My old 3-unit condo has a nice old wooden entry door, with 3 horizontal rails and 2 vertical stiles, with a single large pane of beveled glass as the top panel. The door is very similar to the one shown below.

similar door

Over time, this door has become racked, i.e. not square; the latch side is sagging below the hinge side. At one point, it appears that someone shortened the door, attached a triangular filler strip at the top and re-hung the door to get it to fit in the still-square doorframe.

It appears the sagging has not stopped, as the bottom of the door is beginning to scrape the threshold, and I've snugged all the hinges. The stiles and rails seem to have a little play in their joints, i'm pretty sure this is where the sagging is coming from.

How can I re-square this door, or at least stop the racking from getting any worse?

I don't want to mount a big ugly turnbuckle on the door--the reason for keeping the old door is primarily aesthetic, rather than cost-related.

  • I've taken the sag out of exterior doors by cutting in wood splines on the top and bottom edges. If you want to go this route, I'd be happy to detail it in an answer.
    – mike
    Oct 9, 2013 at 21:25
  • @mike not sure what you're referring to, so maybe posting an answer would be helpful
    – mac
    Oct 10, 2013 at 16:55
  • sorry for the delay. I've cut a long, 1/2" wide, 2" deep groove in the top of the door. The groove is the full width of the door. Then ripped a 1/2" by 2" strip of wood (the spline) to fit in the groove, gluing it in place with a gap filling marine/exterior glue.
    – mike
    Oct 12, 2013 at 2:56
  • @mike Looks like an answer to me. Oct 25, 2013 at 14:16
  • @ChrisCudmore - Since I was late in replying, I was waiting to see if the OP was still working on this project.
    – mike
    Oct 26, 2013 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


The quick fix is to install a diagonal cable/turnbuckle assembly from the swinging lower corner (where the vertical lock stile meets the lower cross-rail) up to the opposite corner (where the hinge stile meets the top cross-rail) and tighten the turnbuckle until the door is more square.

The other fix it to rebuild the door and tighten, glue up and clamp all of the stile to rail joints.

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