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How to Fix a Loose or Warped Door

If a door is too small for its frame, an easy though somewhat obtrusive solution is to install weatherstripping on the latch side of the jamb. A more attractive fix is to shim out one or more of the door?s hinges. To do this, you?ll need to remove the hinge pins and the door.

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Loosen screws  and insert shims behind hinges to fix door alignment problems.

Unscrew the hinge leaf from the jamb (loosen screws but don’t remove them entirely). Cut a piece of thin sheet brass or dense, hard- surface cardboard to fit beneath it. Double up shims if you need more thickness. Then screw the leaf back in place.

Often, simply tightening loose hinges gets a sagging door back in alignment. You can try tightening loose hinge screws or replacing them with longer ones. If the holes are so badly stripped that the screws won?t hold, repair the screw holes. To do this, remove the screws and hinge leaf from the jamb. Then coat small wood dowels or headless matchsticks with white glue and tap them into the hole with a hammer, using as many as needed. Trim them flush with a sharp chisel and wipe away excess glue. Then drill new pilot holes for the screws and reassemble.

Adjusting a Warped Door

To fix a slightly warped door, try adjusting the stop, partially shimming the hinges, or adding another hinge. Where there is a slight bow on the hinge side, centering a third hinge between the top and bottom ones often pulls the door back into alignment. If the bow is near the lock side and the door latches only when slammed, first try adjusting the latch.

Then try repositioning the stop, as you would for a window. If necessary, adjust the strike plate. If the top or bottom of the door does not meet the stop on the lock side, try repositioning the stop and the strike plate.

You may also have to shim the hinges to change the angle of the door?s swing. You can move a door closer to the lock side of the jamb by inserting shims under the hinge leaves. Depending on the direction of the warp, place a half shim under each hinge leaf either on the side of the leaf that is closest to the pin or on the opposite side. Usually, the other hinge is shimmed in the opposite way.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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