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How to adjust a sagging door?

To fix a sagging door, we must first identify the problem

Doors are an essential part of any home, and wooden doors are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal and durability. However, over time, a sagging door can become a real head ache, making them difficult to open and close.

This is caused by a constant fight between gravity and the strength of the way your door and its hinges have been fitted.

Fortunately, adjusting a sagging door is a relatively simple process that can be done with just a few basic tools. We’ll walk you through the steps to adjust a sagging door and get it back to its proper functioning state.

So if you feel like this guy below? We can help.

Man having difficulty opening a door-how to fix sagging doors?

Determine the issue

You must first determine the underlying problem before making any adjustments. Start by opening and closing the door to see where it’s sticking. Check the top, bottom, and sides of the door to see if there are even gaps and if the door is rubbing against the frame. This will help you determine where the door needs to be adjusted.

The most common issue is the door dropping down on the side where the handle is, opposite the hinges.

As this is the most common issue, this is what we will talk about fixing. 

The cause of sagging doors

There are 4 main reasons that can cause this:

  1. the hinges have loosened whilst fighting gravity day in and day out; 
  2. the door has swelled (due to excessive moisture) causing it to clash with the frame it is in;
  3. the doors frame isn’t fixed properly to the brickwork or has loosened or
  4. this can even be due to building movement.

What to do?

We will attempt to solve causes 1, 3 and 4 above.

Firstly, get a spirit level and find out what is not vertical or horizontal? Is it door itself or the frame of the door?

In the diagram below we will assume the door is hitting on the frame or floor as per Arrow 1.

To make it easier to adjust the screws and hinges in a door we must first take away the weight of the door from the hinges. Try to use wedges under both sides of the door (number 3 in mage below) to achieve this as best as you can. Having someone lift the door by the handle can help drive the wedges a little more usefully. A much more professional way is to buy an “inflatable cushion” which slides under the door, is pumped up, and this takes away all the weight of the door. Good Door Hardware stores will sell these.

Door areas that can have problems when sagging...

Solutions for a sagging door

Firstly, check all the screws in the hinges to make sure they are tight and have not loosened. Start with the top hinge as this hinge always bares the most pressure. Have someone else holding the door before you take the next step. Take out the top hinges screws. Did they come out easily? Were they quite loose? If so I would suggest putting a toothpick inside the hole where the screws were, sometimes more than one toothpick is needed.

If the screws are still in good condition then screw, have the other person gently lift the door by its handle, and you screw the screws back into the the top hinge.

If the screws need replacing, try to get slightly longer ones.

This alone might solve your problem? Take away “3” and test the door to see if it works now?

If not, check with the spirit level if the hinged side of the door frame is vertical? If not you might need to place a “large fixing screw” about 150mm long through the TOP of the frame and into the wall. This should push the frame back into position. Only a few mm is needed.

WE RECOMMEND ONLY PROFESSIONALS DO THIS TO AVOID HITTING ANY CABLES AND AS MORE SERIOUS TOOLS ARE REQUIRED. ANY FURTHER STEPS SHOULD BE DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL.

The last resort

If the door is still sagging, you may need to plane the door. Planing is the process of removing small amounts of wood from the edge of the door to make it fit better in the frame. To do this, remove the door from the hinges and use a hand plane to shave off the wood from the edge of the door where it’s rubbing against the frame. Be sure to plane evenly from both sides of the door to avoid making it uneven.

Conclusion

Adjusting a sagging wooden door may seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple tools and some patience, you can get your door back to its proper alignment. Remember to start by identifying the problem and then work your way through the steps to find the best solution. By following these steps, you can save money on costly repairs and keep your wooden doors looking and functioning great for years to come.

High quality front doors from Authentic Timber Windows Ltd are installed with adjustable hinges, which usually eliminates these issues.

Some other small reminders about your doors...

The door should open and close smoothly, without sticking or rubbing against the frame when it is functioning properly. The door must latch firmly with minimal effort and be easy to open and close

Correct Alignment:

The door and framework should be properly aligned. It should not rub against the frame or stick when opening or shutting. It should also be flush with the frame and not leave any spaces when closed.

Secure Latching:

The door latch should lock firmly against the strike plate, and the door shouldn’t vibrate or move when it’s secured.

Quiet operation:

The door shouldn’t produce any unusual sounds when opening or closing. These noises could mean that the door hinges need to be lubricated, which should be done anyway and at regular 6 monthly intervals.

author avatar
Stephen Earle
A perfectionist, designer and manufacturer of world class timber windows & doors. Motivated by a desire to establish a company offering superior, high-security, and timeless handcrafted timber windows and doors, Stephen collaborated with like-minded artisans to found Authentic Timber Windows Ltd in 2006. The company's mission was to bridge traditional artisanry with modernity, creating wooden windows and doors that seamlessly blended traditional or modern aesthetics with high-security functionality. As the Founder and Director of Authentic Timber Windows Ltd, Stephen played a pivotal role in shaping the company's vision and strategic direction. His commitment to excellence and a customer-centric approach quickly positioned the company as a leader in the bespoke timber windows & doors market. Under Stephen's guidance, Authentic Timber Windows Ltd gained a reputation for delivering superior & durable windows & doors; whilst paying attention to detail, and providing exceptional customer service.
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