Sticky doors, like squeaky stairs, can really get under your skin. You're always pushing and pulling a lot harder than you need to, and somehow the door never seems to close quite right. You intend to take care of it one day, but the task keeps getting pushed further down your to-do list in favor of other, more pressing items.
Make today the day you fix that sticky door.
First, take a few minutes to diagnose the problem. The stickiness could stem from one of several issues, each of which calls for a different treatment. To identify the problem, open and close your door slowly, watching it closely, and notice where it sticks. You should recognize one of the following scenarios:
1. The door has no gaps and needs to be slammed shut.
2. The door's inside edge rubs against the the jamb.
3. The door hangs too close to the floor or the door's outside edge rubs against the jamb.
1. IF THE DOOR HAS NO GAPS AND NEEDS TO BE SLAMMED SHUT...
It's likely caused by excessive humidity. Most builders accommodate for seasonal changes by making sure the door panel and casing are lined up exactly right. This makes sure that the door has enough clearance to close properly, even with swelling. Try to fiix the sticking door at the most humid time of year for best results.
Paint or sealant
1. Open the door and remove the hinge pin by tapping the bottom of it with a hammer and pulling it out from the top.
2. Unscrew the hinges, starting with the top.
3. Gently remove the door.
4. Using a block plane, shave off just enough wood to give the door clearance; if your door is sticking elsewhere you might need to do the same thing on the other three edges too.
5. Sand the cut for a smooth finish.
6. Protect the wood by sealing or painting the cut edges.
7. Put the door back on its hinges; reinsert pins and tap them down with your hammer.
2. IF THE DOOR'S INSIDE EDGE RUBS ALONG THE JAMB...
It's often due to loose hinges. (The jamb is the vertical portion of the door frame to which the door is attached.) Here is a simple fix:
1. Determine if the problem is at the top, middle or bottom hinge.
2. Using the screwdriver, tighten both the door and frame screws; be careful not to over-tighten them or you'll strip the screws
4. If the screws are already stripped, or the holes are too rough, replace them with longer screws.
3. IF THE DOOR HANGS TOO CLOSE TO THE FLOOR OR THE DOOR'S OUTSIDE EDGE RUBS AGAINST THE JAMB
Typically, it's a result of the house settling
, which can cause the strike plate
to fall out of alignment. Here's how to fix that:
1. Put a small amount of petroleum jelly to the end of the latch.
2. Close the door slowly, noticing where the jelly transfers, as this should tell you if the plate is too high, low or deep.
3. Remove the strike plate and carve out wood from the jamb
, compensating for the misalignment.
4. Check it repeatedly so that you don't remove too much wood by accident
Once you've chiseled or tightened your way out of the sticky situation, keep that door working properly with bi-yearly tune-ups. A squeak won't impact the way a door functions but it sure is annoying, so while you're tightening those hinges, add a little lubricant.
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