How To Fix A Gap Between A Door And A Frame

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

When I first moved into my current place, we had a door that had a major gap. This gap was so large, leaves would blow in from the outside, and any type of air conditioning would eventually get blown out of our apartment. I knew I had to fix the gap in order to save on my bills and also prevent wildlife from crawling in, I had to get it fixed. Thankfully, this was a relatively easy project to work with.

There are several ways to fix a gap between a door and a frame. Installing a door sweep can help reduce drafts from the bottom as well as the top of your door. If you have a gap on the sides of your door, you can replace your weather stripping and tighten the hinge of your door.

Fixing a gap between a door and a frame doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, but it absolutely has to be done. Otherwise, you could have problems ranging from higher energy bills to having pests crawl through your door’s gap into your home. This guide will give you the advice you need to make sure your home stays cozy.

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What Causes A Door Gap, Anyway?

Door gaps can happen for a wide range of different reasons, many of which aren’t in your control. The most common culprits are the following:

  • Door Frame Damage. Did you recently try to move in and have your furniture knock off part of your door frame? This can cause a gap. It’s a near-instant occurrence in most cases.
  • Broken Weather Stripping. Weather stripping is meant to help block gaps in your door and add insulation to your home. If it’s torn or nonexistent, you’re going to have a gap in your door. This can happen overnight, if the stripping gets bumped or bruised.
  • House Settling. Over the years, your house will eventually settle into its structure. Depending on how much wood warping goes on, you might see a slight gap on your door frame. This kind of issue tends to happen over the course of decades.
  • Water Damage. If you recently had a flood, there’s a chance that the water damage might have warped your threshold, causing a gap. This may make your door unable to be closed in very dire situations, which means that you may need to replace the door.
  • Bad Build. If you just bought your home, you might not have noticed that your threshold was unusually low or that the top of your door has a major draft. If this is the case, there’s nothing here that could be your fault.

Can Homeowner’s Insurance Fund Your Fix?

It all depends on the cause of your door gap. Most insurance policies aren’t going to cover simple fixes, since they are usually considered “out of pocket” fixes. However, if your door gap was caused by a flood, severe door damage, or a crime, then you might be able to get a door replacement.

Do I Need To Replace My Door?

In most cases, a door replacement is not necessary. As long as your door can close, doesn’t have several inches of space in areas, and doesn’t have extensive damage, a DIY approach should be fine. Doors are remarkably durable, and can easily withstand a lot of damage.

Diagnosing And Fixing Your Door Gap

Most doors that have a gap will usually have it on one side exclusively. To make sure you get the right fix, make sure that you keep an eye out for the type of gap that you have. When choosing a fix, make sure it matches the area of your door that’s letting the air in. To help you fix your door, we’re going to go section by section.

The Bottom

If you have a gap between your door and the threshold, I feel for you. This is the easiest way to end up with leaves blowing into your apartment, flooding, as well as the invitation of critters into your abode. Thankfully, this is also a remarkably easy fix. To get rid of the gap in your apartment, all you need to do is install a door sweep.

Door sweeps can be screwed into the bottom of your door, or can be glued on. I suggest silicone door sweeps that come with their own glue kits. This fix literally takes minutes and can save you a ton of money on bills.

The Top

Fixing a gap between the top of your door can be done two ways. You can either use a glue on weather strip placed upside-down to line the top of your door, or you can add weather stripping to your door’s top. If you choose to go the weather stripping route, make sure to remove any old weather stripping, measure out your door, and cut the stripping to fit your door’s top.

Hinge Side

If your door has a gap between it and its hinges, then you have another issue at hand. With this problem the best thing that you can do is tighten the hinges. Most of the time, this alone will be enough to fix it.

If it isn’t, take a look at your weather stripping. There is a chance that feeling a draft from your door may suggest that your stripping is damaged and in need of replacement. Like with other weather stripping fixes, make sure that you remove old stripping and cut the new stuff to make it fitted to your door’s size.

Knob Side

If your door has a gap that lies closest to your door knob’s side, then you have one major fix that you can apply. And, it’s (you guessed it) weather stripping replacement. With a knob side replacement, the best thing that you can do is install weather stripping that matches the gap you’re filling. Like with other weather stripping projects, removing old stripping and cutting it to size is crucial.

There are also some occasions where a gap is caused by a break near the door frame on the side of your hinge, often due to a break-in attempt or damage from furniture being carried into the door. If this is the case, fixing the door frame is a must. I’d suggest using wood filler to fill in holes, then sanding it down to help get rid of any extra bumps.

What Can You Do If The Gap Won’t Go Away?

If you have wooden doors and they’re old, sometimes they’ll begin to warp and shrink, causing your door to have gaps. At this point, you will want to completely replace your door(s) so that you can take care of this issue. Or, you can also get some wood door putty that hardens, and shape it into your door to fix where the gaps are. This will give the appearance that your door is not warped, and it’ll look and function like it’s brand new.

How Much Is It To Replace My Doors?

If you decide to replace your doors because you can’t get the gaps to go away, then it’s important that you know how much tihs will cost you. Doors are relatively cheap depending on the door you select. For instance, if you get an exterior door that’s made of metal and had all these special functions, then, of course, that’s going to be extremely expensive.

On average, you will pay about $80 to $120 per interior door and $100 to $180 per exterior door. You can choose between doors that are already insulated or ones made of real wood, or faux wood. Perhaps you should check that the doors are warp proof so that you don’t have to deal with gaps or any other problems later on down the line.

Can I replace my doors myself?

Installing new doors is a simple task and can be done on your own. However, you’ll want to measure your door frame, and the door to make sure it’s going to fit properly. Also, measure where you’re putting the hinges to see if there are any tweaks that you need to make to the door before installing. Then, set the door up, and make sure it works for you properly.

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Our Final Take

Most people tend to see gaps in the doors as more of a nuisance than a serious issue, and for the most part, they’re right to do so. Door gaps are known for causing drafts, bugs, and upticks in power bills. However, they’re not that hard to fix. In fact, they’re almost always fixable as long as the door can safely close. Repairs are often easy enough for a newbie to do and just as cheap.

The vast majority of cases can be solved through a new application of weather stripping or with a new door sweep. Both of these projects don’t involve many tools to do and take a total of 20 minutes at the very most. This means that you shouldn’t be too worried if a door gap is plaguing your life. It’ll get fixed sooner rather than later.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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