How to Fix a Sagging Door in 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Few things are as annoying as a sagging door. A sagging doorway tilts downwards and to one of the sides, scraping away at the jamb every single time you open up or near it. When the door is open, it’s challenging to inform there is a problem. Even so, when remaining untreated, this minor inconvenience turns into a huge situation, generating it challenging to use the door.

So, how do you correct this? And can someone do that manually, with no expert aid? The response is indeed, this venture is really considerably doable. All you need to do is adhere to our action-by-stage guidebook! First, see whether or not you have got all the essential resources and components lined up. Subsequent, make certain you have at the very least an hour of spare time. Alright, now let’s resolve that door!

Time Needed: 30–60 minutes at a slow pace
Estimated Cost: $50–80 for the materials
Complexity: Beginner level

What Causes Doors to Sag?

Prior to we get to the “meat and potatoes”, consider a rapid appear at what qualified prospects to sagging doors in the 1st spot. If you stay in a very hot, humid area, it could be that the doorway has swollen above time, and that is why you’re obtaining difficulty opening and closing it. In other instances, the frame is to blame. This largely applies to older homes that have been close to for a lot of many years. What happens is the frame shifts and ends up outside the house of the sq..

Previous, we have got hinges—the most typical result in of sagging or sticking doorways. The screws tend to get unfastened even though the hinges get bent. Alright, now that we know what could be the root of the difficulty, let us get to repairing it. We’ll begin gradual and go from securing hinge screws to changing them, attaching shims, mortising the hinges, and utilizing sandpaper and the plane resource.

How to Fix a Sagging Door in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Kiwihug, Unsplash

Before you Start

Repairing a sagging doorway is not rocket science. But, you nonetheless want to get ready by yourself for the work and get everything all set. We’ll be working with wood right here, so make sure you’ve acquired a set of gloves on to avert calluses. Eye goggles, in switch, will defend you from chips. As for the instruments, you almost certainly previously have most of this stuff in the garage, like a screwdriver, electric powered drill, knife, and plane.

You will, even so, have to buy some glue, dowels, a doorstop, and some respectable-quality paint/varnish if the difficulty is greater than just a pair of loose screws. Speaking of screws, they’ll also arrive in handy (to substitute the previous, weak types). Here’s a full listing of the instruments and resources needed for the job:

Materials Needed
  • Dowels (or a set of toothpicks)
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • Pack of 3-inch screws
  • New door shims
  • A standard doorstop
  • Can of paint or varnish
Tools Required
  •  Protective glasses + goggles
  •  Screwdriver + hammer
  •  Steel square + bubble level
  • Utility knife or pencil
  • Cordless drill + chisel
  • Sandpaper + Plane Tool

How to Fix a Sagging Door (10 Steps)

1. Begin by Inspecting the Door

We start by taking a prolonged, challenging appear at what we’re working with. Just take your time to examine the doorway from all angles and spend added attention to the hinges. By assessing the injury, you’ll be capable to figure out how serious the sagging is and regardless of whether the hinges need to have to be replaced or not. We also advocate marking the places the place you see a gap amongst the door and the body.

It could also be that the door is too tight at some spots, and it’s “eating away” at the frame—take notes on that as effectively. In most circumstances, it’s the bottom hinge that’s leading to all the difficulty: it pushes in opposition to the jamb, creating it more difficult to shut the doorway. In contrast, at the prime, you’ll possibly have a tiny gap. This is a extremely widespread situation with older properties, especially in places with previously mentioned-typical humidity ranges.

2. Check the Frame: Is It Level?

Alright, for the following phase, we’ll need two crucial equipment for any leveling work: a bubble amount and a steel square, recognized as the carpenter’s square. The objective listed here is to see whether the body and the doorway are level or not. The sq. is very effortless to use. Just maintain it tightly towards each of the four corners of the jamb. That will aid you figure out if they’re at 90 degrees or if there are slight deviations/imperfections.

This triangular instrument is very affordable (you can get it for considerably less than $10), and you can get it at a nearby components shop.

