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General: An Easy Fix for Sticking or Dragging Doors

Nothing can be more aggravating than a door that will not close properly, yet most of them can be repaired within only a few minutes. The problem with most doors is that they were never installed correctly, and, over time, they begin to hit either the door jamb or drag on the flooring or threshold.

Adjusting a door hingeThis “down and dirty” quick fix was given to me by a trim contractor about 30 years ago, and I have used it successfully many times. However, this method generally works on doors that are not severely dragging and are standard (not expensive) doors. If the door is dragging on the bottom, close the door and, standing on the exposed hinge side, gently tap the top hinge with a hammer. You want to bend it slightly away from the lock side of the door. If the door is sagging slightly and dragging on the top, tap the bottom hinge. Putting a slight bend in the hinge may cure the problem.

The standard repair is as follows:

Adjusting a dragging doorA door that drags near the top on the lock side of the jamb can frequently be repaired by removing (2) screws from the top hinge (remove the screw nearest the center of the wall, and replace them with 3” wood or drywall screws (the screw heads must be the same size as the ones removed). A cordless drill is the best tool for this project; however, the screw must be installed slowly and care must be taken to avoid breaking off its head or splitting the jamb. Watch for slight movement in the jamb as the screw is tightened.

Doors that drag the door jamb near the bottom can frequently be repaired by replacing two screws in the lower hinge. If this method fails to move the door sufficiently, check to see if the hinges are flush with the surface of the wood, both on the door and the jamb. It’s sometimes possible to use a wood chisel and remove a thin layer of wood on either the door or jamb or both; setting the hinge slightly deeper may allow the door to close.


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