One of the most obvious signs that a house is settling, is when a door begins to stick that did not stick before. Often times, you can also see diagonal cracks in the drywall above the doors in a settling house. The best repair option depends on the cause of the settlement in the crawl space.
Houses show signs of settling for several possible reasons but the result is the same, the structure is dropping because it lacks proper support. Either the building structure is sagging, compressing, or sinking. The key to proper foundation repair is to first stabilize the structure and stop the doors, walls, and floors from getting worse.
Most sticking doors caused by settlement also show signs of movement in the trim around the door. If the house is settling and doors are sticking, you’ll also the corners of the trim around the door open too.
Here are the most common causes of sticking doors and settlement:
- Floor joists are sagging
- Support beams are bowing
- Moisture and weight are causing the wooden framing to compress
- Piers are settling
There could be any combination of these issues causing the doors to stick. The best way to repair an area depends on the circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach can come up short so a professional analysis of the building structure and crawl space conditions is recommended.
Here are the steps to repair a settling house and stop the doors from sticking worse:
- Eliminate the sources of moisture. Wet wood is weak.
- Accurately identify the structure supporting the sticking door.
- Sister floor joists
- Replace or reinforce support beams
- Install new floor supports under existing beams
- Install new floor supports under new supplemental beams
- Take steps to ensure the exterior footing is not settling
The specific causes of sticking doors in a home are unique to that home. A trained professional should diagnose the problem before any repairs are installed, to prevent wasting money on ineffective solutions.