How to Shim a Door Hinge


The doors in your home are designed to operate within a securely installed jamb, but over time, even a correctly hung door can begin to sag from frequent use. This can cause the latch to become misaligned or the door to begin rubbing against the jamb. A simple carpenter’s trick can adjust the door hinges and restore the door’s smooth operation and fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood shims or small wood wedge
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Legal pad or stenographer’s notebook
  • Open the door so it is perpendicular with the door opening. Use wood shims or a wood wedge to hold the door edge in place.

  • Remove the screws from the bottom hinge leaf attached to the door jamb. If the door has three hinges, slightly loosen the jamb-side leaf screws of the middle hinge.

  • Cut a piece of cardboard from the back cover of a legal pad or stenographer’s notebook to 2 inches by 4 inches. Set the piece of cardboard against the bottom hinge on the door. Close the hinge leaf on the the cardboard, and trace the silhouette of the hinge leaf on the piece of cardboard.

  • Use a utility knife or scissors to cut out the shape of the hinge leaf from the cardboard piece marked in Step 3.

  • Press the cardboard hinge spacer into the bottom hinge mortise on the jamb, then close the hinge leaf over the cardboard spacer and reinstall the hinge screws into the jamb.

  • Remove the shims or wood wedge supporting the door positioned in Step 1 and close the door. Check the gap between the edge of the door and the jamb, ensuring the gap is equal and consistent around the perimeter of the door. Repeat Steps 2 through 5 if more adjustment is required for proper door operation and fit.

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