This expert how-to shows how to repair a loose or warped door, with fixes for doors that are too small or out of place, and helpful tips for repositioning a 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 will need to remove the hinge pins and the door.

fix loose door
Loosen screws  and insert shims behind hinges to fix door alignment problems. ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

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.

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” served as MSN’s home expert for several years, and is featured as Yelp's home improvement expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort