How to Repair a Problem Door

Doors in need of repair are aggravating, and problem doors usually become worse during bouts of heat and humidity. Although it takes a little work to repair a door, it is possible to repair the problem yourself with a few simple adjustments. From shimming hardware and tightening screws to sanding and planing the wood, you can repair a door that sticks and free yourself from the continual aggravation of household doors that won’t properly open and close.

A Quick Repair

A door that never before had a problem with sticking might be doing so because of humid weather. Before making any permanent adjustments, try this quick repair. Once humid weather subsides, this may no longer be a problem. Simply take a bar of wet soap and rub it over the area that seems to be sticking. This bit of lubrication might be enough to repair the problem.

Hinge Adjustment

Hinges that are out of adjustment can cause doors to begin sticking as can the settling of the house. If you suspect the hinges are misaligned because of settling or weren’t installed properly in the first place, a simple adjustment might repair the problem. Begin by inserting a wedge beneath the outer edge of the door so it remains steady. If you discover that the door is sticking at the top, remove the screws from the hardware of the lower hinge and place a cardboard shim beneath it. Replace the screws, and it should no longer stick. If the door is sticking at the bottom, follow this process with the upper hinge.

Planing Edges

If adjusting the hinges doesn’t repair the problem, trying planing the door to remove some of the edge. Using a sharp planing tool, follow the grain of the wood from the outer edge to the middle, and remove the portion of the surface where the door is sticking. If taking off a small portion doesn’t solve the problem, the entire edge will need to be planed. Once the door opens and closes without sticking, check it with a level to make sure it’s even. If it isn’t even, go over it with the planing tool in the proper location to make it as level as possible.

Preventing Sticking

Bare wood should always be primed and painted or stained and varnished to avoid moisture from entering the wood. As previously mentioned, humidity entering the wood will cause it to swell, and protecting the wood can prevent this from happening. Wood that is already painted might be covered with too many coats of paint, and this will also cause a door to stick. If multiple coats of paint seem to be the problem, simply go over the edge of the door with a sanding block to remove layers of paint. This alone could be enough to keep a door from sticking.

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