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How to Fix a Door That Sticks

Wooden doors typically become sticky due to humidity-induced swelling. The problem might also arise because loose hinges are letting the door sag against the jamb. Both issues can even happen at the same time. Fortunately, learning how to fix a door that sticks requires only a few tools. You’ll want to end up with between 1/8 and 3/16 inches between the door and jamb. This space is known as the reveal.

How to Fix a Door That Sticks

  1. Shut the door and examine the reveal to see where the door is sticking against the jamb.
  2. If the door is sagging unevenly against the jamb, check the hinges.
  3. To repair loose hinges, use a screwdriver to remove the screws.
  4. Shape a wood scrap with a pocket knife into a slightly tapered, 1/4-inch strip that will fit in the hole.
  5. Apply wood glue to the strip and hole and tap the plug into the hole with a hammer.
  6. Insert the screws while the glue is wet so that the plug and glue will dry tight against the screw. Snug hinges may resolve a sticking door.
  7. Learning how to fix a door that sticks could require planing the door edge.
  8. Tap out the hinge pins using a flat head screwdriver and hammer.
  9. Take the door off and set it up so that you can work on the edge.
    1. Planing the edge with the hinges is typically easier than planing the edge with the latch assembly.
  10. Use a screwdriver to take the hinges off of the door.
  11. Chisel the mortises that held hinges 1/8 inch deeper.
    1. Hammer the chisel straight down along the edges of the mortise and then angle the chisel to remove material.
  12. With a hand planer, remove about 1/8 inch of wood from door edge.
  13. Sand the edge.
  14. Prime and paint the planed edge so that it will look nice and resist humidity.
  15. Put the hinges back on the door edge.
  16. Rehang the door and insert the pin on the top hinge first.
  17. Test the swing of the door.

Tools & Materials

You will only need wood scraps and glue if stripped screw holes for the hinges need to be repaired.
  • Hand plane
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammer
  • Pocket knife
  • Chisel
  • Paint brush
  • Small wood scraps
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper

Door Repairs by PJ Fitzpatrick

From large home improvement projects to small fixes, PJ Fitzpatrick accepts jobs of all sizes throughout the Delaware Valley. We can help you repair troublesome exterior doors, simply request an estimate today.

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