How to lift a door using a pry bar

 
     
     
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During door installation or repair, doors will need to be lifted in order for the hinges to be fitted.

 

If the door was to be installed with the bottom in contact with the ground, it would not open smoothly, as the bottom would scrape against the floor every time it was opened or closed. This would make the door harder to open, and eventually damage both door and floor.

 
     
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Some tools exist which are designed specifically to lift doors, but, without access to these tools, it is possible to use a pry bar as a makeshift door lifter.

 
     
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While it may seem easier and cheaper to lift the door yourself, without the aid of a lifting tool, this puts you in danger of painful pinched fingers, and restricts freedom of movement.

 

Relying on a co-worker to lift the door for you frees up your hands, but as they inevitably tire, the door's position will become less stable.

 
     
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This guide will show you how to use a pry bar as a lifting aid when replacing a door hinge.

 
     
   

Which design is best?

 
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Because of the high importance of keeping the door level and stable during hinge repair, a bar with a thick or rounded claw such as the standard pry bar or adjustable pry bar will not be suitable.

 
     
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Of the other pry bars available, all are fit for the task, but the thinnest and flattest claws are available on the construction pry bar, and on wide-clawed models of precision pry bar. 

 
     
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Between the construction pry bar and wide-clawed precision pry bar, the decision depends on what you are most comfortable with. The construction pry bar is longer and heavier than the precision pry bar, and may be slightly more challenging to work with if you lack experience, but will give greater leverage due to its length.

 
     
   

What else will you need?

 
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Wooden shingles (or other thin, scrap wood) 

 
     
   

Wonkee's hoof-by-hoof guide

 
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Step 1 - Protect floor (optional)

If you want to protect the floor beneath the door you will be lifting, Wonkee recommends inserting a piece of shingle between the bottom of the door and the floor. This means that when pressure is applied to the heel of the pry bar, the shingle will take the force, eliminating the risk of damage to flooring materials. 

 
     
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Step 2 - Insert bar 

Insert the bar between the bottom rail (the bottom of the door) and the floor.

 

If the door is still partially hung, you may need shingles to raise the bar high enough to touch the bottom rail. If this is the case, continue to add shingles until the bar claw makes contact with the door.

 
     
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Step 3 - Apply pressure to opposite end of bar

Apply pressure to the opposite end of the bar until the door begins to lift.

 
     
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Step 4 - Insert shingles beneath door edge

Insert another shingle beneath outer end of the bottom rail, as shown. 

 
     
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Step 5 - Remove pressure on pry bar

Carefully remove pressure from the pry bar claw, gently letting the door come to rest on the shingle inserted in Step 4. This will hold the door in position as you check the height of the hinge.

 
     
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Step 6 - Check hinge position

Check the position of your hinge. You should aim for your hinge to lie flat against the hanging stile (the edge of the door to which the hinges attach). 

 
     
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Step 7 - Adjust height

If you find that your door is not high enough, apply pressure to the end of your pry bar to lift the door higher. Then take another shingle and insert it between the shingle inserted in Step 4 and the bottom rail.

 
     
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Repeat Steps 5-7 until you are happy with the position of your hinge, continuing to add shingles to adjust the height. 

 
     
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When you are satisfied with the hinge position, you can fasten it in place.

 
     
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Wonkee Donkee's top tip

If you need to make slight adjustments while working on the hinge, apply gentle pressure to the end of your pry bar with a foot, as if using a pedal. This will allow you to lift and lower the door small amounts while keeping your hands free.

 
     
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