Got a Sagging or Sticking Door? Here Are 8 Fixes to Try

by Team HomeServe
stainless door mortised hinge on a white door

Fixing a Sagging Door at a Glance:

  • Repair existing hinges
  • Remove spacers
  • Check if screws are stripped
  • Use anchor screw
  • Clean door hinges
  • Sand top of door
  • Sand door jamb
  • Replace hinges

It is extremely frustrating whenever you need to tug with all your might to open a door or find yourself slamming it closed because it won’t budge. Before you go looking to install a new one, consider whether the problem is just a sagging door. In that case, you can fix it yourself in under an hour.

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Got a saggy or sticking door? Follow this guide to troubleshoot the root of your problem and fix it.

What Causes a Sagging Door?

Simple wear and tear can lead to a sagging door over time, but other factors can contribute to the problem. If your children have been hanging or pulling on the doorknob, the door hinges may wear. A previous resident might have placed a spacer into one of the hinges to make the door close tightly in the past. This can cause the door to sag faster. Painting the door can make it fit differently into the frame as well, so if you’ve given the door several coats of paint over the years, this may have exacerbated the issue. Sometimes, something as simple as installing a new doorknob can put your door out of alignment.

Man remove the door  Twists self-tapping screw with a screwdriver  Stainless door hinges on a white door -------------------------------------------

How Do You Fix a Sagging Door?

Fixing a sagging or sticking door is pretty easy, and you shouldn’t need very many tools. You can complete this task in under an hour in most cases. Try these solutions to troubleshoot and fix the issue. Make sure to take care that your fingers and hand are not caught in any pinch points while you're working.

1. Try to Repair the Existing Hinges

Your door might be sagging because the top hinge has loosened. You may be able to just tighten the screws again and repair the door in a single step. Try this before you do anything else.

2. Check for Spacers and Remove Them

If you find a spacer, that could be the source of your problem. Remove the hinge by loosening the screws, then remove the spacer. Reinstall the hinge by screwing it back into place and check to see if the problem is fixed.

3. Determine If the Screws Are Stripped

If you notice that the screws aren’t gripping the frame when you turn them, they may be stripped. This problem is fixed by using longer screws. Most hinge screws are only an inch long, so getting longer screws will allow them to better grip into the frame when you tighten them.

4. Use an Anchor Screw

Sometimes, you can make the hinge pull closer to the door jamb by using a 3-inch-long screw in the center of the hinge and shorter screws for the other holes.

5. Clean Your Door Hinges

There may be an accumulation of paint on the back of your hinge. If you notice this, you can scrape off the paint until you are down to the original metal piece. This clears up some space that may be pushing the door out of alignment. Reinstall the hinge to see if this fixes the problem.

6. Try Sanding the Top of the Door

Remove the door from the frame before you attempt sanding the top edge. You can use an orbital sander to speed this process up. What you’ll notice is that there are marks on the area of the door where it is sticking, and this is where you should focus your effort. Rehang your door after you’ve sanded the top edge.

7. Try Sanding the Door Jamb

This is the same as sanding down the top of your door. Look for the area where there are noticeable marks caused by the friction of the door rubbing against the door jamb and sand the area down.

8. Replace the Hinges

The problem could be the hinges themselves. Older hinges may no longer be as tight as they could be when they’re installed. Replacing the three door hinges may solve the problem.

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What If the Door Still Sticks?

If none of these fixes works, determine whether the issue is due to your house settling or a problem with your foundation. While these tips will help you fix a sagging door, the real problem could be that you need to repair the door frame itself.

How Do You Lift a Door That Has Dropped?

A dropped door is similar to a sagging door, and some people may refer to them as the same thing. The primary difference is that the door is sagging so much that it becomes very difficult to close or open. You might find that you need to push or pull with a lot of power to get the door to move. Use the above tips to fix a dropped door. The only difference is that you might need to plane the top edge of the door. This means that instead of sanding it down, you may need to use a planing tool that removes more of the wood during the sanding process.