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Hanging a warped door

archyII's picture

Any advice on hanging a warped door.  I created a master suite in the attic of my 1931 bungalow and I am trying to use the the 5 doors that I found stored in the attic  when we bought the house.  Nice birch panel doors with a lot of character that match all of the other doors in the house.  I just started stripping the doors and noticed that one is warped or twisted (1/4" from one corner to the opposite corner).  I have not found any doors at the architectural salvage yard that match.  How do straighten the door or can I compensate for the warp when I hang it.

Thanks for any advice.


(post #90340, reply #1 of 10)

1/4" off plane isn't too bad. Out of any ten new panel doors, one of them will be warped that much. Say you hang the jamb plumb and the door plumb and the top hits the stop first. Then you pull another 1/8" to get the bolt on the lockset set in the striker plate. Now the bottom is only 1/8" away from the stop.

Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #90340, reply #2 of 10)

Worse (probably) condition doors than that have been hung.  Not a perfect door, not a perfect opening.  Getting the end result perfect is the fun part.  Much can be done back shimming hinges at the door or jamb to tweek the way it sits in the jamb.  I would keep the casing's off the jambs and keep those nails outta it's shims so you can even rock the jamb itself a bit and fit it to the way the door hangs.  Finish it up by applying the stops so it's close and works well.   It helps to know what works, but you can learn alot fine tuning that door.   Hell, new prehungs are seldom grade A perfect.  Best of luck and enjoy yourself.


Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


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Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


(post #90340, reply #3 of 10)

Crazy talk, I know, but could you bop the stop an 1/8th at the top and bottom, only if that other stuff don't suit ya?

The Village Woodworks, Inc

Chapel Hill, NC


We'll have a kid Or maybe we'll rent one He's got to be straight We don't want a bent one He'll drink his baby brew From a big brass cup Someday he may be president If things loosen up

(post #90340, reply #4 of 10)

It may well be that the door is wracked because of the position in which it was stored for years on end. If this is the case, it may be possible to restore it to a flat condition by arranging a setup in which you would support the two “low” corners while weighting the two “high” corners or a setup in which you would use clamps to persuade it back into a flat condition. This won’t be an overnight fix, so be patient if you attempt it. Once you think that the door is flat, I’d release it from the setup and then wait a week or so to see if the “chiropractic” adjustment holds or whether it returns to it’s previous state. I’ve used this approach a dozen times or so over the years with improperly stored doors and have had about an 80% success rate.

Knowledge is power, but only if applied in a timely fashion.

(post #90340, reply #5 of 10)

A technique that I have had some success with is to hang the door as if it were flat, and shim or block the slab in the opening to take the twist or warp out, and leave it over night or longer.

Some times this is impractical if the door is in a high traffic area. Then  I would clamp it to a flat surface and shim as GOLD has suggested.

Mr T

Do not try this at home!

I am a trained professional!

. .

(post #90340, reply #6 of 10)

Thanks for all of the info.  I will try clamping the door first and if it doesn't work I will just hang it and work from  there. If the inspector (my wife) notices an uneven reveal or gaps at the stop I'll tell her I'm matching the patina of the existing or that is the weird hinges she bought on the net ( its an animated file that takes alittle bit to load).  I make furniture as a hobby and a 1/4" seems like a lot. 

(post #90340, reply #7 of 10)

I can't say if this will work for sure , since the wood is so old, but if you lay it on the concrete so the belly of the bowed side is down ,the temperature from the coolside of the concrete might shrink the Long bowed side back to normal, while the air , being warmer will expand or leave the other side as it is. you should probably shield the stable half of the door from the concrete. Maybe try it in combination with the weight as was suggested. You will probably have to keep an eye on it. You get the idea. It is sort of the opposite of what happens to a 2 x 4 , when laying on the ground, in the hot sun.

Maybe you should strip the door first too it might be more reactive.

