Two closet doors in my house won't close all the way. When they are about 85% closed, it stops because the top of the door is rubbing up against the frames. It looks like I need to move the door down about 3-6 inches a half inch. The doors are hollow except for about a foot on the top and bottom.

I want to avoid having to take the door and hinges off and redoing the hinges. Is there anyway I can avoid that? A step by step would be very helpful, even if there is no way to do it without moving the hinges.

  • 1
    Is "3-6 inches" correct?
    – Niall C.
    Jul 31 '10 at 17:41
  • I don't know what I was thinking. Looking at it now, it's def. less than an inch. Jul 31 '10 at 19:37
  • You can't adjust the door with the screws that hold the rollers in? Usually they allow for free play. Aug 1 '10 at 0:42
  • Actually, what do you consider 'taking the hinges off?'. I saw a video in the years since this was originally asked where a handyman showed popping the pins, then twisting the hinge slightly 'til things lined back up again.
    – Joe
    Jan 6 '17 at 14:03

If you're having the same problem I had, and it's a case of rubbing but the door could be forced closed (so it's just slightly off), I just made a note of where it was rubbing with a bit of crayon (wipes off easily), then took a small hand plane to shave down that area slightly.

Unfortunately, I also made the mistake of passing off the plane to my house mate, who wasn't familiar with its use, and he ended up taking a chunk off of his bedroom door. I have no idea how he managed to do it. So, for using a plane -- you want long strokes, and try to shave the door off -- if it gets caught and starts splitting the grain, stop, move back further, and then lightly shave down past where you had the problem.

  • I'm trying this in a bit. Hope it goes well! Jul 31 '10 at 19:40
  • 4
    When you use a hand plane, plane IN from the side of the door toward the center. Avoid running off the other side - that has the potential to split out the grain and is probably what happened to @Joe's friend. Aug 1 '10 at 19:27

I can't believe 3-6 inches is correct. Maybe 3/16 of an inch? (even that is pushing it).

The easiest way to fix this is to take the door down and trim a bit off the top of the door. I'll usually just run the door through my table saw to trim it down, but a power planer would probably work better if you have one. Otherwise a hand planer will work too, but could take a while.

Be careful how much you trim off though. You say the door is hollow except for about a foot at the top and bottom, but if it's like most hollow core doors these days, it's probably more like an inch at the top and bottom.

  • Yeah. Definitely less than an inch. Jul 31 '10 at 19:39
  • +1. It might seem hard to take a door off its hinges but it's easier than it looks, so long as the hinges aren't painted in. Putting it back up can be a bit tricky, as you need to offer the door up to where the hinges used to be - I usually stand the bottom of the door on a couple of screwdrivers as wedges. Aug 1 '10 at 6:38
  • Also: be really careful with a power planer as you'll be going across end-grain when you come to the edges of the door. I did this a couple of weeks ago and set off a smoke alarm as the stile caught fire. Take the door outside if you can, and take it really gently. Aug 1 '10 at 6:40
  • 3
    @Jeremy - Most of the time you don't even need to actually take the hinges off. Usually you can get away with just taking the pins out of the hinges and pulling the door off. Aug 2 '10 at 12:13
  • Indeed, if you have hinges that have pins - not so common in my locale. Aug 2 '10 at 20:22

This might be a matter of tightening/loosening screws. Check out this post - http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/fixing-common-door-problems/:

The easiest adjustments you can make on a door is to tighten or loosen the hinge screws. On my closet door (shown above) I loosened the top hinge screws to increase the gap and tightened the bottom hinge screws to reduce the gap.

enter image description here


I would just trim. Then the hinges won't have to be moved. Don't try to trim just one side, but take an even amount off. After cutting, I usually use a belt sander to smooth the edge and knock the edge of the cuts. Tip - If the door is painted nice, or varnished, put some masking take on it for the saw to slide on.


Since you say Closet doors, it may be that the hinges are adjustable

enter image description here

If you see hinges like that, then the large screw at the end of the hinge is adjustable, clockwise to go out, anti-clockwise to go in.

Your doors may be chipboard and would not take kindly to plaining.

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