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How To: Fix a Sagging Door

how to fix a sagging door

It’s never good news when something starts sagging and your doors are no exception. Don’t worry though, because learning how to fix a sagging door is simple and after 5 minutes of reading this post you’ll be ready for the task!

A sagging door is almost always due to a problem with the hinge screws and learning to diagnosis and fix it is something that anyone with the most basic DIY skills can tackle. In this post, I’ll walk you through the process as well as give you some troubleshooting ideas.

What kind of expensive and complex tools will you need for this project? You won’t have to invest heavily for this one. If you have a screwdriver you’re almost halfway there. If you want to use a drill or driver that will always make things easier, but it’s not necessary. Check out the tool list below:

Tools Needed:

  • Screwdriver
  • Toothpicks
  • Wood Glue

Phew, that was tough! Seriously that is all you’ll likely need. I’ll show you why and how below.

How to Fix a Sagging Door

When the hinge screws come loose any door will begin to sag. and it’s usually the top most hinge that comes loose because it carries the greatest load. Take a look at your hinges and see if they have come loose from the door or from the jamb.

The hinges should be securely fastened to both the door and the jamb and if they can move even a little then they are too loose and need to be tightened.

Step #1 Remove the Loose Screws

Place a block of wood, a book, a wadded up towel, or anything else you have handy like your spouse or complaining teenager under the latch side of the door to keep it sturdy while you remove any screws that have come loose. If the screws are stripped or stubborn then check out my post 4 Guaranteed Trick to Remove Stubborn Screws.

Step #2 Fill the Screw Holes

sagging door hinge
Insert toothpicks into screw hole

Fill those screw holes with a little wood glue (you don’t need a ton) and some toothpicks. Really you can use any small piece of wood that fits in the screw hole but a few toothpicks usually do the trick. Push the toothpicks all the way back and break off any pieces that stick out so they are flush with the surface of the wood.

Step #3 Reinstall the Screws

With the screw hole smaller than it was and the glue in there to help everything stay put, the screw will find a better grip to support your door. Tighten the screws down but don’t over-tighten them. Then close the door to give it a chance for the glue to dry and lock things into place. Make sure to wipe off any excess glue that squeezed out.

Other Options

There are a few things that may go wrong with this plan that you will want to consider. First, you may find a stripped screw in your hinges which would need to be replaced. There is no amount of glue and toothpicks that can resolve a stripped screw.

wood screw
Wood screw with tapered head

Another potential issue is that the wrong size or length screws were used before. If the screws aren’t long enough to really dig into the wood then it will continue to sag. Most hinges are install with #8 wood screws with a tapered head which should leave the head of the screw flush with the surface of the hinge when fully installed. If your screws recess greatly into the hinge or stand proud of the hinge surface then you may have the wrong size or type of screw.

Also, length is important. You need a screw that is long enough to support the weight of you door. 1 1/4″ is a good choice, but for a particularly heavy door a longer screw will provide more holding power.

There you have it. A simple cure for a sagging door that will only take you a few minutes. Just make sure you don’t run out of toothpicks for the next dinner party!

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5 thoughts on “How To: Fix a Sagging Door

  1. Well the above tips are perfectly fine but my father taught me a super quick tip when I was about 7 or 8. He was a golfer and he simply took a golf tee and tapped it tightly into the damaged screw holes and trimmed them off with a backsaw. Bingo. That could have be the beginning of my career as and architect and builder. I’m 72 now and still work at my career daily. Scaffolds, ladders and tool belts are my world.

  2. For added security against invasion, consider replacing at least one screw per hinge with a #8 x say 3″ long screw that would engage into the king stud of the door framing. The same concept applies for your latch plate screw.

  3. Yep – that’s how it’s done. I was taught this “trick” as a kid by my Dad (YEARS ago) and I’m amazed that others are blown away as to it’s simplicity and effectiveness.

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