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Repair Prehung Interior Doors

Do your prehung interior doors stick to the jamb, rub the floor, or just don’t lock anymore?

You’re not alone. This past weekend I fixed our bathroom door that was scraping the floor tile and rubbing the jamb. The door problem was most likely a consequence of our kids hanging heavy wet towels on the door handle.

No worries, though. There are  4 simple ways you can repair your prehung interior door and it won’t cost you a ton of money or take a load of time. This is a super straightforward weekend project.

How’s that for convenience?

Here’s the supply list

  • Drill with driver bits
  • Deck or wood screws (2 inches in length)
  • Golf tees
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Shoebox
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Doors that don’t work properly are like paper cuts, annoying as all heck. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to fix your prehung interior door that is sagging, rubbing, or doesn’t latch properly. This post is for Val, thanks for being a super awesome fan of HRT.

Alright, let’s get to it.


Prehung Interior Door Fix #1-Determine Where Your Door is Sticking & Tighten Hinge Screws

The first thing you need to do is determine where your door is rubbing the floor or jamb (the vertical pieces of wood that your door fits into).

There are six different scenarios:

  1. Your door rubs the floor below the jamb that houses the strike plate
  2. Your door rubs the floor below the jamb that houses the hinges
  3. Your door rubs the top of the jamb that houses the strike plate
  4. Your door rubs the bottom of the jamb  that houses the strike plate
  5. Your door rubs the top of the jamb that houses the hinges
  6. Your door rubs the bottom of the jamb that houses the hinges

Here are the same six scenarios with their SOLUTIONS GUIDE:

  1. Your door rubs the floor below the jamb that houses the strike plate (tighten top hinge or shim bottom hinge or both)
  2. Your door rubs the floor below the jamb that houses the hinges (tighten bottom hinge or shim top hinge or both)
  3. Your door rubs the top of the jamb that houses the strike plate (tighten top hinge or shim bottom hinge or both)
  4. Your door rubs the bottom of the jamb  that houses the strike plate (tighten bottom hinge or shim top hinge or both)
  5. Your door rubs the top of the jamb that houses the hinges (tighten bottom hinge or shim top hinge or both)
  6. Your door rubs the bottom of the jamb that houses the hinges (tighten top hinge or shim bottom hinge or both)

All the above solutions will bring your door back to plumb or completely vertical instead of tilted one way or the other.

The first action you can take is tightening hinge screws and this is easy-peasy. Use your drill or impact driver to snug all the screws on the hinge that’s loose. Start with the screws that fasten the hinge to the jamb then sink the screws that fasten the hinge to the door.

Prehung Interior Doors-Tighten existing screws

If during this process your screws just spin without getting tight then move onto Steps 2 & 3. See, that was easier than eating Cherry Garcia from the container.

Prehung Interior Door Fix #2-Use Longer & Wider Screws

Often times the screws that come with hinges are 3/4 inch in length. This makes no sense to me since doors are usually heavy (I’m being a bit sarcastic here) and get used a lot. Replace your small screws with 2 or 3-inch wood or deck screws. They can be found at all hardware stores and will provide the extra grip necessary to keep the hinges stationary and your prehung door plumb.

Prehung Interior Doors-Use longer & wider screws

Prehung Interior Door Fix #3-Add Golf Tees to Screw Holes

Employ the old golf tee trick for enlarged screw holes where the screw just spins like Dorothy Hamill. Add wood glue to the end of the golf tee that you’d stick in the ground. Slide it into the screw hole and tap it with a hammer. Then use your hammer or a utility knife to break off the tee so that it’s flush with the jamb or door.

Prehung Interior Doors-Add golf tees to screw holes

Voila! Now your 2-inch screws have something to bite when you tighten them with your drill. I’ve used this technique for years and it always works. Plus, it’s cheap πŸ™‚

Prehung Interior Door Fix #4-Shim the Hinges

Shimming the hinges simply means adding cardboard behind them. This is a bit more involved and you’ll need to be a detective much like Magnum PI or Columbo (by the way, which guy do you like best?  Magnum is super cool but Columbo had the better wit in my opinion). If you watch the video below I’ll explain how to do all the above tips plus help you determine how to use shims to stop your door from misbehaving.

In order to properly use shims, you need to first determine where your door is touching the jamb(s) or floor. You can use the Solution Guide from Step 1 to determine where to place the shims. For example, if your door rubs the floor next to the jamb that houses the strike plate you should put a shim behind the bottom hinge.

Where do you get shims for door hinges?

Shoe boxes (Thanks Zappos).

Take an old shoebox and cut out the bottom or cut the top into a 6 inch by 8-inch piece (unless your feet are super small like my grandma’s, she wore a size 4!!). Unscrew one side of your hinge and slip the cardboard behind it. Trace the outline of the hinge several times on the cardboard with a pencil. I always cut inside my trace marks to make the shim a little smaller. This helps hide the shim behind the hinge.

