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How to Fix a Stuck Entry Door

Doors are for opening or closing.  However, one thing they’re definitely not for is sticking. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to fixing stuck entry doors.

With it, you’ll be coming and going in no time at all!

So, Why Do Doors Stick?

A lot of entry doors are made of wood. The thing about wood is that it’s always changing. Even after being cut and formed into a finished object (like a door), wood still absorbs and releases moisture depending on the environment it’s in.

stuck entry door made out of wood

Moist summer air makes it expand, dry winter air makes it contract. As you can imagine, this can have a pretty dramatic effect on your door. In fact, we’d say this is the number one cause behind sticky doors.

But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the only cause.

Your door is connected to the frame by small metal brackets called hinges. Sometimes the screws fastening the hinges to the frame can become loose. Hinges can also start to seize up; the metal-on-metal composition starting to create greater and greater resistance.

Sometimes, it’s not your door at all – it’s the frame itself. See, your door-frame is also made of wood which is tied into the structural-frame of your house, also wood, and this structural-frame could be moving and settling throughout your home’s lifespan. This can lead to your door-frame shifting and becoming out of square in relation to the door itself.

Those are the problems – now for the solutions.

Locating the Problem

It’s unlikely that the entirety of your door is having an issue. You may have one, maybe two, specific areas that are causing the problem. Which means step one is locating where these are.

Start with doing a once-over on the door. Here you are going to be paying close attention to the perimeter of the door and trying to see any places where there’s evident friction or signs that the wood has been rubbing (this will typically take the form of scuffs or scratches in the paint/finish).

Another handy trick, especially when your eyes just don’t seem to be cutting it, is to snag a piece of heavy card-stock paper and run it around the perimeter of the door while it’s closed. Typically there will be enough of a gap between the door and the frame that the paper can move pretty freely around the sides. Pay attention to where the page starts to get caught – that’s probably the tight spot that’s causing the issue.

You will also want to do an inspection on the hinges in case the problem is with their functioning rather than the door itself. To do this, gently rotate the door in and out. Listen to how the hinges sound. If they make any sort of creaking or grating sound, you’ll know that’s your trouble. You’ll also want to observe how they feel as you move the door, any looseness in the connection between the door and the hinge likely means the screws are on their way to working loose.

Finally, you’ll want to take note of what season it is. If it’s summer, you probably have some moisture issues. If it’s winter, check those hinges or the frame itself.

Resolving Seasonal Issues

Like we said before, seasonal changes in moisture levels are the single most common cause of sticky doors. The good news is, they are fairly easy to address.

A good place to start, though it’s somewhat of a temporary solution, is to apply soap to the specific areas that are sticking. You’ll want to grab some type of dry bar-soap and ensure that it’s moisturizer-free; the last thing you want to do is add even more moisture! Again, this is a good quick fix but temporary in that you will have to monitor and re-apply soap as needed.

Another solution, and it’s just as simple, is to crank up that AC. Along with cooling your air, part of the AC unit’s job is to bring some stability to the moisture content of the air in your house. This means that when you crank it on, it’s going to draw out some of that excess moisture from the room and also your door – the door shrinks back into proper place and you’re good to go!

But sometimes the AC just doesn’t get that punch of moisture removal you need. That’s when you bring out the big guns and purchase a dehumidifier. The sole, dedicated purpose of these machines is to remove moisture from the air and are sure to make quick work of your seasonal door-swelling troubles.

Fixing Problems with Hinges

When it comes to hinges, there are really only two things that can go wrong. Either the hinge is becoming loose or it’s starting to seize up.

door hinge getting installed on a door

If during your initial inspection you’ve found that there’s looseness in the connections of the hinges, all you have to do is grab a screwdriver and tighten all the screws back down. Yup, that’s it – just a screwdriver and some good old elbow grease.

If you’ve found that the hinges are starting to seize then you’ll need to take a different, but just as simple, approach. Go pick up some WD-40 from the hardware store and apply a hearty amount of it onto the hinges that are causing trouble. Bear in mind that this is a spray lubricant that tends to go everywhere – it’d be a good idea to lay some newspaper down to protect your flooring.

Repairing Your Door’s Structural Issues

So you’ve tried all the above without any luck eh? You, my friend, have a structural issue. But don’t fret – there’s a solution for this as well!

This step is a tad bit more involved than the previous ones but it’s definitely still doable.

You’ll start by locating the problem areas on your door in the manner we outlined above. Then you’ll need to go purchase a block plane from your local hardware store. This is basically a tool that has a flat sole with a blade protruding past it that allows you to take smooth, even trimmings off your door. And that’s exactly what you’re going to do, carefully taking a few runs across the trouble spots with your plane and then testing to see if the door has been restored to a proper fit. You’ll just gradually repeat this process until you get the issue solved.

Once you get the door properly trimmed, you’ll want to re-paint or re-finish over this area to restore your door to its original glory. And then, you’re done – structural issues conquered!

Best Entry Door Repair is Replacement

One way to get over the stuck entry door problem is by getting a complete door replacement. No matter how many times you try to repair broken hinges and seasonal moisture door problems, the problem with the door getting stuck is Inevitable. That’s why over 400,000 happy customers choose Feldco for front entry door replacement. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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