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How to Align an Exterior Door?

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Having trouble closing your exterior door?

While it might be great to get a little extra upper body exercise every time you close your door, a misaligned door is actually an undesirable quality in a house.

It wastes energy, it can allow intruders easier access to your home, and a door that is out of alignment can cause undue wear and tear on door hardware and trim pieces.

Luckily, if you need to align an exterior door – you don’t have to hire a soul. Just pay attention to these easy-to-follow steps and you can do it yourself in no time.

How to Align Exterior Doors in 6 Simple Steps

The first thing you want to do before you align an exterior door, or begin any DIY project for that matter, is have your tools on hand for easy access.

Things you will need:

  • A level
  • Thin layers of scrap plywood or cardboard
  • Screwdriver

Step 1: Sit tight and watch the gap
If you just moved to a newly constructed home, and it isn’t the dead of winter or the heat of summer, when you use your HVAC system regularly, you may just want to sit tight and see what happens.

For the first six months to a year of a new home’s life, it goes through a “settling” process. This can cause doors to “settle” back into their proper positions. That being said, if you do want to realign exterior doors before the “settling” period has ended, just know that you might have to do it again, over the course of the first year or two.

Step 2: Tighten the hinges

The simplest way to realign an exterior door can be to tighten the hinges. Sometimes, a simple thing like a loose hinge can cause a door to shift out of place. Start there.

If the hinges are all tight and you can still see the gap, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Level and assess

Using your level, check the level of the floor, the door jamb, and the door to see where it’s out of alignment and get an idea of where adjustments need to be made.

Usually the door is misaligned with the door frame.

Step 4: Shim
Use your cardboard or thin plywood pieces to shim the hinges until the door is properly aligned.

Now you can take a measurement of the angle to which the hinge is skewed. Use your screwdriver to remove the door from its hinges.

Step 5: Create custom shims
Now that you know the proper angle for the hinge, trace the bottom hinge shape on the shim material and punch holes into the shims where the hinge screws will go.

Step 6: Reattach the door
Place the custom shims underneath where the hinges will go and reattach the door. Check your work. You may need to re-measure and continue adding material on the sides of the hinges that are out of whack until the exterior door is realigned properly.

Realigning an exterior door just takes a little time and patience. Now that your exterior door is realigned, you’ll have to look for a new upper body workout. Perhaps a new DIY project?

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Call us at 1.877.579.1994 or click here to price your project. Come and see us for a Dan Good Deal at 199 Victoria Street South, Kitchener, ON N2G 2C1.