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How to Adjust Door Hinges

How to Adjust Door Hinges: A Step-by-Step Guide

Door hinges are mechanical devices that connect a door to its frame, allowing the door to swing open and close. They consist of two metal plates with interlocking knuckles that pivot, enabling the door to rotate smoothly on its axis.

However, over time, door hinges can become misaligned, causing issues such as sticking, creaking, or difficulty in opening and closing the door. Fortunately, adjusting door hinges is a relatively simple task that can be done with a few basic tools and a little patience.

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of adjusting door hinges to ensure smooth and trouble-free operation. Let us look at the different types of door hinges.

10 Types of Door Hinges

  1. Butt Hinges
  2. Strap Hinges or T-Hinges
  3. Flag Hinges
  4. Ball-bearing Hinges
  5. Pivot Hinges
  6. Concealed Hinges
  7. Barrel Hinges
  8. Overlay Hinges
  9. Offset Hinges
  10. Piano Hinges

Tools Required To Adjust Door Hinges

Before you begin adjusting the door hinges, gather the following tools:

  1. Screwdriver (usually Phillips or flat-head, depending on the type of screws used in your hinges)
  2. Allen Key
  3. Hammer
  4. Nails (Small ones)
  5. Wood Block or Wedge or Shims
  6. Pliers (optional, for stubborn screws)
  7. An extra helping hand (to lift the door - if required)

Having these tools handy will make the adjustment process easier and more efficient. Let us take a look at the steps in detail.

How to Adjust Hinges on a Door

Before making any adjustments, it's important to identify the specific issue with your door. Is it sticking at the top, bottom, or side? Does it creak when opening or closing? Understanding the problem will help you determine which hinges need adjustment. You will also have to identify the type of hinge on your door. It can be a butt hinge, a t-hinge, or a flag hinge.

Adjusting door hinges requires adjusting both - the hinge placement and the door alignment. Let us discuss both in detail.

Adjusting Hinge Placement

Before you begin adjusting the hinge placement, carefully observe the door. Determine if the door is rubbing against the frame, not closing properly, or sagging. Identifying the specific issue will help you understand which door hinge needs adjustment.

Step 1: Remove the Pin

Start by removing the pin that holds the hinges together. With the door open, place a wedge or a block of wood under the door to provide support. Locate the bottom of the hinge and tap the pin upward using a hammer and nails or screwdriver and an allen key. 

Step 2: Tighten Loose Screws

Inspect the hinges and check for loose screws, if any. Use a screwdriver and an allen key to tighten them, ensuring a secure connection between the screws holding the hinges and the door frame. Loose screws can contribute to misalignment and improper functioning of the door.

Step 3: Adjust the Hinge Placement

Now that the door is free from the hinge, you can proceed to adjust the hinge placement. Depending on the specific issue, you may need to adjust the hinges vertically, horizontally, or both. 

If the door is rubbing at the top or bottom, you need to adjust the hinges vertically. Whereas, if the door is rubbing against the frame on the side, a horizontal adjustment is required.

Loosen the screws on the hinge leaf attached to the door or the door frame on the side where the door needs to move. Use a wedge or a block of wood to create a gap between the door and the frame. Tap the hinge leaf towards the gap using a hammer until the door is properly aligned. Once the door moves in alignment, tighten the screws securely.

Step 4: Reinstall the Pin

After making the necessary adjustments, reinsert the pin back into the hinges. Align the holes in the hinge halves and gently tap the pin back into place using a hammer. Ensure the pin is fully inserted and that the hinge halves are securely joined.

Adjusting Door Alignment

Once you have addressed the hinge placement, assess the alignment of the door within the frame, and follow the below-mentioned steps.

Step 1: Inspect the Door and Frame

To adjust the door alignment, carefully examine the door and frame. Look for any visible gaps or areas where the door isn't sitting flush with the frame. This will help you determine the adjustments that are required.

Step 2: Adjust the Strike Plate

If the door doesn't latch properly, the strike plate may need adjustment. Loosen the adjustment screws securing the strike plate to the door frame. Move the strike plate slightly in the direction needed for proper alignment and tighten the screws back in place. 

