How to Fix Sticky Doors Before Summer Starts

April 22, 2022



Fixing Sticky Doors Before Summer Starts - Clera Windows + Doors

Sticky doors is one of the most common problems during the summer season. During this season, doors tend to be harder to close — leaving homeowners wondering how to fix a door that rubs at the top or other similar operational issues. Humidity is usually the culprit when it comes to sticky doors. During the winter months, the humidity in the atmosphere is low because cooler air can’t hold as much moisture. Conversely, during the summer, the air is warmer and can thus carry more moisture.

This can cause wooden doors to swell and expand. However, in case you have sticky wooden doors even before summer hits, you might be facing other problems such as loose hinges or structural changes to the door frame because of foundation issues. It is also important to note that humidity can only be a culprit for your sticky doors if the door is made of wood. This is because metal, fibreglass, and PVC doors do not swell due to humidity. This guide goes into how to fix a door that is hard to close. Along the way, we will also cover how to tell where your door is sticking.

Let’s begin!

 How To Fix A Door That Is Hard To Close - Clera Windows + Doors
  1. How Can You Tell Where a Door is Sticking?
  2. It’s easy to know if your door is sticking or rubbing; the hard part is narrowing down where those “sticky spots” are. Here are some steps you can follow to tell where a door is sticking or rubbing:
  3. First, look at the door closely. Are there noticeable scratches in the paint or damages around the doorframe? Usually, these scratches are clues as to where the door is sticking or rubbing.
  4. Next, run your hand in the gap between the door and frame slowly.
  5. Look out for areas where the gap feels thinner or barely there. This is likely where the door is sticking or rubbing.
  6. Look out for heavily grimey areas on the door. Heavy deposits of grime along the door’s sides can make a door harder to close. If this is the case with your door, a simple cleaning might just do the trick!
  7. If steps one and two have not given you enough clues, take a piece of paper and run it around the closed door. Wherever the paper gets stuck are the door’s sticky spots.
  8. Lastly, observe other tell-tale issues such as the following:
  9. Squeaking hinges;
  10. A strike plate becoming loose; and
  11. The screws in the door jamb are untightening.
  12. How to Fix a Door that Rubs at the Top (And Other Sticky Door Issues)
  13. When talking about how to fix a door that rubs at the top or at other similar issues, there are different solutions based on what’s causing the door to stick. We’ll discuss these different methods one by one.
  14. 1. Oil & Tighten the Hinges
  15. If you hear squeaking, try to oil the hinges on your door. This is a two-for-one solution since it gets rid of that sound un-oiled hinges make and fights stickiness. When doing this, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  16. Once done, open and close the door a few times to get the oil worked into the hinge joints.
  17. Be sure to place a newspaper or rag under the door so that any oil that drips down the hinges doesn’t ruin your floors.
  18. Spray lubricants like WD-40 that will also work on hinges in the same way the oil does. If you don’t have oil or a spray lubricant lying around at home, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) works in a pinch.
  19. Apart from lubricating the hinges, you’d also want to make sure that they are securely screwed into place. In case the hinges are visibly worn out and corroded, it may also be helpful to replace them altogether.
  20. 2. Tighten the Strike Plate
  21. Over time, your door’s strike plate may have loosened. A loose strike plate may be causing your door to stick. If this is the case, simply use a screwdriver to tighten the screws on your door’s strike plate.
  22. 3. Shave The Panel
  23. Another way to prepare your door for the summer season and the humidity it brings is to trim the panel. If you noticed during your visual door test that an edge of the door is rubbing against the jamb and causing it to stick, you can easily take care of this problem. The space between the door and jamb should be approximately ⅛ inch wide (about the size of a nickel). To maintain this gap, you can shave down the panel by following these steps:
  24. Mark the area of the panel where it rubs against the jamb.
  25. Then, remove the door by taking it off its hinges.
  26. Place the door on a blanket or pile of newspaper (to catch the sawdust).
  27. Use a power planer, hand planer, or belt sander to eliminate the excess material.
Dealing With Sticky Doors During  Summer - Clera Windows + Doors
  1. 4. Deal with Humidity
  2. To deal with humidity, a temporary solution would be to rub the area of the door that’s sticky with a bar of dry, moisturizer-free soap. The powdery residue left by the soap will help absorb the humidity. However, this action may need to be repeated over the course of the summer, but it doesn’t damage your door, so you can soap up as necessary. Another way to deal with humidity is to run your air conditioner. This will decrease the level of humidity in your home, but it does cost more than a bar of soap. If you live in an area that requires constant A/C during the summer, then you’ll need to prepare to pay the extra electricity costs. But at least you won’t have a sticky door!Additionally, you can run a dehumidifier. Place it near the door and watch the stickiness disappear. Though, like the A/C unit, a dehumidifier can be costly to run.
  3. 5. Move the Plants Away
  4. If you have a lot of houseplants, you need to move them away from your door. Plants are humidity machines, and the closer they are to your door, the stickier your door will get no matter the season.
  5. 6. Rule Out Foundation Settling and Sinking
  6. Structural changes due to foundation settling and sinking could be causing your door frames to become misaligned. If hardware failure and humidity aren’t the culprits for your sticky doors, it would be advisable to look into whether or not your house actually needs foundation repair. To help you determine if your house has a foundation problem, look out for these signs:
  7. Suspicious cracks in your basement and around the house;
  8. Gaps around windows, doors, walls, and cabinets; and
  9. Sagging floors.
  10. 7. Get a New Door & Consider Non-Wooden Options
  11. Severely swollen doors or doors affected by moisture damage typically do not revert to their original form. If your door has this kind of damage, it would be advisable to get a new door. In addition, if you are tired of needing to constantly maintain wooden doors, it would be advisable to consider non-wooden doors that do not warp or swell because of humidity (e.g. metal doors, fibreglass doors, etc.)
  12. Get A Durable, Moisture-Resistant, and Energy-Efficient Door for Your Home
  13. That wraps up our guide on how to fix a door that rubs at the top and other similar sticky door issues. If you’ve tried all of the above solutions, ruled out foundation damage, and you’re still left with a door that won’t unstick, then it’s definitely time for a new door. With a durable, moisture-resistant, and energy-efficient doors from Clera Windows + Doors, you can say goodbye to humidity-induced door problems. You’ll also get to save on maintenance and energy costs over time. Check out our doors today and get in touch with our team to get started!

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