Door Repairs – How to DIY

Door repairs

Whether it’s changing a lock or shimming a bind, you can easily fix any interior or exterior door problem.

Warping, house-settling, loose or improperly installed hinges can cause a door to bind. And in most cases the remedy is simple.


To repair a loose hinge, open the door fully and insert a wedge at the bottom of the latch side of the door. This will prevent stress on the one hinge leaf as you remove the faulty hinge. You may be able to solve the problem by installing bigger hinges. If not, enlarge the screw holes to 60mm (1/4 in) then glue and insert a length of 60mm (1/4 in) dowel. Sand the dowel flush, then screw the hinge back in place with the original screws.

If the door is binding because of mortises that have been cut too deep, you can shim the hinge to correct the bind. Again, open the door fully and insert a wedge at the bottom of the latch side. If the bind is at the bottom, you must shim the top hinge and vice versa. Remove the hinge leaf from the doorjamb and cut a thin cardboard shim the size of the door mortise Insert the shim between the doorjamb and the hinge leaf and drive the screws home

If the door binds at the top or still slightly binds on the latch side after you’ve shimmed the hinge, plane the edge of the door down at the binding location. You can do this without removing the door. But if the door binds at the bottom, or on the hinge side, door removal is necessary. Use a hammer and pry bar to tap up the head of the hinge pins, remove the hinges and plane the high spots.

Latch and strike adjustment

If your latch and strike plate aren’t engaging but the latch s in line with the strike, then place a thin cardboard shim under the latch plate.

If the latch and strike are misaligned, and the range is minor, file the strike plate hole to enlarge it slightly. If the misalignment is greater, remove the strike plate and, using a chisel and mallet, extend the mortise in the proper direction.

Doors that won’t close far enough for the latch to engage can be corrected by removing the stop molding, latching the door and drawing a line on the jamb where the stop molding must be repositioned.

Curing warps

Warped doors can be corrected by either supporting the door on blocks and placing heavy weights on the bow for at least a day, or by using a turnbuckle to tighten a wire placed in screw eyes located diagonally across the door.

Replacing a threshold

To remove an old threshold, open the door fully or remove door if necessary. Remove doorstop if necessary and pry up threshold with pry bar or claw hammer. If the threshold extends under the jambs and you can’t remove it intact, saw the threshold into three pieces, remove the middle section and then work out the side sections from under the jambs.

If possible, use the old threshold as a pattern for the new one. Cut the new threshold out of hardwood and make sure it fits snugly against the door trim. Drill holes and countersink nails or screws.

Sliding door repair

Closet bypass doors (sliding doors) are usually hardboard panels supported by a top and bottom rack in which wheels glide to facilitate door movement. They can develop problems with misaligned wheels or bent tracks.

Determine the cause of the problem and then remove the door panels. Top-hung doors are removed by lifting the door up and swinging the bottom out to clear the track. If the top track has a space where wheels can be removed, slide the door until the wheels are in position, then lift the door out of the top track.

If the tracks are bent, place a block of wood against the track and hammer the wood lightly, moving the wood along the track as you hammer until the track is straight. Make sure all screws are securely fastened, since a loose screw can cause a bind in the track.

Check wheel alignment. Any misaligned wheel can usually be set with an adjustable screw on the wheel assembly.

To rehang the door, put the top into position first.

How to repair door hinge


1 To repair a door hinge, you must first open the door fully and insert a block of wood at the bottom of the latch side of the door to prevent stress on the hinge.


2 A loose hinge can sometimes be repaired by installing a bigger hinge or by enlarging the screw holes, inserting a dowel and screwing the hinge back in.


3 Binding caused by a mortise that is too deep can be corrected by inserting a cardboard shim between the jamb and hinge leaf on the non-binding hinge

Door repairs

Sometimes a door will resist closing. A narrow cardboard shim placed between the hinge leaf and door jamb may be all that’s necessary to repair the problem.


1 File away small portions of the strike plate to enlarge the opening if the latch is only slightly misaligned with the strike plate.


2 If the misalignment is too great to allow for filing of the strike plate opening, or if the door rattles, cut a new mortise and relocate the strike on the jamb.


3 To replace a threshold, saw or chisel the old one out. Use it for a pattern if possible. Cut the new saddle and tap it gently into place.


4 Predrill nail holes on each side of the threshold. Drive finishing nails into place, countersinking them with a nailset. Fill holes with wood filler.

Leave a Comment