What It Could Mean If Your Doors Stick

Sticking doors can indicate many problems in the home, but often, it signifies a minor issue that can be solved with relative ease. However, if your door is sticking, you shouldn't wait to investigate the trouble by chalking it up to a simple problem and related solution. HD Foundations reports that a sticking door might come from loosening screws or other simple matters, yet they can also indicate cracks in the foundation that are beginning to affect the entire home. Foundation problems often start as a result of shifting soil beneath the home. This occurs naturally over time when intense changes in the weather cause the soil to freeze, thaw, and freeze again, introducing excessive moisture to the space beneath your home.

Whether your home is suffering from a major issue that must be repaired as soon as possible or simply a minor misalignment coming from increased humidity in the air or simple wear and tear, door sticking is a concrete indicator of repair works that must be undertaken. As a homeowner, you need to listen to the warnings your home provides, and this one speaks loudly when something is amiss.

Debris and other obstructions can build up on the hinges

Above Board Building & Pest Inspections reports that many issues leading to a sticky door are quite simple and can be easily solved. One problem that occurs more frequently than you might expect is the buildup of debris and dirt on your door's hinges. Both interior and exterior facing doors suffer from this problem, and Above Board recommends cleaning the hinges every three months to defeat this issue. Your hinges are a metal component of a physical tool that is used multiple times every day. This means they must maintain a certain level of oil or grease to continue serving their purpose effectively. WD-40 is a common metal part maintenance solution, and a sticky door may simply need a spray down to return to practical functionality.

However, it should be noted that Home Improvement Scout reports a lack of long-term efficacy in using WD-40 for door hinges, specifically in solving either a sticky or squeaky door movement. WD-40, it is reported, isn't a lubricant but rather a solvent designed to soak into metal parts and prevent rusting and other similar issues. The site recommends cooking oils, petroleum jelly, or even a simple bar of soap from your bathroom soap dish as efficient alternatives to WD-40 when seeking to clean out a dirty or otherwise obstructed hinge.

Humidity wreaks havoc on a doorway hardware function

Bob Vila reports that doors may stick in the summer when humidity reaches a high point in the year. If you're seeing sticking issues only during the hotter months, then you likely don't have to worry about a larger looming issue in the household, even though one problem doesn't necessarily rule out another. Humidity changes the way wooden features of the home rest in their positions. This happens for the same reason that high heat and humidity can cause parts of your body — like your hands, feet, fingers, and toes — to swell slightly (via LIVESTRONG). The organic material that makes up wooden doors and furniture will see some natural changes throughout the year, but if you are experiencing increased stickiness during the summer months, sanding or planning the edges of the door can easily solve this issue.

Planing is the process of shaving off slivers of material from a wooden surface and has the effect of quickly removing unwanted material (faster than sanding can accomplish this task). Using a planer is simple and something anyone can pick up with a few simple technique tips (via Paul Sellers). If you don't have access to an electric or hand planer, sandpaper will work just as well. Sanding down the rough edge of the door to create a smooth and slightly smaller profile will solve this matter in a flash.

Sticking doors can signal significant foundation trouble

While most problems that cause sticking doors aren't severe and can be remedied with a simple fix, a sticking door can be a sign that you've got greater issues in the home that must be dealt with. HD Foundations reports that door and window misalignment and trouble opening and closing can be one of the earliest indicators that your foundation is experiencing a failure. Also, cracks in the floor, walls, or ceiling, uneven walking surfaces, and issues in the orientation of cabinetry hanging on the wall can all signal this much bigger issue.

Angi reports that foundation repair can cost as little as $500 but that most repair works in this arena will range between $2,010 and $7,060. The greater the extent of damage, the more you should expect to pay for this repair. Therefore, taking care of sticking doors as soon as you notice the problem can help you identify a foundation issue early on in its expansion, potentially saving you thousands of dollars that it could cost to repair a much greater landscape of damage down the road.