Home Repair: Loosen A Sticking Door

Find out how to quickly loosen stuck doors in your house.

A sticking door in your house can be an annoying problem. It's not usually a major problem, but a problem just the same. Commonly, a sticking door can be caused by excessive heat and /or moisture or loose screws and hinges. Excessive heat and / or moisture can cause a door to swell in one or more places. Loose screws and hinges can cause the door to sag. In turn, the sagging can cause the bottom or other part of the door to drag and stick.

The first thing you need to do, if you need to loosen a sticking door, is to open and close the door, just until it sticks. You will need to do this repeatedly so you can watch the edge of the door to pinpoint every place that it sticks. If the door tends to stick along the side where the knob is, the problem might be that the wood is swollen. You can try rubbing beeswax, a generous amount of WD - 40 on a rag, or a bar of soap along that edge. The ever - popular WD - 40 is often used as a lubricant. Believe - it - or - not, "WD" stands for "water displacer". This product is said to have the ability to draw some of the moisture out of the wood door. Therefore, if the door is swollen, WD - 40 should help to take care of the water problem. Now, open and close the door again to see if that resolved the problem.

If that didn't work, check the hinges and all of the screws. Make sure the hinges are secured tightly against the door frame. Also, make sure the screws are all the way in, and are tightened. This is more often a problem with steel doors because they don't swell like wood doors do. Now, open and close the door again, and see if that resolved the problem. If it did, then maybe you need to install larger wood screws into to hold the hinges. Three inch wood screws will hold the hinges securely so the door can't sag anymore. Sagging occurs when the hinges comes loose from the door frame because the holding screws are too small.

Is it the door that is actually sticking? Up until now you have checked the door, but are you sure the problem isn't actually the frame around the door? You can also try rubbing beeswax, WD - 40 or a bar of soap on the door frame at the places where the door is sticking. Did this remedy loosen the door? If it didn't, then you might need to sand or plane the door down at the places where it's sticking.

To do this, you should have an assistant help you with handling the door. You will then need to mark on the door, by using a pencil, the places where the door is sticking. Then, have your assistant hold the door while you unscrew the hinges, or remove the pins from the hinges. Remove the door from its frame and set it up on the hinged end. First, try using a medium- grade sandpaper to smooth down the high spots. You don't want to use a planer unless you absolutely have to. The reason for this, is, with sandpaper, you can remove a very little bit of wood at a time. A planer tends to shave a lot more wood as it is passed across the wood surface. If you're not careful, you can shave off too much, and you can end up with a gap between the door and the frame.

If the door is sticking along the bottom instead of on the side edge, you will need to prop it up on two chairs. Then, have your assistant hold the door steady while you use either sandpaper or a planer to smooth down any high spots. Re-hang the door and check to see if this remedy loosened it. If it did, and the door is an exterior door, then you will need to finish up by applying a good - quality water sealer on the sanded or planed wood edge. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the container in order to achieve the best results. Allow the water sealer to dry thoroughly before you re-hang the door.

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