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Old 10-24-2008, 11:47 AM   #1
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


Hi All,

My wife and I just purchased our first home, built in 1960. I am having a hell of a time with the door to what will be our sons room.


I had taken the old door off when we first starting working on the room both to get the old carpet out and because it had a huge softball sized hole through the center. I never closed it and it is now at the dump so I have no way of checking how the old door was setup.

Here are some pictures so you can get a better idea of what my problem is. Basically as you can see in the pic, the latch side of the door on top has a gap of exactly half an inch. The hinge side of the door is flush with the jamb when closed. I took the casing off from around the inside and outside of the door thinking that I needed to move the top of the frame on the hinge side closer to the studs. My problem is the door frame seems to be flush down the entire length of the hinge side. On the latch side there is very little distance between the jamb and the stud (maybe a 1/4" to 1/8" as you move down the jamb from top to bottom).

So now comes the question. How do you square up a door that doesn't have any real wiggle room between the studs?!

Any help is greatly appreciated!


http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/g...ichek/Door.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/g.../Hingeside.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/g.../Latchside.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/g...richek/Top.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/g...hek/Bottom.jpg

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Old 10-24-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


it looks to me as the house has settled on the hinge side. perhaps you could try to use moulding to square off the top and shave the bottom level.....

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Old 10-24-2008, 12:57 PM   #3
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


You can cut the bottom of the jamb off to lower the high side. That may leave you a bit out of level, though depending on the opening itself. You can also take out the jack stud (2"x4") on one side and replace it with a 1"x4" to gain some room.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:20 PM   #4
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta View Post
You can cut the bottom of the jamb off to lower the high side.
This may leave the door in need of a trim ... Try the other way - trim back an inch of drywall (inside the line of finish molding) and run a sawzall up the back of the hinge side jamb to cut through any nails holding it in place. With a flat bar, pry up from the base 'til the head jamb lines up with the door then reattach the jamb to the stud (use shims).

You'll get a little extra adjustment out of it by driving another shim behind the jamb at the bottom hinge.
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:22 PM   #5
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


put a level on top of the jam and see which way it is out the adjust the jam to make the top level put a level on the jam side if it is plum nail door on jam side if the opening isn't big enough to make the adjustments take out one or both of the cripple a cipple is a stud that is not as long as the other studs in the wall so a door opening has 2 cripples and a header hope this helps regards Rob you email me if you need more help vic2359@aol.com
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:56 PM   #6
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


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put a level on top of the jam and see which way it is out the adjust the jam to make the top level put a level on the jam side if it is plum nail door on jam side if the opening isn't big enough to make the adjustments take out one or both of the cripple a cipple is a stud that is not as long as the other studs in the wall so a door opening has 2 cripples and a header hope this helps regards Rob you email me if you need more help vic2359@aol.com
Hi Rob,

Please bear in mind that this is a DIY site. Thus, it is best to assume that carpentry lingo, i.e. - "Cripples" and "headers", what they are, is not always clearly understood. Diagrams, and more explanation, or laymen's terms may be required.

Thank you for you input.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:20 PM   #7
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Hi Rob,

Please bear in mind that this is a DIY site. Thus, it is best to assume that carpentry lingo, i.e. - "Cripples" and "headers", what they are, is not always clearly understood. Diagrams, and more explanation, or laymen's terms may be required.

Thank you for you input.
sorry I did try to explain what a cripple is there are some terms I don't know like king stud what is that? I'm just trying to be helpful regards Rob
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:15 AM   #8
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if there is no room to square the door up your only option with out any major fix would be to trim the bottom of the latch side jamb and lower it closer to the floor. BOB
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:37 AM   #9
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


I suggest that you check the joists on the floor and see if there is a sagging issue. Settling is one thing but sagging joists is another. Settling generally won't cause as much of a problem as I see in these pictures. My house was built in the 40's and all my doors closed just fine.

This is more likely if there are other doors that don't close correctly or have been shaved to make them fit again. You can tell if other doors have gaps on one corner and are a tight fit in the other corner.

In the 60's there was a massive building boom that went on for a decade to make room for the baby boomers and construction was marginal at best. I have worked on many homes built in the 60's and the workmanship was pretty dismal. The most common is 2x6 joists spanning 11-12 feet. The minimum is 2x8 for this kind of load. Even with the better wood they used in the 60's a 2x6 just doesn't have enough width to give it the mechanical advantage to keep from sagging. Slowly over time the fibers pull away at the bottom and this puts doors out of line and pops sheet rock.

From my estimate you have about a 2" deflection in 6-8 feet and this is not a settling issue.

You could probably get a door in there but if the house is sagging then it is just a patch job.

If you have access to the underside of the floor either through a crawl space or from the basement then put a long level on the joists and see if it is straight.

Of course I am assuming that your door that you put in is square. Put a square on the door to make sure that is the case. Also put a square on the jamb to see if it is really that far off. If your door is not square then ignore all the above and find a door that is square.
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Last edited by Marvin Gardens; 11-01-2008 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:06 AM   #10
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Who installed the door panel?? being the original one was disposed of. I appears to me the door blank was cut wrong. put a square on all corners of the door and see if there are square. It is not uncommon nail the hinge side jamb tight to the wall stud and jack, providing they are straight and plumb.
There might be some settling but from your pictures there is no evidence of drywall cracking at the top casing,s.
Which makes me believe the door slab was cut wrong to fix the problem you are having. BOB.
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:55 AM   #11
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Have you put a level on the floor/jambs to see if either is level? At least for a starting point you'd know what you're dealing with. And you could measure diagonally from corner to corner to see how far out it is when you are adjusting. But the suggestion of using a sawzall to set the jamb free is a good one, and then perhaps, you can use thin shims to get it as close to right as possible. But taking the whole jamb/door out and then replacing the inside 2X4's with 5/4 lumber would be a better way to go. That should give you the wiggle room needed to properly shim and align the door.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:00 AM   #12
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


cutting,shimming etc that door will NOT fix the problem. Based on those pics, gut under that floor and fix what has dropped. That is settlement. Marvin has it right. Check other place around that corner you will probably find everything pitches into that corner
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:47 AM   #13
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


I'd agree that it's likely that something has shifted, but the OP didn't tell us whether it was a 1st or 2nd floor door, or whether it's in a hallway with other doors that are equally out of whack. I still say check the floor with a level for indicator that the floor has somehow shifted or perhaps it was built out of whack. My side job is inspecting homes for Wood Destroying Insects and providing banks/buyers with reports... I've seen thousands of houses over the years, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen a hack job where an amateur has cut a hole in a wall and installed a door that was out of square.

If it's on the first floor, and the area is clear under the joists supporting the wall in which the door is mounted, you could possibly use an adjustable column to joist to nudge it up. Usually, I'd use a 4X4 spread across say three joists, and maybe all you need is 1/4"... but maybe more.
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:42 AM   #14
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Looking for help squaring up a door.


with all these responses, the OP does not come back with any answers to our questions. What I don't understand is the op stated that he took the original door off to remove the carpet, and then he brought the door to the dump. so where did this door slab come from???. was it from another door,or was it found laying around. or did he buy a slab and installed it him self.
as far as the floor settling , why is there not any cracks in the drywall up at the header???. which would be a sign that the floor had dropped. or there was some settlement going on. BOB
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:01 AM   #15
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my thoughts as well. seems to me someone had repaired the broken drywall at some point in time, but not the sagging floor/jamb, or it most certainly would have shown damage.

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