Door Hinge Squeak: 7 Common Causes and Fixes

Door hinge squeaks can be a major annoyance. Not only are they loud, but they can also be an expensive fix. The good news is that door hinges are not that complicated, so anyone with the right info can fix them.

The most common reason for a squeaky hinge is a lack of lubrication. The lubricant in the hinge can dry out over time, allowing the metal parts to rub and produce an annoying squeak. However, spraying DW40 or hairspray into the hinge can lubricate it enough to bring back peace and quiet.

In this article, I’ll go over door hinge squeaks in more detail, including some common causes and how to fix them. Read on to finally get rid of that annoying squeak!

1. Lack of Lubrication

When you buy a hinge, it’s usually lubricated with a substance called “lithium grease.” This grease is designed to stay slippery and prevent metal-on-metal contact, which can cause noise.

However, the lithium grease can dry out over time or be displaced by dust and dirt. This will cause the hinge to squeak as the metal parts rub together. Left unattended, this can be loud enough to be a nuisance.

How To Fix

The good news is that this problem is easy to fix. All you need to do is lubricate the hinge with a silicone-based lubricant (like WD-40) or a petroleum-based grease (like Vaseline). You can also use spray lubricants like hairspray.

There are two ways to lubricate a door hinge. The first is to use a brush or cloth to apply the lubricant to the hinge. The second is to spray the lubricant, which is the best and easiest way to do this.

If you choose to use a brush or cloth, ensure that you get the lubricant into all of the nooks and crannies of the hinge. You may need to use a toothpick or other small object to help get the lubricant into all the moving parts.

Once you’ve applied the lubricant, open and close the door a few times to work it in. The squeaking should stop.

2. Loose Hardware

Another common cause of door hinge squeaks is loose hardware. The screws or bolts that hold the hinge together can work themselves loose. This will throw off the level, causing unnecessary strain on your hinges. The result is squeaking that keeps coming back, even if you lubricate the hinge properly.

The main reason for loose hardware is vibration. Maybe you have a door that slams shut or a cabinet door that you use all the time. The constant vibration will loosen the screws over time. This is why hydraulic door closers are often used on overhead kitchen cabinet doors–they help reduce vibration and keep the screws tight.

Another common reason for loose hardware is moisture. The wood can expand and contract in response to moisture levels (either from rain or humidity), leading to loose connections between the wood and screws. This is usually a big problem for kitchens in high-humidity areas like Florida.

How To Fix

The first step is checking all the screws and bolts on the hinge. If any of them are loose, tighten them with a screwdriver or wrench. Just be careful not to over-tighten the screws, as this can strip the threads or break the heads off entirely.

In case of stripped threads or broken heads, you’ll need to remove the old screws and replace them with new ones. Be sure to use screws of the same size and type as the originals.

If the hinge is still squeaking after the replacement, the problem is likely more than just loose hardware. In this case, you’ll need to move on to one of the other solutions.

3. Dirty Hinges

Another common cause of door hinge squeaks is dirt and grime build-up. Dust and dirt can work into the hinge, causing the parts to rub and squeak. This is usually more of a problem in high-traffic areas, like kitchen cabinets.

Rust can also be a problem, especially in areas with high humidity. The moisture can cause rust, which will result in squeaking when it rubs against other metal parts.

The issue with dirty or rusty hinges is that they must be cleaned regularly to prevent the problem from worsening. And if the problem is left unchecked, the hinge can fail on you.

How To Fix

To clean the hinge, you’ll need to disassemble it and remove all dirt and grime. This can be a difficult task, depending on the size and type of hinge.

If you’re not comfortable disassembling the hinge, you can hire a professional to do it for you. But if you’re up for the challenge, here’s a general overview of how to do it:

  1. First, remove the door from the hinge. This will make it easier to work on and prevent door damage.
  2. Next, use a brush or cloth to remove as much dirt and grime as possible. For stubborn build-ups, you may need to use a toothpick or other small object to loosen it. You can also use a can of air to blow the dirt and grime out of the hinge. 
  3. Once you’ve removed all the dirt and grime, reassemble the hinge and reattach the door. But do not forget to lubricate the hinge before assembly, or the squeak will return.

4. Worn-Out Hinges

Another common cause of door hinge squeaks is wear and tear. Over time, the moving parts of the hinge can wear down, causing them to rub together and squeak. This is usually a problem with high-use doors and old furniture.

How To Fix

The solution to this problem is to replace the worn-out hinge with a new one. But before you go out and buy a new hinge, there are a few things you need to know.