Placing the Bubble Amount to Good Use

The spirit stage is an additional lower-effort instrument. Once again, intention at the door jamb, or, instead, its sides and the top. Ideally, the bubble should “sit” right between the two strains. If you see that the frame is way off, but the doorway is level, really don't be confused—this takes place a whole lot. Out-of-square frames are usually the end result of previous, shifted partitions. In other cases, it’s the settling basis to blame.

Time and weather conditions make even the greatest homes sink, which causes difficulty with doorways. So, what’s the remedy right here? Most probably, you’ll have to grab your plane tool and very carefully go over the problematic spots. We’ll chat about that more down this manual.

How to Fix a Sagging Door in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

3. Make Sure the Hinges are Secure

Go forward and open up the doorway. If it refuses to remain still, put some thing weighty in entrance of it (or a doorway stand, if you have obtained 1). Now examine on the hinges: the screws should be wonderful and tight, but they’ll possibly be loose, especially the ones holding the prime hinge. Grab your trusty screwdriver and tighten every single solitary screw, but be cautious not to above-tighten them and damage the holes.

The rule of thumb right here is to maintain tightening the screws until finally you fulfill substantial resistance. That’s why it is very best to use a screwdriver and not an electric powered drill. Go sluggish and make sure you’ve secured all the screws that go into the doorway and the body/jamb. With a little little bit of luck, this should fix the sagging issue. Still possessing trouble with it? Then let us try the next trick.

4. Take Care of the Stripped Holes

What is a stripped hole, exactly? This term refers to screw holes that, well, get stripped. Above time, the wood fibers about the screws (or, instead, their heads) shed their keeping toughness thanks to extreme use. Occasionally, the screws are as well weak to maintain a massive, weighty door. Last but not least, intense temperature is recognized to make wooden increase and swell, which, once more, negatively influences its power and reliability.

To correct a stripped hole, you’ll have to remove the hinge(s). Some specialists recommend eliminating the total doorway, but that will not be necessary if you have a doorstop to maintain it in spot although you are occupied with the defective hinge. So, remove the screws and then set a dowel into the stripped hole. But, just before you do that, make confident it is lined in a wholesome amount of carpenter’s glue. Give it some time to dry and drill a new hole for the screws.

A Fast (and Low-cost) Different

If they really don't have a dowel at your nearby keep, you can use toothpicks rather. Set a few of them into the stripped gap and break off the excess areas that are sticking out. That’s pretty much it! The added wood must make the gap scaled-down and let the screw threads to get a appropriate grip. You just set the toothpicks into the gap, then spot a screw in there, and tighten it with a screwdriver.

How to Fix a Sagging Door in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Skyliz, Shutterstock

5. Replace the Factory Screws

At times, no issue how excellent you are at correcting a stripped hole, the manufacturing facility screws merely cannot keep the doorway steady. That is when lengthier screws swoop in to preserve the day. They don’t necessarily have to be larger—just a smidge more time. Of course, all we need to have right here are a few added threads that will go in further and be capable to maintain on tightly the two to the jambs and the door.

For the typical-sized door, three-inch screws should be best. So, get rid of the previous kinds, use a drill to make new holes, and then protected the hinge employing a set of longer screws. The idea is to get to the wall stud. Which is why we need for a longer time screws: they’ll pull the doorway back again (inward) after they get a grip on wall studs. Verify the doorway amount following this, as it may just normalize.

6. Use Plastic Anchors

Manufacturing facility screws are fantastic and all, but if the door or the jamb is as well slender, they won’t be of significantly use. Blessed for us, there is a attempted-and-real solution to this difficulty: plastic anchors. You can get a whole box of these for $10–15, and they’ll provide for a lengthy time. The trick right here is to choose a drill bit that matches the diameter of these anchors.

Oh, and really don't overlook to eliminate the hinge completely prior to you do this. Based on how restricted the holes are, you might have to use a hammer to tap the anchors down. Once they are in, place the hinge back on and secure it with the manufacturing unit screws (or lengthier ones, if they match) that now go into the anchors.

