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How to adjust French doors

Updated April 17, 2017

French doors add an element of style to a room that single doors do not, but they are also prone to sticking and rubbing. Over time, as the wood in the doors expands or contracts or as the house settles around the door jambs, it can cause your French doors to fail to close properly. Fortunately, with the right tools and in a few steps, they can be readjusted.

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  1. Examine the doors to assess where they are failing to close properly. Open and close each door individually to see if they are rubbing along the top of the door or the door jambs, then open and close each door together to determine if they are rubbing in the centre where the two doors meet. Where the problem is occurring will determine your course of action.

  2. Check to see that the screws are tightly in place if the door is sticking along the top or if the two doors are sticking together. If the screws have been tightened and the problem persists, remove the current screws in the top hinge and replace with longer screws on both doors. Screws that are 6.2 cm (2 1/2 inches) should fix the rub since longer screws will pull the door close toward the door jamb and away from the top and centre where it is sticking.

  3. Remove and insert longer screws in the bottom or middle hinges if the door is sticking on the ground, as screws in these areas will pull the door up and away from the floor.

  4. Rub away the areas that stick using a sand block if they are minor and along the top or outside edge where the two doors meet while the doors are in place. If the doors need to be sanded down slightly along the door jamb, remove the doors from the hinges using the screwdriver and lay flat on the floor. Sand the area and put the door back into place when finished.

  5. Shave away the wood in thin strips along the areas that rub using the hand planer. This can be done with the doors in place if the spot that sticks can be reached. If not, remove the door from the hinge and lay flat on the floor before using the planer. Keep the planer parallel to the ground and remove the desired amount of wood. Replace the door and open and close the doors to assess if more wood needs to be removed with the planer or sanding block.

  6. Tip

    The paint on the door may need to be retouched after sanding.

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Things You'll Need

  • Leveller
  • Screws, 6.2 cm (2 1/2 inches)
  • Screwdriver
  • Sanding block
  • Hand planer

About the Author

Gail Logan is a magazine editor and freelance writer based in Atlanta, AL. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Patrick Henry College. For the past four years, she has written home design, travel and food features for national magazines, including "Coastal Living," "Texas Home and Living," "Log Home Design," and "Country's Best Log Homes." When not writing, she mentors inner-city children.

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