How to Fix a Misaligned Door

A misaligned door results in uneven gaps along the edges and often affects closing and latching. In some cases, a simple fix like tightening the hinges is enough. Other times, the misaligned door requires a more challenging repair like shimming the hinges. A misaligned door is sometimes a sign of foundation problems; this is particularly true if you have several misaligned doors and windows in the home. Consult a professional contractor if your door fixes don't work or if you suspect a foundation problem.

Step 1

Open and close the misaligned door to look for areas where it sticks or doesn't line up correctly. Look for gaps all around the edges of the door when it is closed. Place a level on the top edge of the door while it is open to see if it hangs level.

Step 2

Check where the latch on the door hits the strike plate on the frame. The Family Handyman suggests covering the strike plate with masking tape and smearing lipstick on the latch. When you close the door, the lipstick transfers to show if the latch is hitting the strike plate too high, too low or just right.

Step 3

Tighten the screws on the hinge plate that holds the door onto the frame. Tighten the top hinge to make the latch hit higher on the strike plate, or the bottom hinge to make it hit lower.

Step 4

Add cardboard shims between the hinges and the frame on either the top or the bottom, depending on whether you need to raise or lower the door. Cut a rectangle of thin cardboard, such as the back cover of a notebook, so it is slightly larger than the hinge where it connects with the frame.

Step 5

Unscrew the hinge from the frame side. Hold the cardboard up to the frame and swing the hinge back in place. Cut around the hinge, using a utility knife, so it matches the hinge exactly. Screw the hinge back into place with the cardboard between the hinge and the frame.

Step 6

Replace the door frame if it is warped and the hinge adjustments don't make a difference. Purchase a new door frame of the correct size. Remove the door from the frame, tear out old the old frame, and nail the new frame in place. Use shims to square the new frame before reattaching the door.


Shelley Frost

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.