7. Add Shim(s) to Fix the Sagging

You can’t overestimate the importance of shims for interior adjustment, as they are cheap ($2 for a pack), easy to work with and get the work completed. Basically, a shim is a piece of wood (slender, tapered, and reduce from pine/cedar) that we set correct in between the jamb and the hinge. Really do not have any completely ready-constant shims close to? Don’t be concerned: just cut thin parts of cardboard or wooden and use them instead. A pack of enjoying playing cards is an selection as effectively.

To make this perform, you may well have to use the excellent aged demo and error approach. Just eliminate the hinge and do your best to match the condition of the shim to it. And the thinner the shim, the far better, as it will be much more adaptable. Begin with one particular layer and incorporate new types until you achieve the ideal tightness. Usually, it’s the leading hinge that advantages from shims, but your predicament could be various.

8. Try the Hinge Mortising Technique

Shims are recognized to be really productive, but if they fail, the so-called “mortising” technique could help. For this, go ahead and take away the inventory hinge. But, just before you do that, don’t forget to outline it (say, with a utility knife or a sharp pencil). Subsequent, use a chisel to carve some of the wooden out, generating the hinge pocket bigger and further. Again, stick to the outline! This tends to just take some work and endurance, specially if it is your initial time undertaking operate like that.

Be mild and do your greatest not to overdo it. We advise heading all around the perimeter with the chisel and only then generating these cuts. The goal is for the hinge to be mounted flush with the door. So, sure, the depth of the mortise will rely on how massive the sagging dilemma is. As soon as you’re satisfied with the freshly-carved pocket, put the hinge back on. You can use lengthier screws, just like we did before.

9. Use the Plane Tool

If all the earlier initiatives aren’t doing it for your doorway, sanding or planing is the only selection remaining on the desk. Now, there are lots of electrical/driven planes out there, but you will be far better off utilizing a hand 1. The cause: it gives you much more manage above how considerably stress you utilize and how much of the door you chip off. Besides, you will not have to take away the door from the hinges, which will save heaps of time and hard work.

So, initial, discover the place where the door is hitting the frame. Up coming, make a mark utilizing a pencil/knife. Soon after that, it all will come down to operating the strike edge until finally you get rid of the sticking. Keep opening and closing the doorway although you’re at it. Occasionally, the doorway will have far more than one sticking location, and they’ll reveal themselves the 2nd you offer with the very first one.

What about Sanding?

To easy out the edges, go in excess of the doorway with sandpaper. Start with 150-grip and then swap to one hundred twenty-grit to make the strike edge(s) wonderful and easy. This is crucial: as described, sagging is frequently triggered by humidity. However, it tends to occur and go. As a result, it is suggested not to aircraft/sand absent also a lot of the doorway. Or else, it just won’t seem very good when the swelling goes absent, and there’s a hole there.

How to Fix a Sagging Door in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Giulio_Fornasar, Shutterstock

10. Apply Paint or Varnish

Alright, the ultimate phase is painting or varnishing the places that we just “handled” with the plane device. This way, you will make the door appear wonderful and new. On top of that, an added layer of coating will avert humidity from taking above the door and triggering a new sagging concern.


Sagging can be induced by a number of factors, like free screws, outdated hinges, a settling basis, and even humidity. Relying on how huge of a sag/stick you’re dealing with, repairing it can consider from thirty minutes up to two hrs. What we want below is to get it gradual: begin by ascertaining the problem and examining on the door, frame, and hinges.

If you’re blessed, securing the screws may possibly do the trick. And if not, you are going to have to include shims, exchange the limited screws, and go over the door with sandpaper and a airplane. The excellent news is—you won’t have to be a pro carpenter to make this work you will not want costly, hard-to-get equipment, both. Pay out extra attention to the directions every single phase of the way, and you’ll be completed in no time!

Showcased Image Credit score: Roan Lavery, Unsplash