What are wood shims? And why should you use them?

What are wood shims? And why should you use them?

Wooden materials make it easy to adjust them, which is the best feature. Wood shims are the reason for it.

There is no doubt that wood doors, cabinets, and windows tend to lose their tightness and become loose over time- for instance, a door may not close properly after some time, or a cabinet may begin shaking. 

In the above cases, wood shims are the best solution, less expensive, and durable.

You might have found these thinly sliced wood wedges in the garage among the tools. Despite their appearance as wood scraps from a previous project, shims play a vital role in a number of DIY fixes and fittings.

If you don’t already know what a wood shim is?

Showing a pack of wood shim
A bundle of wood shims.

It’s a piece of wood that is plain, simple, smooth, and narrow to fit into the gaps between two adjacent spaces. Used to ensure the frames, doors, windows, don’t shake and make them sustained at their particular space- for doors a shim is used to make it balanced.

Shims usually come in two materials. Wood and Plastic. 

It is an advantage of plastic shims that they are rot- and water-resistant and durable, which is why they are great for dealing with conditions where the environment is usually moist, such as plumbing or exterior maintenance. They don’t soak up water so the adjustment made by them ensures they last longer without needing further maintenance.

Are shims strong?

Their strength and durability are outstandingly awesome, as well as their lightweight and lower cost. Thus these characteristics make them an ideal choice for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications.

When to know- A SHIM Is needed?

A shim on a door frame
Pic credit- www.thespruce.com

After framing a wooden project and at the moment installing it. Most likely the frame would not fit as expected due to some uncertain measurements: either it can be from the frame or the wall or the support is not in line. As a result, there could be difficulties in fitting a frame.

So you have two choices now as a worker, either cut a new frame according to the new measurements that will definitely cost you more money as well take additional time. Or a cheaper option is to wedge a shim to cover gaps- like a helping hand to fix uncertain errors. It’s quite a time-saving process that only requires a few seconds as well as it’s durable. 

Not only beginners but also expert woodworkers frequently use a shim in order to finish the job just right. Rather than stressing to cut a new piece using shims is a good alternative.

Since shimming a frame between a stud and the adjacent stud helps to level and plumb it incrementally. 

The usages are so many, from fixing windows and doors, shims can be used to square up cabinets, level a tilting toilet seat (by using a plastic shim), adjust flooring and boards, or fix noisy joints in outdoor decking.


So if you fitted a door or a window that is not balanced. Looking for shim’s help on how to use it? Here are the instructions to follow.

Get some shims and install them between the gaps of a door’s frame. 

To completely install a shim, lightly tap it into place with a hammer or mallet, while using a level to check that the window or door is moving toward the plumb.

While tapping, if a shim breaks down then you can attach a second shim to it. Or use a thick one if you’ve.

What do shims look like?

They look similar to a thin palate of wood longer in length and thinner from the width. Depending on the shape needed, they need to cut just right and then wedge where required. Made of wood resemble the natural wood color, whereas the plastic ones don’t have a specific color. Instead, you can find them in good designs on the market.

What is a window, Shim?

On the market, there are many ready-made shapes of shims available these days. Among them is the window shim.

It’s flat only has a width of ½ inches or 1 inch and the length is around 6-10 inches. They also have a curve at one side which is for fitting a window’s frame corner there. They are mostly wooden that match the frame color.

What is shim stock?

Stock shims are thin precision stock materials that are cut into shims for specific applications. Fit adjustment, leveling, and support are common applications for it. The application of electrical insulation, sealing joints, and adjusting valve spring pressure are just several of the common uses.

Can you shim floor joists?

Yes, this can be done using a shim. Use the right shim size and type to the floor joist. 

Mostly it’s needed when a hardwood floor is not correctly installed; for instance, uneven, incorrectly balanced, using shims is the less expensive way to fix all those serious issues.

With shims, how is a door leveled?

Although it’s easy to level a door that is making noise out because of its unbalanced joints. But you will need to follow some instructions to finish the straight right.

Follow these mentioned instructions-

  1. To begin, you need to find out where the noise joints are located on the door. When you know what size of shims you need, cut the same size with care.
  2. By sliding the shims into the door frame from both sides, you will be able to level the door.
  3. To hold the shims in place, drive 2-1/2 inch finish nails through the sash edge.
  4. Make sure the head (top) jamb sits flat and level against the hinge side of the door jamb that was previously attached.

How do you shim a floor?

To make a floor balanced with shims you will need to follow the below instructions-

First off, look for the unbalanced parts by using a level and also mark those spots.

To raise the parts a bit, put some sand below it and put some shims on top covering them with hardwood again.

When parts need lowering, sand will need to be removed.

What is a cedar shim?

The width and length of cedar shims are consistent. You can use it for shimming windows, cabinets and floor joists, setting door jambs, leveling roof trusses, leveling appliances, stirring paint, spreading adhesives, placing garden markers, tree stakes, sod stakes, and general home projects.

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