Home Improvement

How to Fix a Door that Sticks

5 min read

It’s one of the most common minor home improvement projects. One day your door works perfectly, and the next it needs more arm strength than any door should require to open. If you’re the handy sort, you already know the basics of home repair. Let’s discuss some of the common problems with a sticking door and how to repair them. 

Why is Your Door Sticking?

First, if the door that is sticking is wood, the reason it’s difficult to open and close may be environmental. Wood swells and contracts with the weather and humidity in the air, which can make it hard to operate. If this is persistent, you can use a small jigsaw or belt sander to trim the parts of the door that are sticking. This is one of the reasons we use fiberglass for our entry doors: fiberglass does not shrink or swell like wood.

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Next, let’s check for other external culprits. It may not be your door’s fault at all! Some doors can stick due to shifting foundations, especially in older homes. If you’re also having problems with your windows sticking or cracks in your walls, the foundation may be settling. That’s a problem that is likely best solved by an experienced professional. If it’s just your door though, go ahead and grab your trusty bag of tools. It’s time to troubleshoot that door. 

front entry door

How to Fix a Sticking Door

Step 1: Inspect the Sticking Door to Find the Cause

Now that you’ve determined it’s not your foundation at fault, look to the door frame. Are the hinges connected well to the frame? If they’re at all loose, you may have found your culprit. The door could also be damaged or warped, making further repairs to the hinges a losing battle. 

Step 2: Clean the Door and Lubricate the Hinges

Eliminating the most likely causes will either completely fix your issue or help eliminate a possible cause from your inspection. Clean the door with your preferred household cleaner, including hinges, and give the hinges a good amount of lubrication. Open and close your door a few times, seeing if the stickiness has improved or is about the same. If it’s the same, proceed to step three. 

Step 3: Tighten the Hinges and Plating

Can you pinpoint where the stickiness is originating from? If it happens closer to the top or the bottom of the door as you open or shut it, investigate the hinges and plating. Tighten the frame plate and screws carefully. 

Step 4: Replace Old Screws

Check out the screws. Are they screwed tightly to the frame? Any looseness can lead to problems with door movement. Be careful not to overtighten, though—you could break the screws if you put too much pressure on them. 

If the problem isn’t with the door frame or hinges, the screws may simply not be long enough for the door hinge and frame. You’ll know this is the case if you’re turning and turning with your screwdriver but not seeing any progress on the screw’s movement. In that case, you’ll need to take a trip to the hardware store and grab a longer set of screws. Again, secure your correctly sized screws nice and tight to the hinges to prevent future movement issues with the door. 

Step 5: Readjust Your Door

If the door is still giving you trouble, take the door entirely off the hinges and readjust it in the frame. It may be that the door was either installed improperly or you may have missed a little dust and dirt in between hinges and taking it off the frame entirely helped get rid of any problems. 

Step 6: Determine Whether You Should Replace Your Door

If none of the above sound like your door, the door could simply be warped or otherwise damaged. This happens over time and is most often seen in older doors or if you’ve had water damage. If this is the case, it may be time for a new door. Luckily for you, Window World has a great selection of high-quality doors to choose from. We make our doors from fiberglass, so you’ll never have to worry about warping.   

Kitchen with white sliding patio door

How to Fix a Sliding Glass Door That is Hard to Open

If your sticking door is a sliding glass door, that’s an entirely different set of problems to tackle. This isn’t determined so much by your home as by the door itself, so we’ll skip on ruling out external factors this time. 

Start out by checking the track and rollers. Carefully remove the problem door from the track — take it out from the top if possible to ensure no damage is done to the rollers in the process. Use a screwdriver to remove the rollers from the door. If they’ve just gotten dirty, clean them and you should be set. If they’re damaged, you may need to order a new set of rollers from your provider. 

If the rollers seem to be in good shape, check the track and clean it thoroughly. Debris stuck in the track is most likely your culprit for why your sliding glass door sticks, so if the sliding door still sticks after you’ve cleaned both the rollers and the track, it may be time for a new sliding door

When Should You Replace Your Doors That Stick?

It may be time to replace your door if the common household fixes we’ve listed above have not addressed the problem. That indicates a larger problem with the door, and replacement is the best option in that case. Alternately, if the problem is that the door is damaged, upgrade to make opening and shutting your door a simple process again.

Need a Replacement Door? We’ve Got You Covered

If it is time for you to get a new door, don’t worry: Window World doors are secure and energy-efficient as well as made with high-quality craftsmanship. Satisfy your personal style while resting assured that should you need it, Window World doors are covered by a lifetime warranty for larger repairs. If you face a problem with the door, simply contact Window World of Kansas City and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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