which hinge you need to fix, the process is the same. Unscrew that hinge so that you can access the jam behind it. Cut a piece of milk carton or thin cardboard to the shape of the hinge recess and place it there. Return the hinge flap and screw it into place.

Method 3: A Door That Swings Closed

1. Gather your tools. You'll need a hammer, a screwdriver, and a strip of paper.

2. Remove the center hinge pin. Place the screwdriver at the bottom of the hinge pin and use the hammer to tap the bottom of the hinge pin until it comes up out of the hinge.

3. Place your paper. Fold your strip of paper until it is about .5-1 cm wide, and just a bit longer than the hinge. Place the paper in the hinge pinhole and fold the top down just a bit so that the paper stays in place.

4. Reinsert the pin. Put the pin back in the hinge. This may take some hammer tapping.

5. Test the door. Test to see if the door now stays open when you open it. The paper should make the hinge tighter, keeping the door where you place it.

6. Adjust as necessary. If one piece of paper doesn't work, you might need two. You may also need to put paper in the other hinges as well. Experiment until you get your door working the way you want.

Method 4: A Door That Squeaks

1. Get some gun oil. You can use other greases and oils too, but those are not usually intended for metal and result in the metal of the hinge degrading over time. Gun oil is best, since it is designed for use on metal.

2. Remove the hinge pins one at a time. You want to avoid having to take the door completely off the hinges, so just remove one hinge pin at a time and don't remove it the whole way. You just need access to the first inch or two. Do this by tapping the bottom of the pin with a screwdriver and hammer until the pin pops up. You may need a helper or something to prop up the door with if it becomes unstable with the hinges partway out.

3. Apply the oil. With part of the hinge pin exposed, brush on a little of the gun oil with an old paintbrush or a cloth. It doesn't take much, so don't make a mess!

4. Replace the pin. Tap the hinge pin back into place and work the door back and forth so that the oil works its way down. Clean up any extra with a piece of tissue.

5. Continue until all the hinges are oiled. Do each of the hinges in turn until they're all fixed.

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