Exploring New Home Construction

Two Common Door Hinge Problems And How You Can Easily Fix Them

You may never have considered how many times you open and close your doors at home, but if you were to count, the number may surprise you. After literally hundreds or thousands of openings and closings, your door hinges may give you problems. And, most of the time, the problem isn't even the hinges themselves but their attachment to the door frame. Below are two common problems that can cause your door to hang incorrectly from its hinges and how you can fix the problems easily and without spending a fortune:

Tools and materials needed

  • Screwdriver

  • One-quarter inch diameter dowel rod (3 feet long)

  • Poster board

  • Scissors

  • Electric drill with one-quarter inch and one-sixteenth inch drill bits

  • Rubber mallet

  • Wood glue

  • Medium-grit sandpaper

  • Pencil

  • Masking tape

Door hangs loosely

If your door isn't hanging correctly or feels "loose", the first thing you should do is try to tighten the hinge screws; in many instances, that will solve the problem immediately. However, over time, the constant strain on the screws can cause them to move around inside their holes; this action turns the threads on the screws into tiny rasps, and they slowly enlarge the holes on the doorframe. Eventually, the screws won't stay in place, and you won't be able to tighten them no matter how often you try. The good news is that you can fix this problem yourself; here is what you need to do:

  1. Remove the door hinges from the doorframe by removing the screws from bottom-to-top. You will probably want to have someone assist you in holding the door steady and help you set it aside once you remove all the screws.

  2. With the electric drill and one-quarter inch bit, drill a one-inch deep hole into each screw hole in the door frame. You can wrap a piece of masking tape around the bit one inch from the end to serve as a depth gauge.

  3. After drilling, measure and cut one-inch lengths of one-quarter inch diameter dowel rod. With the sandpaper, taper one end of each piece so that they are slightly rounded.

  4. Place a thin layer of wood glue around the dowel pieces and push them into the holes, tapered end first. Use the rubber mallet to lightly tap them into place.

  5. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

  6. Once the glue is dry, cut away any protruding dowel rod ends with a utility knife and sand the ends flat with your sandpaper.

  7. With the drill and one-sixteenth inch bit, make a small pilot hole in the ends of the dowel sections. Don't drill any deeper than about one-eighth of an inch.

  8. Hold the door up to the frame while you insert the screws through the hinges into the new holes you just drilled. Have your assistant help you keep the door steady until you are finished. If everything was done correctly, your door hinges should now have a renewed grip on the door frame.

Rubbing or sticking door

If your door is rubbing against the frame on one end or the other, then it's possible your home has undergone some normal shifting and caused the doorframe to go out of square. Don't despair, however, as this is also a quick, easy fix:

  1. Identify the location on the doorframe where the door is sticking or rubbing. If it sticks on or near the top end, then you will need to adjust the bottom hinge. If it sticks on or near the bottom hinge, then the top hinge will need adjustment.

  2. Remove just the hinge that you identified in step one from the doorframe; you can leave the others attached to the doorframe.

  3. Take a piece of poster board, and trace around the hinge plate you just removed from the doorframe. Cut the shape out from the poster board; go ahead and make two to three more cut-outs as extras.

  4. Place one cut-out shape against the doorframe in the hinge slot. Tape it in place temporarily with masking tape. This will serve as a shim to help realign the door.

  5. Reattach the hinge on top of the cut-out and drive the screws through the poster board shim into the holes behind it.

  6. Check your door's movement to see if it continues to stick; if it does, then remove the hinge and insert another poster board shim.

  7. Reattach the door hinge, and continue to remove and insert poster board shims until the sticking or rubbing ceases.

  8. Remove the masking tape remnants. The poster board shims you just made and installed should hold the door more in-line with its frame for quite some time, but add or subtract spacers as needed in the future.

Should you decide to replace you door instead, go to this site, or other similar sites, to get more information. 


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