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How To Fix The Door That Won't Stay Open or Closed

How To Fix The Door That Won't Stay Open or Closed

Do you have difficulty keeping your door shut or open? If so, you’re not alone. Certain parts of a door need to be replaced every 8 to 10 years, so it's understandable that problems like this should occur. Luckily, it’s usually an easy fix - something you can do by yourself without having to call a professional.

In this article, we will show you what to do if your door won’t stay open or closed. 

With a little patience and trial and error, you should be able to get things working properly again in no time.

What tools do you need?

In addition to a few minutes of your time and some patience, there are a few tools you need to fix a door that won't stay open or close.

  • A screwdriver
  • A hammer
  • A drill
  • A chisel
  • A tape measure
  • A vice.

Of course, you may not need all these items. The particular tools you will need will depend on the level of repair you will be carrying out.

Steps for repairing the door that won’t stay open

This section contains actionable steps on how to fix a door that won't stay open.

1. Check the door hinges

The first thing to check is whether there is too much play (free movement) in the hinges. This can be caused by either a loose hinge pin or hinges that are bent or damaged. If the former is the case, then you will need to tighten them until there is no play when you move them in and out. If they are bent or damaged, then replacing them is your answer.

2. Check the misalignment of the door hinges

If the fix above doesn’t work, then chances are your hinges are not properly aligned.

This can be caused by incorrect installation, the house settling over time, or simply due to regular wear and tear. If the misalignment is minor, you can try to adjust the hinges by tightening them and making sure that all they are snug. If it's major, you may need to replace the hinges. 

Mortising your door hinges is another technique you could use to fix the problem.

3. Fix the hinge pin

If your door will not stay open, another thing you can check is the hinge pins. Over time, the pins can become loose. Or maybe they are full of grease or oil. Thankfully, you can fix this by removing the excess oil or grease. 

If the problem is looseness as a result of wear and tear, a workable solution is to bend the pin so there is no more play. Place the pin from one of the hinges in a vice. Tap it lightly and slowly with a hammer so that it bends ever so slightly. Replace the hinge pin. Repeat with the remaining hinge pins.

If this fails to do the trick, then move on to the next step.

4. Level all the hinges

Leveling the hinges might just be how to fix a door that will not stay open. To do this, insert a shim between the door frame and the hinge. Then, remove and replace the hinge screws, making sure each is tight and snug. Once all the hinges are in place and level, check to see if the door will stay open.

5. Use a chisel

If none of these fixes work, you may need to use a chisel. 

For this solution, you will need to remove the door from its frame, then remove the hinges. You can then either deepen the existing hinge area using the chisel, or you can create a new groove where you will insert the hinges. 

When rehanging, start with the top hinge, then the bottom hinge, and finally the middle hinge. This will help with the hinge alignment and solve your door problems.

Steps for repairing the door that won’t stay closed

Whether it’s a creaky old panel that swings open at the slightest provocation, or a brand new wood interior door that just doesn’t seem to fit right in its frame, a door that won’t stay closed is more than just an annoyance. Luckily, knowing how to balance a door and tweak a few parts can help you fix this issue.

1. Tighten the hinges

If your door is swinging open, the first thing you should do is check the hinges, which can loosen over time. This is an easy problem to fix—simply use a screwdriver to tighten the screws on the hinges.

2. Fix a door gap

A door gap is simply a gap between the door and the frame (latch area). To fix this issue, remove and relocate the hinges to the area where the gap is wider (top or bottom). You can also use a shim to make the needed adjustments.

3. Readjust the door frame

Another issue that can cause a door to swing open is a gap between the door and the frame. You can try to fix this by putting a piece of weatherstripping around the door. This will help to fill the gap and hopefully keep it closed.

4. Fix the strike plate problem

If that doesn’t work, check to see if the problem is with the strike plate (the latch hitting it too low or too high). You may be able to fix this problem by simply enlarging the hole behind the strike plate with your chisel. 

5. Remove the strike plate

If enlarging the hole does not do the trick, then you should think about removing the plate and adjusting it. If the strike plate is bent, you can try to bend it back into place. If all else fails, you can always replace the strike plate with a new one. Make sure it properly aligns with the latch.

6. Bending the hinge pin

If you are stuck fixing a door that won’t stay closed, then it may be time to take a good look at how the weight of the door is distributed. This particularly affects the top hinge due to improper installation. 

To fix this, you will need to remove the hinge pin (after shimming). Place this pin in the vice and use a hammer to lightly tap the hinge pin to bend it a tiny little bit. Put everything back in its place. Now you will have less play in the hinge and the door will no longer move on its own.


Hopefully, this guide has shown you how to fix a door that won’t stay closed, or open. 

Regardless of whether you have brand-new French doors or you are struggling with your interior pre-hung, with a little effort and a few minutes of your time, you should be able to sort out the problem easily.

However, if you think that your doors are due for a change, be sure to buy from a reliable doors manufacturer. At United Porte, we offer a wide range of products that are sure to meet your needs.

Explore here.

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