Prehung Interior Doors-Shim hinges

Use the least number of shims that it takes to make your door not rub the jamb or floor. Ideally, you still want the shimmed hinge to sit in the mortise. The mortise is the slot where the hinge sits inside the door or jamb. Without the mortise, your hinge will likely become loose over time.

What’s Next

At the beginning of this tutorial, you started with an irritating problem and now hopefully one of these 4 ways will help you fix your sticking prehung interior door.

Admittedly, there is one more solution and that is to trim the bottom of your door. But this is the last resort and for another post. Also, if your door opens or closes we have a great tutorial showing how to fix that.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.



Door Repairs

  1. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles says:

    I love your golf tee tip- that is brilliant! I’ve always jammed some toothpicks and glue into the hole, but your tip sounds much sturdier and less messy.

    1. Thanks Sheila, for whatever reason the golf tees have never let me down. Plus, you can pound on them with a hammer and they won’t break. This allows the tee to fill the old screw hole and provides a ton of extra grip for your screws. Hope you’re having a great day πŸ™‚

  2. Roeshel says:

    Great tips, Jeff! Pinning for future reference. Thank you!

    1. You’re always welcome Roeshel. Thank you for inspiring me every week!

  3. maude says:

    Thank you for posting this because doors can be a bit intimidating. My father is someone who can hang a door (not even a pre-hung one) to perfection in minutes. I think thats a great skill to have:)

    1. Wow, your father sounds like a guy I need to talk with about doors and other DIY stuff. Doors can be intimidating but with a little patience anyone can figure them out over time. But to be true pro like your dad it takes years. Thanks Maude for dropping in πŸ™‚

  4. JP says:

    Great tips. Shimmed the bottom hinge and door stopped scraping on tile on the striker plate side. While taking off the door, found it had 1/2″ screws! Replaced those before I shimmed and no more scraping!

    1. Sweet JP.

      I have no idea why hinges come with 1/2 inch screws. It’s probably all about saving a few cents. Great job!

  5. Trev says:

    My back door is scrapping floor and bottom of jamb (bottom right side of door). Screws are tight when I’m trying to tighten them,I’m a bit tentative to take the door off and sand some off as that will only solve floor scrape and not the jamb. Is this a hinge issue?

    1. Try shimming the bottom hinge with cardboard from a cereal box, if that doesn’t work let me know…we can figure it out.

      1. Mary says:

        My door was replaced it works fine I can’t figure out how to trim it properly it was a newer door put in an older house so you have the Sheetrock showing when trim is on like an edge of Sheetrock it’s inset somewhat

  6. Terese says:

    Hi Jeff, I have hung several prehung doors with much aggravation. I finally used a product called EZ-hang doors. It helped tremendously. I have 2 of my 3 doors installed, but although they do not rub anywhere, both doors have to be lifted slightly for the tongue to lock in the groove. Before I put trim up, any recommendations? The doors otherwise stay shut, so I’m about ready to give up on perfection. I just hung two bifold doors on tracks—sooo much easier. Thanks for your help. πŸ™‚

  7. Jessica says:

    I have to say you take the scary out of DIY, I work with skirting boards and it’s hard to show people that DIY isn’t intimidating and can be very easy, but you do a great job, I’ll be recommending your blog to our customers without a doubt!

  8. Kim G says:

    Thank you for this! It helped answer some questions without coming off as intimidating! I’m off to look at my trouble doors!

  9. jim says:

    my door was installed too low.

    Do they sell enlarged jam hardware so the door will click?

  10. Bill C. says:

    The interior doors in my home were purchased from a Big Box Store. They are 36″ wide, six panel pine prehung with the master bedroom bath door Giving me head aches! I installed three hooks on the bathroom side for PJ’s, tee shirts but not wet towels or heavy cloths. The door was installed nine years ago and has tilted towards the striker door latch several times. I have replaced all the short screws on both sides of the three hinges with 3″ deck screws. These screws were installed with glue and tooth picks. Also, I shimmed the door up to a level position for each repair by placing wood shims below the door from the door handle side. Each repair works for several months until I find the the door leaning again down under the hole plate on the door jam side which does not allow the door to latch shut.
    Any additional suggestions. Should I consider replacing the hinges at this time?

  11. Philip Swartzell says:

    Our doors that close and open by themselves do not have a middle hinge, only top and bottom hinges. Is the procedure the same?

  12. Cal says:

    In my case the door kept running into the bathroom mat so I removed it and cut off 1/4″ of the bottom. Be careful. If you cut off too much, your children and pets will mind your business.

  13. Yvette says:

    I have an older storm doir,I dont have the Z bar,Is it possible to hang it with just regular hinges?

  14. Elizabeth Plum says:

    I just installed a pre hung Held wen interior door. My first and hopefully my last. I can’t say it went perfectly but does look good. My problem is when I shut the door the locking mechanism is slightly off so it won’t engage unless I pull up on the door. Is there a simple fix for this. golf tee’s, cardboard a large hammer.

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