If you have a sagging exterior door, you may have noticed some (or all) of the following symptoms:
“Sticking,” which is difficulty opening, closing, or latching the door.
Gaps, leaks, and drafts around the edge of the entry door
The top or bottom of the door overlaps the door frame
What causes sagging doors?
A variety of factors contribute to changes and damages to exterior doors. Common causes of sagging doors include:
Wear and tear with age
Harsh climates, particularly humid weather
Settling house foundations
How to fix sagging doors:
Double check the hinges and screws.
Over time, screws loosen and allow the door to shift on the hinges, causing misalignment with the door jamb. If the screws are loose, simply use a screwdriver to tighten them and draw the door back into alignment.
Pro tip: Use a screwdriver rather than a drill for this DIY fix to avoid stripping the screws and causing further damage to your door.
Fill stripped screw holes and adjust the hinges.
The weight of your door causes screw holes to slowly widen with age, allowing the door to drop out of alignment and pull the hinges out of whack.
To repair stripped holes:
1. Slide something under the bottom of the door to bear the weight of the door when you remove the affected hinge screws. A stack of magazines or a thick book should do the trick.
Pro tip: If the screws are less than 2.5” long, then they aren’t long enough to reach the wall stud and effectively support the weight of the door, which probably caused the sagging door in the first place. Replace the original screws with longer screws (preferably at least 3”) to reinforce the hinges.
2. Use a wooden dowel slightly larger than the original screw holes and drill new holes the same size as the dowel.
Pro tip: Golf tees or a stack of toothpicks dipped in wood glue also work well in place of dowels.
3. Cut the dowel into multiple sections, dip them in carpenter’s glue, and insert them into each hole.
4. Allow the glue to dry for a couple of hours.
5. Pre-drill into the dowels to avoid splitting or stripping them when you insert the screws.
6.Drill the new screws into the filled holes and through the jamb and wall stud, but be careful not to over-tighten each screw or you’ll restrip the holes.
Pro tip: Work from the top down with this project, checking the alignment after each screw. You may find you only needed to adjust the topmost hinge to fix your sagging door.
Place Shims between the hinges and jamb.
Remove the affected hinge.
Trace the hinge on a thin sheet of wood, playing cards, or cardboard.
Cut out the traced portion of material.
Layer shims behind the hinge and jamb until the hinge and door are aligned.
Pro tip: Again, it’s best to start with the top hinge on this one. You may need to place shims behind multiple hinges, and you can add or remove layers as needed until the door is properly aligned.
Remember, there are several factors that can cause door sagging. From minor issues like loose hardware to more complex problems like improper installation and foundational issues. If none of the above projects fix your sagging door, you may have a more serious underlying issue. While there are more DIY solutions you can try, you might want to call a professional if you suspect foundational issues are the root cause of your sagging door.