How to adjust French doors (and when to just replace them)

Last Updated: 28 September 2023

Accoya oak effect French doors

Although French doors are an elegant way to move between areas of a property, if they are catching the door frames, beginning to sag or they have dropped, the doors are clearly out of alignment and you might want to think about adjusting them. Using this short guide, however, you can do so with ease.

In order to adjust French doors, you will need:

  • Allen keys
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver

Once you’ve got your tools together, you need to identify the problem and the specific adjustments that will need to be made.

Adjusting French doors that have dropped:

It’s important to mention at this point that the following advice might not be suitable for every French door. Depending on their age, French doors will either be fitted with Flag Hinges, T-Hinges or Butt Hinges. Flag and T hinges allow you to adjust the height of the door and their lateral position. Flag hinges also allow for compression adjustments. However, butt hinges might only allow for lateral adjustments or none whatsoever.

Flag hinge
Flag hinge

However, you can usually adjust the height of French doors by:

  • Finding the bottom of the smaller part of the hinge, which runs vertically to the side of the doorframe.
  • The hole at the bottom of the hinge is generally for height and the top is generally for compression.
  • Check you have the right hole first by inserting the Allen key into this hinge hole and turning slightly. If the door moves up and down then you know it’s for altering the height but if it moves towards you this means that the hinge hole is for compression purposes.
  • Make adjustments accordingly, checking if the doors lock and close correctly.

Making lateral adjustments to French doors:

  • Find the lateral adjuster on a door hinge. This is usually hidden behind a plastic cover or behind a small plug on the side farthest from the door frame.
  • If it has a plastic cover, use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws and look for the Allen bolt on the side.
  • Insert the correct Allen key and turn clockwise to move the door towards the hinge, or anti-clockwise to move it away.
  • Adjust accordingly and check if the doors lock and close correctly.

Tips when adjusting French doors:

  • Be sure to make any adjustments when the sun is not out because the sun can cause the doors to expand.
  • If you have adjusted the height and lateral position of your French doors but you still notice a draught, you will need to adjust compression too.
  • For French doors that are sagging, fixing them can be as simple as tightening the hinges.
  • If your hinges don’t allow for adjustments, try replacing them with hinges that can be adjusted.
  • For doors that are still out of alignment despite trying all of the above, it’s time to think about replacements.

Fantastic French doors in Cheshire supplied & installed by Reddish Joinery

Accoya uPVC French doors

If you’re a Cheshire homeowner in need of some new or replacement French doors, Reddish Joinery can help. We install uPVC and timber French doors that utilise energy efficient glazing and slim framing, resulting in warm and brightly lit homes. For more information or a free quote, give us a call on 0161 969 7474 or contact us online.

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