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How to Fix a Misaligned Door

Posted by: Raj Kain

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Published On: Aug 09, 2023

A man pushing against a door with two hands to keep it closed

Doors are your home’s heartbeat: they set first impressions, they divide spaces, and, when misaligned, can drive you absolutely crazy.

If your door is knocking into its frame, scraping or making squeaking sounds when opened or closed, or its latch isn’t sliding snugly into the strike plate, you have likely found yourself with a misaligned door. So what can you do about it?

You’ve got a couple of options to resolve this issue, such as sanding the edge of the door or simply readjusting the latch. We’ll walk you through these in more detail in this blog and let you know when it’s time to consult a professional.

What to Know Before You Begin

Understanding your door’s anatomy will help you identify the problem.

Most of the time, when a door isn’t functioning properly or is tilted to one side, the hinges are the problem. This could be the result of loose screws due to normal wear and tear, rust, or the consistent use of your doors. Slamming can cause this, too.

If this is the case, you need to replace the faulty door hinges. Putting off repairs for too long could result in more strain on the latches and the rest of the door as well.

Get Your Tools Ready

Once you’ve determined the problem, it’s time to find a solution. Before starting, make sure you have the following tools and materials ready:

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill
  • Two-inch nails
  • Wood dowels
  • Wood Glue
  • Chisel
  • Sandpaper
  • Pencil

Ensuring you’re prepared makes it easier to fix your misaligned door.

Solution #1: Tighten Loose Hinge Screws

If you notice your door is scraping against the side of the door jamb or the floor, then the problem may lie in the door’s top hinge screws—the good news is that this can be fixed by tightening the hinge screws back into place.

Using your screwdriver, tighten the screws while holding the hinge to the door jamb before proceeding to tighten the screws connecting the hinge to your door.

A person tightening the screws on a door’s plate using a power tool

Solution #2: Replace the Screws

Old screws can only be tightened so much. Sometimes, they just need to be replaced if you’re looking to fix problems with your door hinges.

If your door is scraping at the top of the door frame, the solution is to remove the screw at the centre of the top hinge and replace it with a two-inch screw. Once installed, ensure all screws are tightened as they should be.

Solution #3: Check the Strike Plate

If the solutions above aren’t working, then the strike plate may be loose or protruding which can result in the plate scraping against your door latch. Make sure you’re measuring your door properly as you go about this work to ensure accuracy!

One way to fix this is by lifting the lock handle and lowering it to push the lock mechanism away from the strike plate. A protruding strike plate will constantly scrape against the latch, making it difficult to open or close your door.

You should also tighten the screws found on the strike plate using a screwdriver or cordless drill. However, if the screws are too loose to be tightened, replace them with two-inch types to ensure the door jamb is properly supported.

Solution #4: Move Your Strike Plates

If you’re still having problems with a misaligned door, the latch might not be aligned with the strike plate. Your strike plate could also be too high. While moving the door latch isn’t possible, the strike plate itself can be moved in increments.

First, loosen the screws. Next, place the screwdriver into the strike plate hole before using a hammer to hit the screwdriver, forcing the strike plate down.

If your strike plate needs to be moved further down, you have to remove it completely. However, one of the challenges here is that the existing holes might interfere with the new screw holes—make sure to fill in the old ones first.

Here are the steps to filling in the old screw holes:

  1. Remove the strike plate
  2. Cut off two pieces of the wooden dowel (one inch long per piece)
  3. Dab wood glue to each of the dowels and force them into the existing screw holes. Make sure they fill the holes completely
  4. Leave the glue to dry
  5. Relocate the strike plate to its new place

Solution #5: Set the Strike Plate Deeper Into the Door Jamb

Another way to go about preventing the strike plate from scraping against the door is by setting the strike plate deeper into the jamb.

First, remove the hardware entirely. Then, use the chisel to chip away wood from the inset but be careful because you don’t chip away too much. Next, replace the plate and test your door—it should function as normal if this was the issue.

 A person sanding a door by hand

Solution #6: Sand the Door Down

Sanding the door jambs can help fit your door into its frame.

Start by removing the door hinges. Then, using sandpaper (or an electric sander if you have one), sand down the latch side. Avoid sanding too much, as this could damage the door further and give you bigger problems than your door’s hinges.

Replace Your Old Doors With Burano

If your sagging door is still misaligned after trying the solutions above, then it’s time to replace it with a fully customizable, durable, and ENERGY STAR-certified entry door from Burano Doors—it’s an investment sure to pay dividends!

We have been the trusted provider of high-quality doors (and windows) for homeowners in Canada for over four decades. Our team is committed to helping you find a stylish and robust door that’s guaranteed to last for years.

Contact us today to learn more about our products.

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