How to Adjust Saloon Style Doors When the Tension Isn't Quite Right and Squeaky Spring Hinges


What was once old will be new again. Whether it be decorative or fashionable, trends come in cycles. This is definitely true of interior design. Now you may not consider yourself to be a designer, but if your humble abode could use a new look then it’s time for a change.

Saloon doors are not just for the Wild West look. Offerings range from Western Saloon Doors to Modern Swinging Doors. Maybe testing out an updated look that will enhance the flavor of your drab dining area.

Try adding some pizzaz to your bland doorway with the addition of saloon-style doors. Your family and friends will love ‘em. You can even walk through and pose for a quick pic while holding your succulent holiday dish.

But after the newness has worn off, something might not be right. Perhaps it’s time to grab your toolbox and get to work.

Follow along as we discuss the steps to swing door hinge repair.

Materials Needed:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Screws (optional if they need to be replaced)
  • Hinges (optional if they need to be replaced)
  • Safety glasses and gloves (optional)

Adjusting Your Saloon-style Doors

Step 1:

Put on safety glasses and gloves. Find the mechanism of the hinge which can be adjusted. Commercial Grade Spring hinge (provides double action swing and returns to center) it’s the internal spring and tension setting that impact the door tension. Make sure you have the proper size of spring hinges (3" to up 8" options available) for your door size and that they were installed per the manufacturer's instructions. You can adjust the tension higher or lower by removing the pin in each hinge and adjusting the spring tension. Too low and the doors will sag, if the tension is too high the doors will swing with a lot of force. Refer to the hinge instructions for the recommended tension for the spring hinge. Note that there are set recommendations for the top spring hinges and bottom spring hinges, keep reading to find them out. Be sure to add tension in the correct direction, the direction will vary depending on the location of the tension lugs, reference the hardware instructions for your individual hinges.

Step 2:

It is not necessary to remove the hinges unless you can't access the tension mechanism. Remove some tension using adjusting rod, then slide out the pin securing the adjustment mechanism together. Set them in a safe place away from children or pets.

Step 3:

Next twist the mechanism until the door has no sag and aligns with another hole with the opening of the pin. Place the pin back into the hole. If door sag persists then check to see that the correct spring hinge was selected. If return action is too slow increase the tension.

Step 4:

If the mechanism sits on top, then it should be turned to the left for extra tension or the right for less tension. If the mechanism is on the bottom reverse the direction and turn it to the right for added tension and to the left for decreased tension. The hinge instructions will recommend how many holes of tension for the hinge size. Normally one hole of tension is recommended for the bottom hinges.

Step 5:

Steps 3 and 4 may need to be repeated multiple times depending on whether the tension is to your liking. When necessary remove the pin and switch holes again. Testing out the doors will let you know if you are finished.

Step 6:

Once you are satisfied, re-attach the plates covering the mechanism. Insert the screws with the screwdriver.

Remember DO NOT exceed 5 holes on tension on the top spring hinges and only ONE hole of tension is recommended for the bottom spring hinges.  

Adding tension will wind up the spring hinge located inside the hinge. As you add tension to the spring hinge, you will feel some resistance. If there is no resistance when adding tension and the door is sagging then the spring hinge is most likely broken. If the internal spring is broken the hinge will not hold any resistance and the door will sag. 

The bottom hinge is the pivot point of the door, and the top hinge(s) will do most of the work for swinging the door and returning the door to the center. If you have two hinges holding the door, you can add a three hinge for more strength. Double Action spring hinge can only be installed in pairs or a set of three only. Adding any additional hinges will not help with the operation of a door and is not recommended. Depending on the door's width, weight, and thickness this will determine the correct spring hinge sizing for your doors. Again adding a third hinge will allow for more door weight and width. 

Adjustment on double action spring hinges will make sure your door can function properly with the best swing for your application.Spring hinges are a great hinge option when installed in a commercial space. These hinges also work well when you are installing swinging doors but are limited to height constants. The double action spring hinges mount to the door side (similar to butt hinges) and will allow for full height doors with minimal spacing for hardware clearances. Spring hinges will have some noise when operating aka swinging the door. These hinges will not hold open and are great for commercial spaces that prefer to never hold the doors open. 

For residential applications we recommend a gravity hinge, this is the most popular hinge option with our residential customers for many reasons. Spring hinges are normally what people think of as a double action hinges, but these hinges are not the only option available. Swinging Cafe Doors offers a wide variety of double action hinges for all your swinging door needs. We can help you determine the best hardware for your current doors or new doors.

Squeaky Hinges 

Spring hinges can become squeaky over time or even brand new hinges can be squeaky when first installed. If the spring hinges are squeaky, then you will need to add lubrication added to the hinges, this will help eliminate the squeaking. Here is the information regarding adding lubrication to the hinges: To start, remove the tension from the springs. Then completely unfold the hinge and you will see a vertical slot from which you can spray in and lubricate the spring. I would suggest some 3in1 lubricant in the hinge.  If the hinges are already installed, you may want to get an aerosol spray can or a telescoping spout 3in1 oil, this will allow for the hinges to be lubricated while installed. The photo will reference the location to add the lubrication. 

Location to Add Lubication for spring hinges

Keep On Movin'

Now that you’ve repaired your saloon-style doors hinge it’s time to celebrate.

Plan a dinner party or schedule an impromptu game night so your closest kin can enjoy a swinging good time. This way you can boast about how easy it was to remedy the problem and enjoy yourself in the process.