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How to Fix or Level a Problematic Door in Your Home

Doors refuse to stay open, swing shut by themselves, or are otherwise difficult to open or close when the hinges are not square and plumb. Sometimes, this occurs when the door has not been installed correctly. More often, it has occurred because of some settling, either of the house or the door itself, or if the door has been forced shut when there was an object in the way or some other type of minor damage has occured. If this has become a problem with one or more doors in your house, you may be wondering how to fix it. Here we will cover several possible remedies. The first section will give you three quick fixes that may help to eleviate the symptoms for your door. The second section explains the step by step process about how to level the hinges, which will fix the problem. The third section covers bending the pins to add more friction, which may fix the problems you are experiencing but does not correct the cause of the problem. If your door has suffered more severe damage or you just can't seem to get is straightened out on your own, get a free no obligation quote from a licensed contractor.

Quick Fix
  1. Check the hinges of the door to see if they are loose. If they are, tighten them. Sometimes this is all that is needed to fix a door that won't stay open. Because your door won't stay open, it is more likely to be a problem with the upper hinge. Use books, magazines or the like to support your door while you are tightening the screws to ensure you get them tight.
  2. Replace the screws holding the hinges with longer screws to add more support to the hinges.
  3. If you recently greased the hinges, try removing some of the grease by removing and wiping down each hinge pin. The hinge pin is the pin that connects the pieces of the hinge. It can be removed by pulling it up with a pliers. You may need to use a nail set and tap the bottom of the pin to get it out.

Level the Hinges

  1. Close the door and take a look at the hinges. One is probably more in toward the doorway than the other. You now have two options. You can add a shim between the hinge that is further away from the doorway, or you can deepen the mortise (the area where the hinge sits on the door frame) on the hinge that is further in.
  2. Open the door and place several magazines to hold up your door.
  3. Loosen the screws on the hinge that is closest to the door frame. You only need to loosen them on the half of the hinge that is connected to the frame (not the side connected to the door). Slip a shim between the hinge and the door frame. The idea is to push the hinge toward the doorway.
  4. Tighten the screws and check the door. If it looks odd or if it does not fix the problem, then you need to move on to Step 6.
  5. Remove the door and remove the screws on the hinge that hangs further in.
  6. Deepen the mortise (area where the hinge rests) with a chisel.
  7. Replace the hinge and the rehang the door.

Bend the Hinge Pins

  1. Remove one hinge pin from the hinges. Place it in a vice and tap it with a hammer until it bends slightly.

  2. Place the pin back in the hinge.

  3. Test the door. If you still have a problem, repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second and third hinge until the problem is resolved.

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