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Carpentry Tips | Fixing A Sticky Door | Don’t Come Unhinged
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Carpentry Tips | Fixing A Sticky Door | Don’t Come Unhinged

The method used for fixing a sticky door is easy if you don’t put off this little project. The steps below will help you fix a two hinged wooden door typical to any house interior wooden doors with wooden frames and jambs.

For the most part, it’s gravity that causes a door to pull away from the top hinge and that force over time pulls on the hinge and creates a gap along the side edge of the door where the top hinge is located. This makes the door slant away from the hinge. A gap will also be created along the side edge on the lower half of the door on the side opposite the hinges.

Now notice that the part of the door where the lower hinge is located has no gap. Likewise, there will be no gap where the door “sticks” on the upper opposite side of the door.. This is because the door is actually leaning away from the hinge at the top and leaving no space for the door to open and close without using muscles that aren’t usually tested on opening and closing doors.

Fixing a sticky door is fairly easy. You have to adjust the top hinge. Below are the steps to follow to fix a door that sticks.

Simple Steps to Fixing a Sticky Door

Note: Keep the door closed through this process.

Determine which part of the hinge is attached to the door. This is the piece that will be adjusted to fix the sticky door. It will be the half of the hinge that is attached to the door by the knuckles. There are five knuckles. Depending on how the hinge was first attached, there could be two or three knuckles attached to the side of the hinge that is screwed into the door. These are what we will adjust to fix the sticky door.

When you look at the door, you will see that the door is “sticking” along the edge of the upper half of the door opposite the hinge and actually leaning against the door’s frame. If you look below the knob at the edge of the door along the lower half, you should notice a gap that gets wider the closer you get to the floor. This is because gravity has done its job on the door.

Pull the pin from the upper hinge using a pair of dikes and a hammer. Put the cutter edge of the dikes under the head of the pin and use the hammer in an upward motion to smack the side of the dikes. Once you feel the pin start to give, you can fit the dikes against the pin (under the head) more snugly, and another blow or two of the hammer while pushing the dikes up simultaneously should release the pin. This is all it should take to free the pin from the hinge.

Once the pin is disengaged from the hinge, leave the door in place and closed. Take a medium sized crescent wrench and bend the knuckles of the hinge attached to the door (whether two or three) toward the door and away from the door frame. Only bend the knuckles as much as the widest part of the gap you noticed along the opposite edge on the lower half of the door. You can measure this or eyeball it if you’re feeling lucky.

Now take a small piece of plywood, just enough to make a wedge under the door where the door slants closest to the floor. Slide the plywood under the side of the door (under the knob) opposite the hinged side. If there is still play, slip another small piece of plywood under the first one and tap it with a hammer to get it in place if necessary to raise the door so that the door sits evenly in place. You may need more than two pieces of plywood to fill in the space. Adding them by placing them under the ones already there is easier than trying to squeeze them on top.

Check to make sure the bottom of the door is even. Now check out the hinge. The knuckles you bent should now be in line with the knuckles on the other half of the hinge (the one attached to the door frame). If they do not match, adjust them with the crescent wrench.

Once the knuckles all line up, put the pin back into place. You may have to tap it a few times with the hammer until it completely falls into place.

En voila! Your door should now glide open and closed easily with no more sticking. You may want to add a touch of WD-40 to the hinges to keep them pliable and quiet.

If a sticky door is not fixed while it’s this easy to adjust, more work will have to be done to fix the sticky door. Simply manhandling the door every time you open and close it can lead to more work than what is explained in this article. The screws holding the hinge in place may come loose from the wall. Typically, people often just tighten them until the wood in the frame can no longer hold them. Then they may replace the screws with larger screws that will hold for a while. Eventually though, the holes created by the screws in the frame will need to be filled, dried, and re-drilled or realigned.

Better to just fix the sticky door before this occurs.


Street Talk

Absolutely agree with your fix method, the only problem is when the house shifts again, you are doing exactly the opposite to get it back to the old position. Adjustable Hinges make all that house movement a non bother.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Yeah, I get you. We do have some pretty old houses around here! :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

If the door is really hard to fix. Maybe even a metal or fiberglass door that absolutely can not be shaved or cut. Try installting adjustable door hinges. They move the door up or down, side to side or even in and out. All you do is replace your existing hinges with Adjustable Door hinges. They are the same size and are installed with just a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Most sticking doors are due to seasonal settling , moisture or humidity. Seasonal settling of the foundation due can be due to freezing, lack of rain, to much rain. Using the adjustable door hinges lets you adjust the door whenever the need rises. Minutes to install and seconds to adjust....Just search for Adjustable Door Hinges on google and it is your first listing. It couldnt be easier

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for the info, Bill. I deliberately stuck to one kind of hinge to keep the article short. But, you are right, there are many types of hinges and many alternatives to the hinges I wrote about. These happen to be the type of hinges found in most homes in my area.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

I could use those skills in my antique house. Fix what I can, then call a carpenter or handyman if it's over my head. Do you know anything about masonry? Really good article Ann Marie.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Actually, I know quite a bit about masonry. Just finishing up a 16-page brochure for my nephew's masonry business and had to learn a lot more through research than I already knew from him. He said all the concepts and details I wrote about the processes were 'spot on'. But I've never actually performed any of the work -- I'm not strong enough :) I think anyone can learn how to do anything if they really want to...otherwise we'd have a world full of people who couldn't do anything

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Tasi  

Great article!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AnnMarie you are amazing. I am a princess and have no useful clue how to do anything like this! My dad and husband are carpenters though. I found you on FB btw but can't work out how to make my Page like another Page. I'm thinking of deleting my Page and starting a new profile where I can add friends! Stay tuned!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Having grown up in a dominantly male household, I learned a thing or two over the years and it comes in handy in my business as a professional organizer. I often find things that need to be fixed in the houses I organize - it gives me an edge there and my customers love that I'm a handywoman too. Of course, I have my limitations...I don't touch electrical things or anything that has anything to do with gas - not even a propane tank - I'm scared of that stuff! :) I'll be waiting!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article AnnMarie. Not only can you write outstanding articles, but you can do a lot of other things too.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Daniel, you have no idea! I am like a jack-of-all-trades...I think it has something to do with my ADD! LOL Thanks for the compliment.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

we are alike. I am a jack of all trades also. Learn a lot from my dad and ran with it. If I think I can do it, I will do it. I guess that is why I am doing IM, I am doing it , just hope I can make it work.

  
  about 7 years ago

Hey AnnMarie need a job, looking for work? Come visit in sunny South Africa, I could use a girl like you around the house for a day or two. Accommodation and food supplied, air fare? sorry can't afford it. Great article, useful for those who have the problem.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I'd love to visit, Rob. I am handy to have around :) but can't afford air fare either.... :( Hugs!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

What a shame, my house having just been hit by a flood, I need the help!

  
  about 7 years ago
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