Learning Center

Find the answers to your home improvement questions.

How to Fix a Sticking Door

Sticking doors may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but try living with one. Constantly tugging and slamming a door inside your home is extremely irritating. Thankfully, you can do several things to fix a sticking door, all of which are simple DIY projects.

fix a sticking door

Check All the Screws

One of the most common culprits for a sticking door is the hinges. Over time, the screws may loosen just enough to make the door hang crooked. You might not notice it when you look at the door, but you’ll feel it every time you try to shut or open the door. Use a screwdriver to tighten all the screws in the door hinges. Don’t grab the drill, as it can tighten the screws too much, which may risk stripping them.

If that doesn’t work, it may be the strike plate–the metal tab that’s attached to the jamb which holds the latch in place when the door is closed. The screws there may have come a little loose, and a protruding strike plate will make your door stick, too.

Determine Humidity Levels

If your hinges and strike plate are tight, check the humidity levels in your house. A hygrometer will tell you the exact levels of humidity; a serious humidity problem will make the wood of your doors swell. If you notice that your doors only stick in the summer, you probably don’t need a hygrometer to tell you that it’s humidity. Before you do anything to the door or the frame, lower the humidity in your house to between 30 and 50 percent and see if that solves the problem.

Sand the Door

Once you’ve eliminated the simple options to fix a sticking door, your next choice is to plane the door. Basically, you sand or shave off a tiny bit from the sticky edge to make it fit better. You’ll have to open and close the door several times to figure out where the door is hitting the jamb and sticking. With a little observation it should become clear. Once you know where the problem is, you’ll have to take the door off its hinges to do the sanding. Only sand off a tiny amount, or the absolute bare minimum you need to keep it working correctly.

Rehang the Door

When that’s done, you’ll rehang the door. It’s a bit of an unwieldy job, so you might need to ask someone to help you, but it’s not very complicated. You don’t have to remove the hinges at all, just the pins that keep them together. That way, putting the door back up is simply a matter of matching the hinges together again and replacing the pins. If you have to do it by yourself, use shims to balance the door before removing the hinge pins.

You don’t have to call a carpenter or replace annoying doors. Get the doors in your home opening and closing smoothly with a little effort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You can use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.