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How to rehang a door and realign hinges

Rehanging a door can be a daunting prospect if you’re never worked with one before.

With that said, there’s nothing quite as infuriating as a door that sticks.

Over time a door’s hinges and level can slacken, leading to sticking at the floor or at corners. Scuffs and scrapes are the typical result. Although some might suggest cutting down the door in general, we find this to be generally unnecessary. Most door issues like this can be fixed with a simple realignment of hinges.

With that said, the first step is to diagnose what part of the door is causing the issue. There are a few possibilities here. The three general problem areas for doors are the hinge screws, the strike plate (i.e. where the door latches), or frame warping.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Credit card or shim (hinge)
  • Pliers (hinge)
  • Wood chisel (hinge)
  • Carpenter’s glue (hinge)
  • Wood dowel (hinge)
  • Screwdriver matched to the screw type – typically Phillips (all)
  • Hammer (all)
  • Cordless drill with bits to speed installation along (all)
  • Pencil (all)
  • 2-inch or 2 ½ inch replacement screws – if replacing visible screws, we suggest using brass for a nicer finish (all)
  • Paint matching the color of the door (frame warping)

As always, we strongly recommend having all of your tools assembled at the start of a job. The expression measure twice and cut once applies to pre-work as well. Once you have everything we can get started.

Installation Guide – Hinge Issue

  1. Check the tightness of the hinge screws. Even a few quarter turns can pull the door square.
  2. Are the hinge screws loose? Most hinge screws are only 1-inch or so long. Consider replacing existing screws with 2-inch variations.
  • Note: If the screws turn freely then you’re dealing with a stripped hole. This can be partially remedied through installing 2-inch screws, but you can also use wood fill to re-prime the holes. You can also use plastic plug with a fresh thread, although these can sometimes not sit flush with the frame.
  1. If the above steps don’t work make sure to check the alignment of the central chamber that the door pin goes through. This cylindrical chamber can sometimes become seriously misaligned over time. If so, shim the space between the hinge and jamb with a credit card.
  2. Set your screwdriver at the end of the pin and carefully knock it out using your hammer.
  3. Use your pliers to re-align the hinge. The credit card or shim will act as a guide for a flush hang.
  4. Re-insert the pin and test the door for scrapping or scuffing.

Installation Guide – Strike Plate

  1. Check the screw tightness on the strike plate. If the plate is protruding it may be causing the door to catch.
  2. If the screws turn freely we suggest installing new 2-inch brass screws, as the strike plate will occasionally be visible when the door is open.
  3. Check the alignment of the strike plate with the latch. If the latch is slightly lower than the plate you can loosen the screws and use a screwdriver plus hammer to drop the plate slightly lower. Note that this tends to be a very incremental adjustment.
  4. If you need to move the strike plate further than (3) you’ll need to re-drill the holes. To do so we recommend filling the previous screw holes with either a wood fill or dowel (typically 1/8 of an inch) cut to fit.
  5. If the door is still sticking at the strike plate your final, and most labor-intensive option, is to remove the strike plate entirely.
  6. From here use a sharp wood chisel to chip out a layer of wood. Be careful here as if you go too deep the door will no longer be able to latch.
  7. Before reinstalling the strike plate make sure to sand down the chiseled surface. This is also a good moment to fill the existing screw holes as preventative maintenance.

Installation Guide – Frame Warping

  1. If you’re at your wits end then your last resort is to sand the door to create a flush fit.
  2. Uninstall the door from the hinges and set upright on a soft surface to avoid scratching – a sheet or towels will do fine.
  3. Use an electric sander to sand down the latch side only. Work in increments and check the fit regularly. Additionally, be aware of the door’s material. Hollow core doors in particular need to be managed carefully as the frame is generally made of MDF, which is more difficult to sand and can create a soft surface that’s difficult to repaint.
  4. Brush away any debris from sanding with a dry cloth.
  5. Repaint the sanded section to match the door’s color.

Tips, Tricks, and Conclusion

As you can tell, the first step to fixing something is correctly diagnosing the root problem. When it comes to anything with multiple components working together this preliminary diagnostic work is essential.

