Fix-it-yourself: Sticky doors

There are few things more frustrating than a sticky door. Houses located in areas with dramatically fluctuating climates are particular prone to seasonly sticking doors. If you’ve ever noticed a door that used to glide closed with little trouble suddenly becoming stubbornly sticky chances are that changes in temperature and humidity are to blame.

Fortunately, fixing a sticky door doesn’t necessary need to involve hiring a handyman. There are a couple of things you can try before picking up the phone. Here’s how to fix a sticky door!

Step 1: Check the hinges


Doing this step first can potentially save you a bunch of time and effort. Often the reason your door is sticking is all down to loose hinge screws. Open the door and tighten any loose screws. If you find any stripped screws move on to step 2. If tightening the screws doesn’t fix the problem it’ sadly time to move to step 3.

Step 2: Fix stripped screws


If a screw is turning without tightening it might have been stripped and will need replacing. Try swapping it out with a slightly longer screw. If that doesn’t work try stuffing a few toothpicks into the hole. The toothpicks will provide purchase for the screw.

Step 3: Find the source of the stick

Close the door and find the point where the door is rubbing against the frame. If you can’t see any sticking points try running a piece of paper around the closed door. If the paper sticks anywhere it’s likely that this is the problem.

Step 4: Consider the time of year

If the door only sticks in summer, it’s likely that the wood is expanding due to the humidity. In this case it’s problem best to not try anything too drastic to address the problem.

Step 5: Try some soap

If your door sticking is seasonal try rubbing the sticking area with a bar of dry soap. This will lubricate the area and prevent the door from sticking — at least temporarily.

Step 6: Get drastic

If you’ve tried everything and the door is still sticking It’s time to take the more severe step of sanding or planing the door.

Step 7: Mark the door


Using a pencil, mark the amount of wood that causing the door to stick.

Step 8: Sand it


If you only need to remove a small amount of wood try using some sandpaper. Take some course sandpaper and use it to remove the excess section of the door. Try and get as close to the pencil line as possible. Once you’ve removed the wood switch to some medium sandpaper followed by some fine sandpaper.

Step 9: Call a professional

If the amount of wood causing the door to stick is too big to remove with sandpaper we recommend calling a professional. The last thing you want to do is ruin your door!

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