  • Get a hinge that’s the same size as the old one. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that hinges come in different sizes. Getting the wrong size will waste time and money, so make sure to measure the old hinge before you buy a new one.
  • Get a hinge that’s compatible with the door. Hinges come in different styles, and not all styles will work with your doors. This is especially true if you want to replace the hinges on a custom or older door. If you’re unsure which style of hinge to get, it’s best to bring the old hinge with you when you buy the new one. This way, you can match it up and be sure you’re getting the right type.

Once you have the new hinge, simply remove the old one and install the new one in its place. Use the same screws as those on the old hinge, or you may strip the holes.

Also, it’s important to note that some hinges are reversible. This means you can use them on either left-handed or right-handed doors. Others are non-reversible, so you need to get the right one for your situation.

Also, don’t forget to lubricate the new hinge before you attach the door. Otherwise, the squeak will come back sooner than you think.

5. Damaged or Misaligned Door

Another common cause of door hinge squeaks is a damaged or misaligned door. If the door is not level with the frame, it will put a lot of stress on the hinge, which can cause it to squeak.

The same is true if the door is warped or otherwise damaged. Even a tiny amount of damage can put a lot of stress on the hinge and cause it to squeak.

You won’t believe how many times I’ve seen doors that are crooked because they were not hung correctly. 

How To Fix

The best way to fix a damaged or misaligned door is to replace it. But if you’re not ready to replace the door, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem temporarily.

  • Shimm the door. This is a process where you add thin pieces of wood or metal to the side of the door to make it level. You can buy shims at most hardware stores, which are relatively easy to install. Just be careful not to over shim the door, as this can cause additional problems.
  • Try adjusting the strike plate. This is the metal plate your latch engages when you close the door. If the strike plate is not aligned correctly, it can cause the door to bind and squeak. Simply loosen the screws holding the strike plate in place and move it until it’s properly aligned.
  • Try adjusting the hinges. If the hinges are loose, your door may move around and squeak. To fix this, loosen the screws holding the hinge and move until it’s properly aligned.
  • Try lubricating the hinge. This is usually a good idea, as it reduces friction and wear.

There are several different lubricants you can use, but I prefer silicone spray. Just be sure to apply the lubricant sparingly, as too much can attract dirt and dust.

6. An Unlevel Floor

Houses can settle over time, and this usually results in unlevel floors. When this happens, your doors take on a lot of stress, and you end up with loud squeaking.

Another reason your floor could not be level is if you have hardwood floors. As the floors expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, they can become unlevel. This can also put a lot of stress on the door and cause squeaky hinges.

How To Fix

The best way to fix an unlevel floor is to have it leveled by a professional. But if you’re interested in a DIY solution, you can try a self-leveling compound. This is a substance that you pour into the low spots of your floor, and it will level out as it dries.

You can buy a self-leveling compound at most hardware stores, and it’s relatively easy to use. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully, as too much or too little self-leveling compound can cause problems.

The self-leveling compound comes in a powder form, so you’ll need to mix it with water before use. It also means you need a vapor barrier between the subfloor and the compound. 

Once it’s mixed, simply pour it into the low spots on your floor and wait for it to dry. The result is a level floor that allows furniture to sit straight.

7. Issues With the Walls

One of the most common causes of door hinge squeaks is actually related to the walls themselves. If your cabinets are hung on an old wall, there’s a good chance that they’re not adequately supported. Things like water damage, hurricanes, and settling foundations can throw off the plumb of your walls, causing issues with door hinges that rely on that particular wall.

If you hear a door hinge squeak, one of the first things you should do is check to see if the screws are still tight. If they are, you’ll need to add additional support to the area around the hinges. This can be done by installing wall anchors or using longer screws.

How To Fix

The first thing you want to do is fix the wall to make it straight again. This is usually a job for professionals, but if you’re feeling confident, there are ways you can do this yourself.

The first thing you want to do is remove the cabinets from the wall in question. Then remove the drywall around the door hinges. Once the drywall is removed, use a level to check the studs for plumb. You can use a hammer and nail to straighten them out if they’re not plumb.

Next, you want to add some support to the area around the cabinets. This can be done by installing wall anchors or using longer screws.

Once the area is properly supported, you can put the drywall back up and re-install the cabinets. This should solve the squeaking issue.

Final Thoughts

Door hinge squeaks can be a real pain, but fortunately, they’re usually pretty easy to fix. If you hear a door hinge squeak, check to see if the screws are loose and what is causing the issue. You can also try lubricating the hinge with WD-40 or even replacing the hinges altogether. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem–it’ll only get worse.


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