ADJUSTING DOORS

Is your door dropped or sagging? Is your door catching at the top, side, or bottom of the door frame? Is it worse when the sun is shining or when it’s hot outside? You may need to readjust your door hinges. Proper door alignment not only allows the door to open and close smoothly but also prevents drafts and uneven wear and tear. You can realign your doors by adjusting the hinges. However, to determine how to adjust the hinges, you should first determine what is causing your door to be misaligned.

How Do I Check if My Door Is Out of Alignment?

  1. Are the corners on the door and frame aligned? You only need to check one of the corners to make sure the miter joints on the door and door frame are in line.
  2. Is the door level? Do this by placing a level on top of the door.
  3. Are the gaps between the door and frame consistent throughout?

What Type of Hinge Do I Have?

The next step is to identify what type of door hinge you have. There are three types of hinges used on uPVC doors:

  1. Flag hinges: Most modern uPVC doors are equipped with flag hinges that allow you to make height, lateral, and compression adjustments. Compression adjustments move the door closer to or away from the door jamb.
  2. T-hinges: These hinges only allow you to make height and lateral adjustments.
  3. Butt hinges: Usually a feature of older uPVC doors, these offer either lateral adjustment only or no adjustments at all. If you have a butt hinge and need to adjust the height, you may need to reinstall your door.

Three common types of uPVC hinges.
Three common types of uPVC hinges.

Be Careful Not to Void Your Warranty

Check the warranty agreement for your door installation before attempting to do your own adjustments. Some manufacturers may not cover self-adjustments and may charge for repair or replacement services.

How to Adjust uPVC Door Hinges

Tools You Will Need

  • Allen wrenches (hex keys)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Philips head screwdriver

Flag Hinge:

This hinge has three different adjustments.

  1. Height: The height adjuster on flag hinges is on the bottom and may or may not be covered by a plastic plug. You’ll need an Allen wrench for this. The typical size is 5 mm, although this can vary depending on the manufacturer.
  2. Lateral: The lateral adjuster can be hidden behind a plastic cover (the “flag”) or behind a small plug on the side farthest from the door frame. The plastic cover is usually held on by one or two Philips screws on the inside of the hinge—visible when you open the door. Remove the screws carefully to release the cover, and look for the Allen bolt on the side. Turning it clockwise will move the door towards the hinge, while turning it counterclockwise will move it away from the door hinge.
  3. Compression: The compression adjuster is located at the top of the hinge under a plastic plug. Carefully pop the plug out using a flat head screwdriver to reveal the Allen bolt underneath. Tightening this bolt brings the door closer to the door frame, creating a tighter seal.

If your door is too low or too high (consistently along the width of the door), then you probably only need to adjust the height.

If the handle side of your door is too close or too far away from the door frame (consistently along the length of the door), then you probably only need to adjust laterally.

If your door doesn’t close all the way, or you notice a draft even though the height and sides are adjusted properly, then you probably need to adjust the compression.

If your door has dropped and is tilted downward (i.e. the door isn’t level, and the gaps around the door are consistent all the way around), then you need to use all three adjusters. This is common as time goes—helped on by gravity, heat, and humidity. Usually, the door can be squared up again by adjusting the top hinge towards the frame and the bottom hinge away from the frame. The compression is also usually tightened to restore the seal lost through wear.

T-Hinge:

This hinge only has two types of adjustments.

  1. Compression: Adjusters on the top and bottom will move the door closer to or away from the door jamb, tightening or loosening the seal.
  2. Lateral: Like the flag hinge, the lateral adjuster is hidden behind a plastic cover that can be removed in a similar manner.

Butt Hinge:

Some butt hinges are non-adjustable, but there are some that can be adjusted laterally. If you look on the side, you will see a Philips head screw. But before you try to turn this screw, check to see if there is a small grub screw as this locks the hinge in place so the door won’t move. Not all butt hinges have a grub screw, but the door won’t move unless you loosen it.

I Adjusted the Hinges, but My Door Is Still Not Aligned

Note that it may take a few tries to properly adjust all the hinges. If you still cant get your door squared up after a few attempts, you may just need new hinges. Hinges are usually inexpensive and aren’t hard to replace. Most companies will do the replacement for you at a low cost. You should ring at least two companies to compare service prices.

If you’re going to replace the hinges yourself, you will find it’s a lot easier if you leave the door sash on the frame and replace one hinge at the time. This way, your hinges will all line up.

Also make sure the diameter of the screw is the appropriate size for the holes on the hinge. Otherwise, over time, your door sash will sag down, forcing you to adjust or replace them again in the future.

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