I have an exterior door that won't close easily because the top 1/3 of the door hits/rubs against the door jamb. To close the door, I can either use my shoulder for a strong impact, or lift up on the door handle very hard, while pushing it closed hard.

I started with the obvious, all hinges are screwed in tight. The hinges themselves sit flush to the door, and are flush to, or slightly below, the door jamb itself.

Based on other posts here, I used a 3 foot level to check for plumb and level on the door jamb, and they are all spot on, which was surprising. The gap between the door jamb is a consistent 32 3/16" all the way from top to bottom, and the door itself is 32", or just shy.

I used the level on the door when it was as closed as can be before it hits the jamb, and it shows plumb on the level, which makes no sense.

When I force the door closed, the gap between door and frame by the top hinge is much larger than near the bottom hinge.

I took off the door trim and found it odd that the jamb is not secured to the studs on either side. I expected to see some screws and shims, but just gaps on both sides. I added some shims and longer screws to the deadbolt strike plate, so that the screws go into a stud instead of just the air.

I have read a few similar problems on here, but nothing seemed to match my situation. I feel like the door jamb must be moving, sagging, or something, but I see no movement/sag in the hinges, and everything stays level while moving the door. It's not particularly heavy, since it has a window in it.

Level against upper door

upper door, hinge side

upper door, latch side

upper door jamb, latch side, with level

Full size images

Am I missing something obvious?

  • 3
    Would try changing one or more hinge screws with longer ones(2 or 3 inch) first. Will make sure door jamb not moving away from wall frame. Lifting of door knob seems like something is loose.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 16:35
  • Thanks, that was my only thought as well. Do I need to shim between the door jamb and the stud? Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 22:39
  • 1
    Shims help in not pulling jamb closer to stud. @HoneyDo answer might be right also, Would remove top hinge and make sure both leafs are still flat.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 22:56
  • Changing the hinge screws seems to have resolved the issue. Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


When I force the door closed, the gap between door and frame by the top hinge is much larger than near the bottom hinge.

This indicates to me that the top hinge was sprung at some point. In other words, something may have been caught in the door on the upper hinge side while closing it.

Replace the top hinge and you should be okay.

Alternatively, you might be able to bend it back into shape by removing it and placing it in a vise in the closed position and tightening the vise until the hinge plates are flush together.

  • 2
    Also check that the screws for the top hinge don't stick out beyond the hinge plate. Incorrect screws can be tight and still get in the way
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 8:40
  • This is a good answer for initial troubleshooting but usually it is a wooden shim that split and fell.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 23:06

I took the top hinge off and put them in a vise, but it did not appear to be bent. I shimmed behind all 3 hinges and drove 3.5" screws into the studs. I also shimmed the other side of the door jamb and secured it to the studs with long screws. After doing all of this, the door opens and closes without interference.

  • 1
    Dammit I was answering basically this and saw you answered it. Most commonly if a door does this it is a jamb that was shimmed poorly and it has move a bit. It doesn't take much. Me thought when you said you slammed it is a wooden shim (use rubber for jambs) split and left that top vulnerable.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 23:05
  • Glad you solved it and thanks for coming back with your answer!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 13:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.