You care about your home. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® cares about homeownership. To help you become the best, most responsible homeowner you aspire to be, we want to provide you with free information and tools you can use to make smart and timely decisions about your home.
From time to time, we may reach out to you to help us support legislation and/or policies that may have an impact on you, the homeowner. You can choose to join our cause. Or you can choose not to. Regardless, your privacy is safe with us.
We'll never share or sell your email address or other personal information you may provide us in the course of using the site with anyone without your explicit consent.
Give a great gift this Christmas by devoting some time and energy to fixing up the house of a friend or family member who could use your helping hand. It won’t cost much — in fact, it’s way cheaper than five golden rings.
When the screws holding a hinge to a door frame come loose, the door won't close properly anymore. Fortunately, it's an easy fix. Image: HouseLogic/iStockphoto
Everybody’s got a balky door or two — ones that stick, won’t close properly, or have hinges that sound like fighting cats. Here’s some basic maintenance tips on how to get everything working smoothly — and quietly.
Loose hinges (and door won’t shut)
When a hinge gets loose, it’s because the screws holding the hinge to the door frame have come loose. When that happens, the door won’t sit in its frame nice and square, and it won’t close properly.
Screws come loose because constant opening and closing the door puts pressure on the screws, and eventually the threads wear away the wood holding them in place.
One way to fix things is to use larger, longer screws. A better way is to repair the screw holes by filling them. To repair:
1. Remove the screws.
2. Take wooden match sticks or golf tees, coat the tips (not the match head — the other end!) with white glue, and jam them into the screw holes.
3. Let everything dry for a couple of hours.
4. When dry, snap off the matchsticks or tees so they’re flush with the surrounding wood. To get a clean break, score them with a utility knife first.
5. Drill small pilot holes in each of the fillers, and screw the hinge back in place.
You can oil a noisy hinge using WD-40 or light-grade machine oil, but that fix is only temporary. Usually, hinges make noise because they’re dirty. To fix, remove the hinge pin and clean it.
1. Put the tip of a narrow-blade screwdriver against the bottom of the pin, and lightly tap on the screwdriver with a hammer until the pin pops out.
If you’re working on a door that only has two hinges, support the door and keep it from sagging (and putting pressure on the remaining hinge) by putting a magazine or two under the bottom of the door to help hold it up.
2. Once out, clean the pin with oil and a soft rag.
3. Give the pin a fresh coat of oil or lithium grease and replace it, using your hammer to gently tap it back into place.
Got an idea for helping out a neighbor or family member with home improvement and maintenance chores?
has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.