I have hung  doors with less of a bow . 1/4 seems like a lot, depending on where it is. 

if you have to live with the bow:

After you apply the hinges to the door top And bottom only! Shim it in your opening, so it looks as good as it can. then you can mark your top and bottom hinges. with a pencil on the Brass, so you can line it up with the edge of the door jamb again, where it sits now. This will show you , Where it should go. when you seperate your butt hinges.

Then seperate the leaves and mark your jamb. Place it so that the leaf only goes to the width that you marked. They will be different, top and bottom. width wise. Mortise them in, and re hang the door. Then you can add your third hinge to the jamb, in line, After it is hung.

The door stop can be pinned to match the shape of belly of the door. you won't be able to tell it is warped from the outside. 

"I was born in the country, razed in the city, I'm a natural born shaker from my hips to the ground" 

Edited 8/11/2002 11:54:04 PM ET by Edgar76b

Where there's A wheel there's a way, got any wheels?

(post #90340, reply #8 of 10)

Edgar, I didn't see where he mentioned a bow. He indicates a corner warped out. Your advice for this one could do as much harm as good.

The idsea of moving the stop to match the door shape is good tho'. I hadn't thought of that since I use solid jambs

Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #90340, reply #9 of 10)

Yeah piffin, Your a tough editor.  What I said, " I have hung  doors with less of a bow . 1/4 seems like a lot, depending on where it is." I made an assumption. When I think of bowed I meant it in an all encompassing sense. Even if it went plumb to the 72" mark and peeled back to a 1/4" out . That is still a bow to me.  I may have to agree with you though. I can see where it is confusing. A belly in the center is another problem. No matter what. Nothing will be Perfect and If you are trying for that forget it. You will have to live with something Out of wack.

I have hung a few bowed Antique doors Also I've Built in antique shutters, in Entertainment centers, The are usually tweeked a little.  With a warped corner, all you can really do is split the difference. Not even Pre-hung steel doors come thru perfect. I almost always have to tweek the latch jamb slightly out of plumb, to make it seal tight at the bottom. It is just the nature of the beast . It is not a Problem, untill you need to hang a storm door. That is why I usually buy a pre-hung door with out Brick mold. It is easier to prep, for the storm door.

I would say about 1/2 of the new Home/Entry doors that I have measured for storm doors, where perfectly plumb and level.

I even ordered a brand new Victorian storm door once. It came through bowed. I demanded another, and it too, was out by 3/16" I had to hang that one. I was already losing on my time. So I split the difference on my standards, and the door, and hung it. You really can't tell unless your looking for it. It works fine. & Its a long story.

Interesting point on that door too, I bought some Kerfed in insulated door stop moulding and lined the inside of that spanish cedar storm door. I took the weather strip out , and routed the doorstop with a thumbnail roundover detail and coped the top in. I re-installed the weather strip. It worked great too.

 It was an old folk victorian farm house with 20" raised panel jambs I used the Antique casing, which was borderline, and hung the door inside. Only problem was it was so tight the air between the doors does not escape fast enough , So I had to raise the sweep a little.  I blame it on the cheap hardware, I had to use too. A little prescision goes a long way. I couldn't find anything. In the right price range.

 It is nice in the winter. They can leave the door open and the sun shines in, on sunday Brunch. The seal is good.

 I used some of that Stainless steel pet screen too. The chickens, can knock themselves out on that stuff.

"I was born in the country, razed in the city, I'm a natural born shaker from my hips to the ground" 

Edited 8/13/2002 9:08:04 AM ET by Edgar76b

Where there's A wheel there's a way, got any wheels?

(post #90340, reply #10 of 10)

" Not even Pre-hung steel doors come thru perfect." I should Make the distinction that there can be a number of reasons for Prehung doors to be out , not Only a warpped slab.

"I was born in the country, razed in the city, I'm a natural born shaker from my hips to the ground" 

Where there's A wheel there's a way, got any wheels?