Tips for Fixing a Crooked Door

There are not many things around the house more irritating than a crooked or stuck door. Often, they are difficult to open or close, not to mention unsightly. Several things can cause a door to sag or stick. Thankfully, the most common causes are generally easy to fix. Here are a few reasons your door could be stuck or crooked and what to do about them.

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If you find a crooked door, it may just be a visual distraction, or it may also stick or catch when the door rubs against the frame. The easiest fix is to ensure that all the screws are tightened on the hinges. Problems with screws during installation are not uncommon. Sometimes, screws were insufficiently tightened, were tightened too tight and have been stripped out, or the screw may have been left out altogether.

Replacement screws are available at most local hardware stores, and loose screws can easily be tightened. If the screws holes have been stripped out, this can be easily fixed by removing the screw and filling the hole with wooden material. Simple items like a small stick from outside, toothpicks, or even a matchstick without the head can be used. Tap the wood into the hole and break it off flush with the surface, then insert the screw. The wood will be wedged into place and keep the screw secure.

Hopefully this corrects the problem and your door now works perfectly. If not, the next step is to shim out the hinges. First, look at the door when it’s closed. Typically on crooked doors, the gap between the door and the frame is wider at the bottom, and the door is touching, or even overlapping at the top. Remove the screws on the frame side of the bottom hinge, and on more severe conditions, the middle hinge. Plastic hinge shims, available at hardware stores, are set between the hinge and the frame. The screws are then reinserted, resulting in the bottom of the door being adjusted.

If the previous fixes don’t resolve the problem, the next step is to reshape the edge of your door. If this is a bit over your comfort level, any handyman should be able to do the job. This repair generally involves using a jackplane, but sometimes a palm or belt sander will suffice. A little at a time, remove the wood on the edge of your door. Be careful to remove the wood in a straight line to ensure the edge of the door won’t end up crooked or wavy. Remove a little bit of material, and then close the door to check the fit. A small pencil line on the door may help to determine the amount of work needed. Once the door is parallel to the frame, with 1/8” space, your door will once again open and close with ease.

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