How to Fix Sticking Doors
dilemma of swelling doors has been around since the first
carpenter manufactured a wooden door and installed it in a
home. As most houses have a dozen or more interior doors and
at least two exterior doors (front door and back door), home owners must deal
with this dilemma every time the season changes from humid
summers to drier winters. Follow these tips to resolve your
sticky door problem.
During these seasonal changes the
inside humidity changes which causes wooden doors to expand
and contract, and we get swelling doors. As the doors swell and stick as humid weather
approaches the home owner frequently becomes befuddled as to
how to remedy the problem.
Sticky, creaky, and nuisance swelling doors is a problem nearly every
homeowner can relate to. Sometimes the door won't shut and
other times it's a major project to get the door to even open.
Door problems can be
caused by a variety of factors in addition to humidity such
as hardware failure, wear and tear, shifting in the house
structure or improper installation from the start.
are several remedies to resolve the cycle of door swelling during weather changes. Normally when doors
are installed the carpenter allows for seasonal
swelling by insuring there is sufficient clearance between
the door panel and casing. As most doors are pre-hung units
they must be installed near perfectly straight and level
(plumb) to allow for equal clearance between the door panel
and the casing. If the door is just slightly out of plumb
the clearance will not be equal. An out of plumb door will
either cause a jamming problem immediately or when there is
a humidity change. It is nearly impossible to make an out of
plum door plum without removing and reinstalling it. If the
problem is severe this may be the only solution although
there are others to consider.
If you live in an excessively high humid area try a
dehumidifier. Not only will it help the swollen door problem
it will also make the inside of your home more comfortable
by lowering the humidity. If the problem is just a slight
sticking it can be resolved by applying bar soap to the
sticky edge or get out the sand paper and do some light
sanding. If it is necessary to sand the sticky edge you may
have to reapply the pant finish.
Tips for swollen
or stuck doors:
If it is obvious where the
door is sticking, sand the area using a light sand paper
and reapply finish paint. If it is not obvious use a
piece of carbon paper to locate the sticky point then
sand that area until the door operates freely.
Check for hardware failure
such as loose screws and hinges. Tighten any loose
screws and check the door for sticking. If the problem
still persists look further.
Check to see if the door and
frame has shifted or is misaligned. Look carefully
around the strike plates and bolt. If there is a
misalignment take out the strike plate and file it to
fit properly. If the bolt is out of alignment the frame
may have to be adjusted by installing longer screws in
the hinges or putting in additional finish nails to
reset or reposition the jam.
If the door is jamming along
the bottom edge and items 1, 2 or 3 will not solve the
problem it is probably caused by either a swollen door
or the floor beneath the door may be swollen due to the
humidity or moisture from water entry. In either case it
may be necessary to remove the door and repair the floor
beneath the door by sanding and applying a sealer to
keep the moisture out. Replace or install weather
stripping as necessary.
suggestions do not remedy your sticky or door swelling
problems consider bringing in
a professional carpenter to assist you.
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