Resource Article

How to Fix a Sticking Door Once and for All

Blake Heron

Sometimes it seems like home improvement projects are never-ending. It’s no wonder that that home improvement market grew over 5% in 2019. Whether you have a new home or an old one, there always seems to be something that needs an adjustment or replacement.

As with all houses, new and old, settling can lead to common house repairs that need to be completed for a functional home.

For instance, one of the most common problems homeowners need to solve due to settling is to have to learn how to fix a sticking door. The good news is most times this can be an easy fix.

However, sometimes this can be signs of a more serious problem that requires the help of an expert.

What Are the Main Causes of a Sticky Door

Believe it or not, there are three main reasons why you may have a sticky door:

  • Your hinge screws are loose
  • Your hinge is in the wrong position creating tightness in an area of a closed-door
  • Your house is settling, so adjustments need to be made to correct the door (see 1 and 2)

That’s about it. Whether you are having foundation problems, or your house is settling, sooner or later doors will need to be fixed.

Fixing the Loose Hinge Screw Problem

The first step in solving the loose hinge screw problem is to open up your door, grab a screwdriver, and check those screws. Now, you may come to find that one or more of your hinge screws is loose. Great! This may just fix your sticking door problem!

However, you may run into a case where one screw is stripped and you cannot tighten the screw. If this happens, there is an easy solution.

  1. Remove the stripped screw from the hinge
  2. Grab a longer and fatter screw to replace the old screw
  3. Use a drill to screw in the new screw
  4. Shut the door and see if the problem is fixed

The longer and fatter screw will fix the problem of the first stripped hole because it will force the new screw to employ new wood around it. This will strengthen the hinge in the door jab, making it tighter than before. If done correctly, you will see the hinge secure tighter to the door jam.

After you have completed the steps above, shut the door and check to see if the door is still sticking. One of two things will happen:

  • You will either see the door is fixed and there are nice gaps around all parts of the door
  • Your door will still have a place where it sticks and more adjustments will be in order

Correcting the Hinge Placement Issue

So you have opened the door, tightened all the screws in the door jam, and your door is still sticking. Now what?

This is a common problem during this type of home improvement job.

If this is the case, chances are your hinge needs to be adjusted to be further away from the door. This is a simple fix.

Here’s what to do:

  • Close the door and inspect where the gaps are (gaps are good)
  • Look for parts of the door where the door is rubbing

Rubbing usually occurs in the following areas:

  • At the top of the door. Usually related to settling and foundation problems
  • At the top side of the door (most commonplace)
  • At the bottom side of the door

Once you have found the rubbing area on the door, simply replace the middle screw in the door hinge around where you see rubbing happening with a longer screw. I suggest a screw at least 3 inches in length.

By using a long screw, it will force the hinge to rest closer to the wall framing. If your hinge placement is the problem, this should fix the issue.

If not, it is time to move on to more drastic measures.

The Problem of Settling or Weak Foundation

If none of the above fix your sticky door, chances are your house is settling or your foundation is weakened, causing the house to sag against the door.

If this is the case, replacing screws with larger or fatter ones will not fix the problem alone. More drastic measures are in order.

Here is what to do:

  • Grab a construction pencil to mark the door
  • Shave it with a belt sander
  • Make sure it fits into the rough opening

By doing these things, you’ll ensure that your door now has spaces around the door jam and no longer sticks. It’s not the easiest option, but it will do the trick.

Final Thoughts on How To Fix A Sticking Door

Home improvement projects may not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, but they are essential to the upkeep of your home. By now, you have learned how to fix a sticking door.

As you have seen, this doesn’t have to be a grueling or difficult process, yet handled with practicality, in short, simple steps to resolve the problem you will be happy with your results.

By following the advice in this article you will be well on your way to solving and tackling the sticky door issue in your household.

Remember to start with the solutions on the top and working your way down the list. This post was designed as a guide to help you not start with the worst-case scenario.

Worst-case scenarios, especially with sticky doors, tend not to always be the case. Even so, it’s good to know that if that should be the case, you have a way to solve that issue as well.

Remember to check your door, check those screws, check those hinges, then worry about foundation and settling. With this mindset, you will be well on your way to a functional home where the doors don’t stick.

If this home improvement project seems too daunting, feel free to contact us for help.

Written By Blake Heron

Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.

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