How to Repair Doors That Stick

Sticking doors are a constant complaint among many people today. It is especially common during cold or rainy weathers. Seasonal sticking usually goes away when the moisture in the wood lessens. When not too noticeable this can be solved by rubbing some candle wax on the affected edge to reduce friction.

A door that sticks or won’t lock or close properly may also be caused by loose hinges, shifting of the foundation, or just come with long term use. However, there’s no need to worry about the extremities just yet.

To fix this problem is relatively easy and requires a few tools. These include a screwdriver, sanding block or belt sander, long screws, plane or wood file, pencil or chalk, a cardboard and shims.

Reasons for Door Sticking

In rainy or humid conditions, wood absorbs moisture making it expand and thus causing sticking in doors. Loss of the same moisture will bring the wood back to its former state or cause warping. This kind of seasonal sticking can be addressed by reducing humidity in your home by use of air conditioning systems and dehumidifiers.

Normal tear and wear may also lead to door sticking. It is usually indicated by misaligned/sagging hinges, accumulation of debris and dirt in the hinges, noisy hinges and misaligned latch mechanisms. You can lift the door by the doorknob to check if the hinges are loose.

Other possible reasons include shoddy workmanship during installation, piled up coats of paint on the door and lastly the foundation may have shifted over the years causing this misalignment. For the latter you may want to address the issue from the ground up.

How to Fix It

Adjusting the Hinges and Screws

Using a screwdriver, tighten the hinge screws to help improve on the alignment of the door. Don’t use a drill driver as it might strip the screw holes. If the holes are stripped already, dip a wood splinter or a toothpick in wood glue and use them to fill the screw holes.

Also consider fitting new hinges if possible for a firmer grip. Long screws are also just as effective and always remember to test the door after every fix.

You can also try reducing friction at the part that sticks by rubbing a candle on its edge. Also, lubricating the hinges using multipurpose household oil such as WD 40 can help reduce or eliminate the sticking. Just remember to protect your floor from any dripping oil by laying some newspapers below.

Fasten the visible screws on the surfaces of the strike plate and latch mechanisms so that they are flush with the rest of the structure. Shims can also help correct any slants or misalignments of the door.

Planing the Door

If there are still other sections causing sticking, identify and mark them with a pencil or chalk. Use the chalk on the edges of the doorframe and close/open the door, the areas on the door with chalk will be the areas to plane. Remove the hinge pins starting from the bottom one and prop the door onto a workbench for sanding. Use the sanding block or belt sander to smooth out the marked parts.

Don’t wear away too much into the wood and instead continuously reattach the door to test on the effectiveness of the adjustments made so far. If you are satisfied with the sanding, reapply paint or finish to the sanded area and leave to dry. After which you just rehang the door and reinsert the hinge pins. Corner brackets are great tools to help you align the door into the frame.

If the jamb seems to be the source of the problem you can pull it towards the door frame by driving a nail or screw through the affected area and into the frame. Minor dents on the door frame at the part where the door sticks can also be a viable solution.

The functionality of your doors at home will probably go unnoticed, up until when your door start sticking. Following the above steps will help you get over this problem. If they fail to address your issue then it’s probably time to get a new door.

Video – How to Fix a Door That Rubs, or Sticks

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