With summer well over half-way through and the humidity of summer in full swing, many homeowners are dealing with one of the most common front door problems: sticky doors.
The seasonal change in the weather, from winter to spring and summer, and back to the cool of autumn and winter, causes the wood of the door to swell and press against the frame which causes the sticking and squeaking that homeowners hear. Installing a pre hung exterior door, where the door is guaranteed to be level, plumb in its frame, and given enough room to swell and shrink with the seasons can prevent this problem. But if you have an older door, here are some tips to help prevent the sticking.
Examine your door very carefully, opening and closing it to check where the sticking is happening. Once you have located it, you can use a little bit of sandpaper to remove enough paint or swelling to allow the door to close easily.
If you are unable to find the sticky spot easily, use a piece of carbon paper, like what you would find in a receipt book, placing it carefully around the door, closing and opening it until you can see where the sticking spot is.
If your door is very old, with many layers of paint and years of weathering, you may need to remove it and scrape or use a planer to remove the paint layers and thin layers of wood until it fits properly. If you must remove paint through sanding or planing, you’ll need to stain or finish your door again to preserve the integrity of the door.
If you wish to avoid sanding or planning the door, you can try a simple trick: use a paraffin wax taper candle and tea light candle.
First, hold the candle in your warm hand long enough to soften the wax a little bit. Then rub the candle back and forth over the sticky part of the door until it begins to feel smooth. Use the taper candle to fill in any cracked or split parts of the door.
Test the door until it can close smoothly with no sticking.
Old doors are the number one victim of swelling, a problem that can easily be remedied by installing a new door. With all of the beautiful, affordable styles available for homeowners, investing in a new door can save you time and money in maintaining your home.