How to Fix a Door That Closes by Itself

A pesky door that won't shut is a common annoyance for home owners. A door that creaks open every time you think it's closed can grate on your nerves. A door that won't shut completely simply won't do. Completing the chore of correcting a door that swings open at the slightest breeze of wind is relatively easy and doesn't require a lot of tools.

Boston typical houses in historic center
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How to Fix a Door That Closes by Itself

Why Swings Happen

There are a few reasons why a door does not close or fit snugly in its frame. More than likely it's the hinges that can lose friction over time and are causing the door to swing open or not latch properly. If the door was installed incorrectly when the home was built it can cause it to swing wide open at inopportune times. Hinges that are loose might be the cause. If the door and frame are old, this can also make the door wobble open.

Tools You Need

Before you fix a door that is causing frustration in your home, you need to get the tools together. All you need is a hammer, a nail long enough to tap the hinge pin out of its housing and cardboard or some other shim material. You will be removing hinges and therefore you could have a heavy door hanging or completely off its hardware as you don't want to have to pause or go to another room to retrieve tools half-way through the project. And, of course, always use safety glasses.

How to Fix a Failing Door

Work your way from the top of the door to the bottom. Check to see if the hinges are aligned correctly before you take the hardware off the door completely. Take a hammer and long nail and tap the pin gently from the highest hinge. Adjust the hinge to have it align correctly and snugly with the door and frame. Return the pin to the hinge and tap it back in place. The swing of the door should be level and the door should latch to the doorknob plate in the frame. If the door continues to swing open, work down the line of hinges. You can use a shim such as a thin piece of cardboard to raise a hinge that won't properly align with the adjustment of its pin. Place the shim under the hinge and screw it back on the door and frame. This should bring your door to a level height and remove its free-swinging ways forever.