How to Install Wallpaper

How to Install Wallpaper

Installing wallpaper is a delicate task that can be tough for beginners to master. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks that make the whole process significantly easier. If wallpapering an entire room expect to spend between six to eight hours at work if working alone.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Roll of your preferred wallpaper
  • Pencil to mark seam lines
  • Measuring tape (optional, but helpful)
  • Level
  • Wall-sized primer
  • High-quality paint roller
  • Sandpaper holder
  • Plastic smoother or wallpaper brush
  • Exacto knife for trimming
  • Fresh paint nap
  • Clean paint tray
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paste

As always, we strongly recommend having all of your tools assembled at the start of a job. The expression measure twice and cut once applies to pre-work as well. Once you have everything ready we can get started.

Installation Guide

Installing Wallpaper can be a finickity experience, especially for beginners. The biggest aesthetic risks for a botched wallpaper job are lumpy spots or highly visible seams between sheets. A professional job should pretty much guarantee discrete seams and an even grade across the wall – keep this in mind if hiring a contractor rather than doing the work DIY.

As always, we suggest having everything ready-to-go before starting work. Lay out your paint nap, set up your work table, and get all of your tools on hand.

  1. Use your roll to mark seam estimates (i.e. plumb lines) on the wall, starting at the highest traffic doorway in the room then working either clockwise or counter clockwise depending on if you’re right or left-handed. To do so simply place the roll abutting your starting point and mark where the first panel ends with your pencil.
  2. Using your level check that the seam estimates from (1) are perfectly vertical at a right angle. This will guarantee that the wallpaper looks square from corner to corner. Move each plumb line a ¼ inch past where the matching panel will end. This allows for the wallpaper to stretch during the smoothing process, (11) and (12).
  3. Prepare each roll for each panel. To do so, count the number of plumb lines throughout the room. We recommend overlapping the ceiling and baseboard by about 1 inch, and overlapping corners by 1/8th of an inch. Note that windows will need panels custom fit based on size, location, and type of trim.
  4. Start by prepping the wall. Remove any fixtures that would interfere with creating a level rolling surface.
  5. Using your sandpaper holder, sand any obvious imperfections with 50 grit sandpaper then re-sand the surface with 200 grit sandpaper and wipe away any debris with a dry cloth. Make sure to brush away any particulate onto the paint nap when finished.
  6. Cover the whole wall with your wall sized primer. This will stop the wallpaper from bonding directly to the wall, which makes any future alterations or renovations challenging. Never apply wallpaper directly to drywall.
  7. Apply the paste to the wallpaper using a high-quality paint roller.
  8. “Book” the wallpaper by folding each end of the wallpaper towards the middle with the edges square.
  9. Let rest for 3-5 minutes for the paste to partially set.
  10. Unfold and apply the top half of the booked wallpaper to where panel one will be installed.
  11. Working quickly, smooth the wallpaper’s edges out with a damp sponge then repeat working from the centre to each edge. Unfold the next part of the booked wallpaper and repeat for the third fold.
  12. Finally, gently pull your smoother across every inch of the wallpaper to eliminate any stubborn wrinkles.  Repeat this process for each panel, and trim away any excess paper using an exacto knife.

Tips, Tricks, and Conclusion

There are a lot of things you can do to improve the wall paper hanging experience. This guide showcases how to work with unpasted wallpaper. If working with pre-pasted wallpaper we suggest adding a bit of the same type of paste to the water to aid in adhesion.

Possibly the most difficult part of the process is “booking” the wallpaper. This step is intended to destress the paper before application. If you skip the booking step there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with the wallpaper shrinking on the wall, leading to obvious seam misalignment. This is also part of the reason we add a ¼ inch to the length of each panel. It’s better to have a touch of overlap rather than a gap.

One other important note here: the pattern of the wallpaper matters. Geometric designs tend to have the easiest seams to hide. However, wallpaper with a central image rather than a repeating vertical design should be treated slightly differently. The central image should ideally be positioned directly across from the highest traffic point of entry. In addition, the final panel seam after completing an entire room will almost always be a touch janky. As such we highly recommend trying to hide the final wallpaper seam in a low visibility area, such as above the door jamb.

Finally, always make sure to be aware of what type of paste you’re working with. Common types of paste include wheat, clay, and starch. Check with the wallpaper’s installation instructions and make sure to use the recommended type of paste.

Photo credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock