Tips for Adjusting Your Entry Door Hinges

Door hinges are things you want to have in place.  Entry door hinges are things you definitely want to have in place.  Entry doors should be secured and intact, but when the hinges cause problems, suddenly your home is at risk.  Fortunately, there are several tips and tricks to adjusting your entry door’s hinges and getting the safety of your home back on track.

Wear and tear can take a toll on a frequently used entry door, which can cause the hinges to loosen and the door to sag.  You’ll notice this because there’s a good chance that the top of the door catches on the door frame or if you see a gap at the top of the frame that widens as you step back.  The door isn’t hanging properly and should be fixed.

adjusting door hinges

Tighten the Hinges

By simply tightening the hinges on the door you may be able to fix the problem at hand.  Grab a screwdriver and begin by pulling the door back toward the jamb, which is the side of the doorframe that’s hinged.

Tighten the screws on these hinges as much as you can with your screwdriver (you can also use a drill if it’s easier).  Finally, try to close the door completely to see if tightening the screws solved the issue.

tightening door hinges

Replace the Middle Screw

If you’ve tried the first step and tightened the screws on the hinges and the door is still catching and not closing properly, move on to this step: replace the middle screw.  Using your screwdriver or drill once again, remove the middle screw on the top door hinge.

Replace the middle screw with a 3-inch one.  In this method, the longer screw in the top hinge will help pull the door back closer to the jamb.  Using your screwdriver or drill, screw the replacement all the way in until you’re sure the hinge is secured against the jamb.  When finished, try closing the door shut.  If it closes without catching, congratulations!  If not, don’t worry, there are other methods you can try.

How to Fix a Sticky Door

A door that sticks—not from children’s mess but rather a door that sticks to the frame—is no good, especially if it’s a frequently used entry door.  This could mean that the door wasn’t installed correctly, and the hinges aren’t nestled into the indents of the frame where the hinge plate is located—otherwise known as mortises.  This also might be the case if you don’t see a large gap between the frame and the door, but the entry door is still not operating smoothly.

Using a screwdriver or drill, start by removing the bottom hinge of the door.  If there are indentations on the mortises from the door compressing against it, then it means the hinge plate wasn’t installed in the mortise correctly.  These compression marks will be quite obvious.  The door is being pushed into the frame more than it needs to be, causing problems.

Grab a utility knife and a chisel to remove scuffed wood along the compression imprints so you can once again get an even surface for the door hinge and the plate.  Be careful.  You don’t want to cut deeper than the mortise with your knife because it will mean an uneven surface and more door problems.

Reinstall the hinge into the mortise. Tighten the screws to make sure nothing is loose.  Repeat this process with the other door hinges, ensuring the hinge plate is resting evenly on the mortise and all the excess wood has been removed and leveled.

What to Do if Your Door Has a Large Gap

If you notice an unusually large gap between the door and its frame, your door might not shut properly.  You don’t have to install a wider door.  Instead, you can adjust the hinges so it can close.

First, unscrew the bottom hinge using a screwdriver or drill.  Next, trace half of the hinge on a piece of cardboard.  Trace four outlines, unless you are only adjusting two hinges, then you need to only trace twice.  Cut these outlines out as exact as possible.  These pieces will be going behind the hinge on the door.

Then, put two of the cutouts against the indents on the door and the jamb.  The traced cutouts should fit perfectly.  Next, screw the bottom hinge over the cardboard cutout.  You can punch the screws right through the cardboard and proceed to tighten them until the hinge is secured in its place.  By the time you’re finished installing the hinge, the cardboard cutout will no longer be visible.

Finish the job by repeating the same cardboard cutout and hinge reinstallation of the other door hinges.  When finished, the gap should be evenly smaller, and the door should close properly.  If it doesn’t, you can add another layer of cardboard hinge outlines to help close the gap even more.

We have served over 500,000 homeowners across the Midwest and we have installed over 100,000 doors. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote today.

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