Step 3: Shim the Hinges

If the door is not aligned properly, you can use shims to adjust its position. Remove the hinge pin from the top hinge and place a shim, such as a thin piece of cardboard or a wooden shim, between the top door hinge leaf and the door frame. Ensure to trim off the excess wood. This will lift the hinge side of the front door slightly. Reinsert the hinge pin and test the alignment. Repeat this process with the bottom hinge if necessary.

Once you have made the necessary adjustments to both the hinge placement and door alignment, the last step left is to test it. Open and close the door several times to ensure smooth operation and proper alignment. If any issues persist, you may need to revisit the adjustments and make further fine-tuning.

Identifying the Problem in Door Hinges 

Misaligned door hinges can lead to various issues that affect the functionality and appearance of a door. Here are some common signs to look out for when identifying misaligned door hinges:

  • Sticking or Binding

If you notice that the door sticks or binds when opening or closing, it is a clear indication of misaligned hinges. The door may require extra force to open or close, or it may get stuck at certain points.
  • Uneven Gaps

Check the gaps around the door when it's closed. Misaligned hinges can cause an uneven gap between the door and the frame. You may notice larger gaps at the top, bottom, or sides of the door.
  • Rubbing or Scuff Marks

If the hinges are misaligned, it can cause the door to rub against the frame or the floor, resulting in scuff marks or damage on the door or frame surface. Check for any visible signs of rubbing or scraping.
  • Difficulty Latching

When the hinges are misaligned, it can affect the door's ability to latch properly. You may find it challenging to engage the door latch or lock, or it may not align with the strike plate.
  • Squeaking or Creaking Sounds

Misaligned hinges can cause friction between the door and the frame, resulting in squeaking or creaking sounds when opening or closing the door.
  • Uneven Appearance 

Stand back and visually inspect the door from a distance. A misaligned door may appear a bit crooked or tilted, affecting the overall aesthetic appeal.

    By observing these signs and conducting a thorough inspection, you can identify misaligned door hinges and proceed with the necessary adjustments or repairs to ensure proper alignment and functionality of your external doors and internal doors again.


    Adjusting door hinges is a relatively simple and easy process. However, you may require an additional hand when lifting up the door higher. By following this step-by-step guide, you can effectively adjust the door hinge placement and align the door to ensure smooth operation.

    If you often face issues with your door or door hinges, the best solution would be to get your door changed. Invest in high-quality Internal Doors & External Doors from Emerald Doors’ to avoid such hassles.

    FAQs on How to Adjust Door Hinges

    • How do you adjust a door hinge to close a gap?

    To adjust a door hinge and close a gap, loosen the hinge screws slightly with a screwdriver and lower the hinge to align with the door properly. Tighten all the screws while ensuring the door remains properly aligned. Alternatively, you can insert thin cardboard shims behind the hinge leaf to push it out slightly and close the gap.
    • How do you adjust internal door hinges?

    To adjust internal door hinges, loosen all the screws on the hinge plate and adjust the hinge upwards, downwards, or sidewards to align with the door. Retighten the screws while ensuring that the alignment is still maintained.
    • Why are my door hinges not closing properly?

    Common causes for door hinges not closing properly include misaligned hinges, loose screws, a sagging door, a warped door, or a swollen door due to humidity. Inspect the hinges, tighten any loose screws, and adjust the hinges or door as needed to resolve the issue.
    • How do you fix a dropped door?

    To fix a dropped door, start by removing the door side hinge pins by tapping them upward with a hammer and nail and placing a cardboard shim behind it. Lift the door until it aligns properly, reinsert the hinge pins, and test the door's movement and if it is hanging correctly.

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    Author: Shabana kauser

    Shabana Kauser, the Director of Emerald Doors, brings over 20 years of invaluable expertise in the door industry. Her visionary leadership has steered the company to new heights, offering an extensive range of internal and external doors while prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction. The website's glowing reviews stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence. To learn more about Emerald Doors, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.