How to Fix a Crooked Door Frame

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Is your door frame a little off? If you have a crooked door, and it doesn't hit the floor – at least not as it should – it might be the jamb that is causing it to slam. It isn't a serious undertaking if you need to fix a crooked door. Get out your tools and carve out a small chunk of time to get your door plumb within its frame.

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1. Check the Frame

Take a close look at the door frame when the door is closed. There should be a consistent gap between the top and down the latch side of the door that is approximately eighth of an inch. The weight of the door tends to push its bottom toward the hinge side. If this happens, the top will be uneven as well.

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A frame has to be level and plumb in order for the door to operate properly. When it isn't, you might be able to install longer screws into the door jambs to straighten and secure the frame and door. However, it is more likely that you will have to pull the frame and get down to the studs to get the door to close correctly.

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2. Remove the Door and Casing

To get to the frame, do the following:

  1. Close the door and tap the hinge pins loose with a hammer and a long, large nail. If the door locks, lock it so it doesn't fall while you work.
  2. Once the pins are visible by about an inch, pull them out.
  3. Unlock the door, then ease it off the hinges. If this proves difficult, slide a pry bar under the bottom of the door to help take the weight off the hinges, and slide the door away from the hardware.
  4. Clean off any paint or caulk where the casing meets the door jamb, then use a flat pry bar to gently remove the trim casing so you can access the rough opening.

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3. Tweak the Jambs

To actually fix the crooked door frame, you'll need to tweak the jambs. Here's how:

  1. Level the door jamb on the hinge side first, using a 2-foot bubble level.

  2. Use wood shims and insert them along the side jambs to keep them plumb as you work your way up from the floor to the top of each jamb.

  3. If you are installing a prehung door, make sure to remove the door from its frame so that it is easier to manipulate as you install the new side jambs and head jamb in the opening.

  4. Use a 2-foot level to straighten the head jamb in the door opening.

  5. Use wood shims to adjust the spacing as you move along the head jamb, making it evenly horizontal.

  6. Secure each of the door's side and head jambs in the opening with 3- to 4-inch- long screws to ensure that the entire door frame is attached to the studs around the opening.

  7. Insert the door into the frame, matching the door hinges with the hinges on the casing.

  8. Use wood shims under the door, if necessary, to keep it in place while aligning the hinges and other hardware.

  9. Install the pins in the hinges, then close and latch the door.

  10. Make sure there is an equidistant gap all the way around the frame and the door.

    If not, adjust the non-hinged side so that its opening is even along the frame.

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