How To Fix A Misaligned Door

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You have a misaligned door, and you don't know what to do about it. Is your door scraping along the floor? Does it bang loudly when you open or close it? If so, then chances are your door is not aligned correctly. This can lead to damage to your door and its surroundings if left unrepaired for too long.

In some cases, fixing the scraping and scuffing of your door might be as easy as sanding an edge of the door or even readjusting the door latch. Follow these instructions on fixing a misaligned door to keep yourself from further frustration, money loss, and damaged property.

Begin by Tightening the Hinge Screws

If your door is misaligned so that the top of the door scrapes against the top of the door jamb or floor, you may need to tighten the hinge screws. Just loosen the hinge screws so that they are flush with the wood of the door frame, then re-tighten them. Always use a screwdriver and not a drill when tightening screws.

Tighten the Hinge Screws
Image caption: https://www.wcmanet.org/

A drill will cause you to over-tighten the screws and possibly break them. Even if the screws don't look like they're loose, try to tighten, and you'll see the difference. Also, when tightening the screw hinges, check for any hinge spacers on the door. Check both the top and bottom hinges just like how to frame a window.

Check Where the Latch is Hitting the Strike Plate

If the latch on a sliding door is hitting your strike plate, all you need to do is lift the lock handle and lower it again. This should push the locking mechanism out of the way so that when you close the door, it won't get stuck on the strike plate. Always check both sides of your door to make sure that the lock is on the same side in both places.

If you leave this plate to protrude, it will scrape against your door latch and cause you to feel like your door is a bit harder to open. Use a screwdriver or a cordless drill to move the strike plate up and then to make holes in your door where it sits. 

Then use an adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers to move the fix into place and secure it with screws that fit properly. Once you have everything adjusted, test out your new plates. Also, take this opportunity to learn how to fix damaged cabinet doors.

Move Strike Plate up in Increments

You could tighten the plate to the jamb, but it can still be the main cause of your door misalignment. Maybe the latch on the door is not properly lined up with the strike plate, or the strike plate is too high. It's not possible to move the door latch, but you can incrementally move the strike plate.

Use a hammer and screwdriver to make a mark on the strike plate. Do this twice as you need to adjust both sides of the door. The closer these two marks are, the more accurate your fixes will be. And you can achieve that by hitting the top of the screwdriver with a hammer until it's flush with the strike plate. Then turn the screwdriver to make a mark on the opposite side of the strike plate.

Draw in the Jamb

This is the same as adjusting hinges. You have to draw in the jambs of your door. The easiest way to do this is by setting a level at one side and tapping the other with a hammer until it is flush. After that, use small blocks of wood filler or shims to keep the jamb in place. Use painter's tape or masking tape to hold the wood in place.

Let it dry and then sand the surface of the jamb smooth once the filler is applied, rolled on, and allowed to dry. If you've drawn your jamb and moved your strike plate and your door is still not lining up, then remove the whole strike plate and reinstall. The only problem you'll face here is the holes for your new strike plate will overlap with the old one. You will need to drill new holes or work around them to achieve a perfect fit.

You can use the wood dowel with the same diameter as your screw holes to secure them in place while you get the fit just right using wood glue. Before shaving off any excess dowel, make sure you tighten the screws and get a solid fit.

Try to Repair the Door by Sanding or Trimming the Jamb

If your door edges are completely unaligned, then you might need to do some trimming. If you have a table saw or router, this will be the simplest solution. Sometimes, a misaligned or sagging door may not be because of a loose hinge or misaligned plate.

Over time, a house is bound to settle and shift. This can make your door swell or your door frameshift. Make it part of your home remodeling routine to check the doors for misalignment. 

If you notice misalignment, correct the mess by sanding. Mark the spots that you need to work on, then remove the door from its hinges. If the frame is out of alignment, you need to use your table saw or router to make some adjustments.

Replace a Warped and Loose Door Jamb

For a slight misalignment, you can leave the door in place. You might be able to correct it by adjusting the hinges. Rather than doing that and risk damaging the door, you can replace the jambs. It will eliminate the need to shove your hand in between the door and frame.

Replace Warped and Loose Door Jamp
Image caption: https://www.wcmanet.org/

Also, before you mount the door, check if it's warped. Sometimes, the door itself can be a little warped. In which case, you need to either adjust it or replace it altogether. You should also check if the frame is straight and square according to the new door.

You don't need to repair door hinges or shift strike plate if your door frame is warped. You can replace the door frame. Note that places with extreme temperatures such as freezing or blazing hot weather can expand your wood material. So, ensure you do the repair or replacement work when the wood is expanded during the summer period.

Remove the Door Hinges

Last but certainly not least, you need to remove the old door hinges. These are usually secured with a screw, and you can unscrew them with a screwdriver. Remove all the screws before taking off the hinges because they may loosen up when you take them down. This is something you can do, especially if your door has a minor misalignment issue.

Remove the hinges, then reattach them again. Remove the hinge pins of your closed door by sticking some screws to the holes where the pins are located. Use a nail to pop out the pins until they can come out manually. When doing this, make sure to lay down cardboard because the door might not close properly if it's hanging.

Check for warping by inspecting the bottom of your door. If you see any nails coming out on the surface, use glue and a hammer to nail them in place. This is one way to fix a misaligned door without spending too much money and time.

FAQs on How to Fix a Misaligned Door

What are the causes of a misaligned door?

A misaligned door is usually caused by the wooden panels warping. It might also be caused by an uneven floor or poor construction of your home. Constant slamming and abrupt opening of the door can also leave you with a sagging door.

How do you repair a misaligned door?

There are several ways on how to fix a misaligned door, but here is the most common way: Straightening the warped panels is done by using glue and clamps until the wood panel returns to its place.

Final Thought on How to Fix Misaligned Door

Sagging doors are far more than a cosmetic issue; in fact, they can widen cracks and leave your house vulnerable to theft. There is no guaranteed way to stop misaligned doors or sagging doors, but you can do a few things to prevent this from happening. We hope the above guide can be of help to you.

 

 

 

Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is a stay-at-home-mom and an expert chef. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her writing about her favorite kitchen appliances on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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