Misaligned doors look bad, but they’re also terrible for the construction of the building. The shifted weight causes the hinges to pull on the door frame, which leads to splintering wood, stripped screws, and scratched paint. The good news is that it’s not too difficult to repair it by yourself.
So, do you want to learn how to fix a misaligned door? Follow these instructions:
- Figure out where the source of the problem is.
- Check the location that the latch hits the strike plate.
- Tighten all of the hinges and the latch plate.
- If this doesn’t work, replace the hinges and drill new holes for each of them.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn what you’ll need for the job, details of replacing hinges and everything else, and what causes doors to become misaligned.
Supplies and Tools to Repair a Misaligned Door
Although you can sometimes get away with only tightening the screws, most misaligned doors need more work than that. You’ll likely have to replace the hinges and plates that secure the door to the door frame. These are the points that become loose, causing the door to appear misaligned.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need for the project:
- A drill to remove and replace screws that goes through all of the hinges and mounting hardware.
- New screws to replace any stripped ones that might’ve become loosened over time (3-inch screws are the best for mounting the hinge plate if you have enough room).
- (Optional) Loctite Threadlocker to secure the screws and prevent them from stripping or loosening.
- A hammer to pop out stubborn hinge pins.
- (Situational) New hinges plates, a door frame, or even a new door might be necessary if they’re warped or damaged beyond repair. You also might need to invest in new hinge pins as well.
Now that you have a list of all the supplies you need, you can get to work. Remember that you shouldn’t drill new holes unless you have exact measurements of where the foundational studs are located. Drilling into drywall won’t do anything to support your door.
When you’re ready to start fixing your misaligned door, proceed to the next section.
How Do You Fix a Door That’s Misaligned?
As mentioned in the introduction, you can fix some misaligned doors by simply tightening the screws. All you have to do is start with the mounting screw in the center of the hinge plate that connects that door to the door frame. You should see the door slowly move inward, realigning itself right away.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. If you get it to work, make sure you check the hinges once a week for a couple of months to ensure that they’re not loosening again. Otherwise, you’ll be able to replace everything and repair your door with the steps below.
- Start by checking where the latch hits the strike plate. The strike plate is the metal surface that the latch hits. They should make contact right in the center of the plate, so you know you have a problem if it’s too far above or below the middle.
- If it’s misaligned, remove all of the hinge pins with a hammer, set the door aside, and unscrew the hinge plates from the door frame. You’ll need the pins, hinges, and screws for reference later, so don’t throw them away. If any parts are damaged, you can use the part numbers and dimensions to get replacements at a local hardware store.
- Use a flashlight to check if the drill holes are stripped or splintered. If they’re too wide for the screws, you might need to either find a new location for the new screws or pick a size bigger so the threads can catch. Inspect each screw for signs of wear and tear as well.
- If you need to find new holes for the screws, then you’ll have to mark pilot holes with a marker. Use a power drill and the corresponding drill bit that fits your screws to drill the pilot hole where you marked it.
- Next, use a leveler to put the hinge plates against the wall. Make sure that they’re at the same height that they were on the door, so you don’t accidentally cause a new misalignment. The Johnson Level & Tool Leveler is perfect because it wraps around the corner, just like a hinge plate.
- Starting with the center plate, drill each hinge plate into the wall. Don’t start to mount the door until they’re all exactly where they need to be. Again, you can use Loctite to solidify each screw and secure it to the wood. Every plate should be level and even with the location that they were on the door.
- Before you mount the door, look to check if it’s warped at all. Places that are subject to extreme temperatures such as freezing or blazing hot weather can cause wood to expand. Doors and door frames may be the problem, in which case you should always do the repair jobs during the hot season when the wood is most expanded.
- Have a partner hold the door level with the hinges while you drill each screw into the door. Again, start with the center screw on the center hinge plate since it’s the one that holds most of the weight. As you complete each hinge plate’s screw set, hammer in the hinge pins to lock the hinge plate in place.
Once you’ve completed the final step, you’ll be all done with the process. If you don’t want to replace the door, hinges, and other parts, you can temporarily fix a misaligned door by using cardboard pieces to level it out. This suggestion will also allow you to find out where the misalignment is coming from.
If you’re still curious about causes, solutions, and other concerns, check out the FAQ.
What causes doors to become misaligned? There are usually three main causes of misaligned doors:
- Warping wood from fluctuating temperatures and high humidity
- Constant slamming and abrupt opening can loosen the hinges and screws
- Old door frames that become weakened will start to lean or become misaligned.
How long do house doors last? Most doors in a house last about 30 years before they have to be replaced. These numbers can vary depending on how often they’re used; the force applied for opening and closing, temperature, humidity, materials, installation techniques, and more.
How much does it cost to replace a misaligned door? If you do it yourself, the parts can cost as low as $50 for the parts (not including the door itself) or as high as $1,000 if you hire a professional. Keep in mind that materials, labor, and other factors can raise or lower the price drastically.
Misaligned doors are far more than a cosmetic issue. They can weaken the durability of the door frame and strip away the wood from the door itself. The good news is that you can fix this common issue in a matter of minutes if you have all of the right tools.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- Tightening the hinge screws and pins might be all you need to do.
- If you have to replace the hinge plates, check if the screw holes are stripped.
- Line the latch up with the strike plate to see if they’re misaligned.
- Doors last about 30 years, so it might be time for a new one.