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How to Fix a Sticking Door

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: William in North Carolina is dealing with some sticky doors. Tell us what’s going on.

    WILLIAM: Well, I’ve got this problem going on now. It’s been, oh, many years since we moved into this house, in 1992.

    TOM: OK.

    WILLIAM: It seems like some doors stick and the others don’t. And then when the doors that were sticking don’t stick anymore, the ones that were not sticking stick. So I can’t figure it out. I’ve been wondering, is it the paint job that they put on the doors when they built the house or is it something doing with – dealing with the climate or what?

    TOM: Well, it has to do with the climate, William, and it’s the fact that when it gets moist out, when it gets humid out, the doors will tend to swell more than when it – in the wintertime, when things are drier.

    Now, you can fix this by adjusting the swings – the door installation. You may have to reset the hinges to make a little bit more room around it. One of the things that you might also want to check is you could take the door off the hinges and look at the edge grain; that’s the very top and the very bottom of the door. If that wasn’t sealed, then that kind of acts as sort of the open door for all the moisture to get into that door and cause it to swell.

    So if you were to seal the top and the bottom of the door – I bet the sides are: the hinge side and the striker side. But the very top and the very bottom tend to be left untouched very often. And if you were to seal those with a clear finish, for example, or just to paint them – I don’t know if your doors are clear or not – then that will have an effect on stopping the doors from absorbing as much moisture.

    So it’s really a carpentry problem. It’s nothing mysterious about it; it’s just the doors are swelling, getting stuck in the openings. And you can rehang the door to address that. You can also seal the top and the bottom to slow it down, OK?

    WILLIAM: OK. Thank you very much.

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