How to Install and Fix Door Hinges

Door hinges

Bob Cornelis/Getty Images

When you install a door, there are steps you can take to make sure you avoid common problems when installing the hinges. Here is a list of the major issues you can run into when installing a door and how to avoid them.

Door Is out of Plane

One of the most common problems that might affect your door installation process is caused by the hinge plates being out of alignment. When this happens, your door will not close tightly (for example, the top corner sticks out away from the jamb).

To solve this, check that your door jamb is on the same plane so the door can close properly. If not, try moving one of the jamb sides in the same direction that the door is sticking out.

Use a block of wood, placed against the outside, and slightly hammer the door jamb/frame in the right direction. Close the door and see if the problem is solved. You might also need to move the top of the door once you screw the larch side brackets by tapping slightly out on the top of the jamb. 

Door Is Uneven

There are two major issues that cause an uneven door: a door hinge out of plumb or the floor is not level. The first one is solved easily using a level and checking that it is plumb.

When the floor is not level, remove the door and place the door jambs off the floor. Leave a gap between the floor and the jamb to account for the floor imperfections.

You might need to cut or trim one side of the door jamb when removing an existing door. Place a level on the floor and level it. Measure the gap on the low side of the floor. This is the amount you need to cut off the high side of the door jamb.  

Loose Hinge Screw

There are occasions when you will find that the screw in a hinge is always loose. Normally that happens when the hole is too big for the screw you are trying to install or it has been stripped.

One easy solution is to use a longer screw so it reaches and screws into solid wood. This will only work when the screw fits into the hinge and is the same size as the one previously used.

Another solution you can try involves using a golf tee, toothpick or a matchstick. If you decide to use a golf tee, add wood glue to it, hammer it into the hole and then let it dry. Once the glue has dried, cut the tee so that it is flush with the wood.

Alternately, try using a toothpick or a matchstick and repeat the procedure. Now install your old screw. This lets the screw go in tightly.

Squeaky Hinges 

Using a nail, insert it beneath the hinge pins and push them halfway up. Now lubricate the hinges with oil and add some drops at the top of the raised pin. Open and close the door to verify that the oil gets all the way to the bottom part of the hinge pin. Remove excess oil.

Tip: Most oils can be used, even corn oil!