This project is continued from How to Fix Sagging French Doors – Part 3.
Having cut the mortises for the new Hager BB1279 ball bearing door hinges, I’m ready to attach the new hinges to the door. A long aluminum channel that doubles as a rip fence to cut plywood with my circular saw is used to align the hinges.
Install the New Hinges
Before you continue, take a moment and double check the hinge is properly oriented with the door. It helps to tilt your head sideways and imagine opening and closing the door while moving the hinge. If you’re not careful, you can install the hinge backward or upside down and the door won’t close.
The new hinges are installed by first attaching each hinge to the door using only one (1) screw in the corner of the hinge. This allows the hinge to pivot slightly around the screw. I was able to use a existing hole from the old hinge for this purpose.
The aluminum channel is held against the back of the hinges. The hinges are tapped gently to align the back of the hinge with the channel so that all hinges are straight and true with the channel. Is is critical for the hinges to be in perfect alignment or the door will bind on the hinges.
Here I’ve set two screws in the door hinge to fix the door hinge in place to keep the alignment. A sharp nail with a symmetrical point is used to center punch the screw holes. I could have used a center punch tool instead of a nail, but the nail was plenty accurate for this purpose.
Center punches to accurately drill pilot holes for the new hinge screws.
Pilot holes are drilled using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the threads of the screw to avoid splitting the door frame when the screws are attached. Take care drill a hole that’s straight and not canted to one side. Use a drill bit long enough such that you don’t contact the hinge with the drill chuck and mar the finish. If you don’t trust yourself, remove the hinge before drilling the pilot holes.
Install the hinge screws after drilling pilot holes. Go slowly and stop when the screw if seated in the hinge leaf. Do not over tighten the screws or you will tear out the wood and the screw will not hold. Repeat for the remaining door hinges.
Hinge fastened to the door.
How to Rehang the Door
This part is a little tricky and requires attention to detail.
- Stand the door up in the closed position in the door way.
- Support the door on small blocks or wedges to align the hinge leaves with the mortises in the door jamb.
Always keep two hands on door such that it can’t fall – a helper is essential.
- Check that the hinge leaves fit snugly in the door jamb – a flashlight helps to see inside the crack.
- Check the door latch and dead bolt operates without binding.
- Verify the door is plumb with a carpenter’s level.
- Mark the hinge positions on the door jamb with a pencil.
If the hinges aren’t seated properly in the mortise, use the wood chisel to make small adjustments. Since I was only refitting the hinges, the mortises were fine.
- Open the door 90 degrees such that the hinge leaves are flat.
- Support the door on small blocks and wedges. Make small adjustments to align the hinges in the mortise and with your marks on the door jamb.
- Mark, center punch and drill one (1) pilot hole only for the upper most screw in the top door hinge.
- Insert one (1) #12 x 3 inch brass wood screw into the hole just drilled in the top hinge.
- Mark, drill and install one 3 inch wood screw in the middle and bottom hinges, checking the alignment with your marks on the door jamb.
- While supporting the door, remove the blocks and wedges.
- Gently close the door to check for fit and alignment. Operate the door latch and deadbolt.
- Is everything good? Great! Gently open the door, support it with blocks / wedges, and install the remaining 3″ wood screws.
- If the door isn’t perfectly aligned, figure out what adjustment(s) are needed. You might possibly need to adjust the hinge position in the door jamb – which is why only one screw was fastened in each hinge, place a shim between the door jamb and bottom hinge leaf, or deepen the mortise for the top hinge. Take your time and study the problem.
This is the newly installed top door hinge. (BTW – That small chip in the door edge wasn’t my doing.)
This is the new hinge and rehung door.
No More Sagging Patio Door
The new Hager BB1279 ball bearing hinges can be seen on the left in the photo below. The French door is now true and no longer sags.
The difference a ball bearing door hinge makes is amazing! The door glides smoothly and opens effortlessly like the door on German luxury sedan. It’s too easy now to slam the door and I have to remind the kids to watch it.
Notice the black weatherstrip on the left door bottom? I describe how I replaced the torn weatherstrip and repaired the door bottom in this project.
Thanks for reading,