Why Are My Doors Sticking In The Winter?

Have you ever noticed that your doors start sticking, but only some of the time during winter? Needless to say, this can be a very irritating. In most cases, the culprit is the changing heat and humidity of the seasons.

Hot and humid air causes wood to expand. The wood absorbs a small amount of the water in the air and swells up.

Cold and dry air has the opposite effect. As the wood dries out, it shrinks slightly.

If your door is sticking during the winter, this probably means that the frame around the door is contracting more than the door itself, thus making a tighter fit. Your door may have also absorbed some heat and moisture from inside the house, causing it to swell slightly in comparison to the frame.

In rare cases, a house with a shallow foundation may experience stuck doors for a different reason. When the ground freezes in the winter, it expands. This shift in the ground could slightly warp the structure of the house. As a result, doors might not fit squarely into their frames anymore.

It’s one thing to understand that heat, humidity shifts, and seasonal changes are the cause of your sticking doors. However, that does not do anything to alleviate the problem!

Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can employ to un-stick those doors and get them swinging freely again.

  • Tighten hinge screws – Sometimes this simple adjustment can solve the problem. Open up the door to access the hinges and tighten the screws if you can. This may pull the door up to the frame on the hinged side, alleviating any sticking spot on the other side.
  • Find the sticking spot – For these next two tips, you’ll want to find the precise spots along the door’s edge that are getting stuck. One simple way of locating these spots only requires a playing card. Just insert the card into the gap between the door and the frame. Run it along the gap until you feel a spot where it gets stuck.
  • Wax – Paraffin wax is a great lubricant. It’s even used on snowboards and skis. Take a white paraffin candle (the small round tea candles work great) and warm it in your hands for a few minutes. Then, rub it along the parts of the door and frame that are sticking until they have a nice coating of wax. After about half an hour, test out the door again and re-apply as necessary.
  • Smoothing Plane or sandpaper – Another option is to shave off just a little of the wood from the spot your door is sticking to. If you don’t have a plane, you can use a sanding block or sandpaper. Only remove a very thin layer of wood at a time and test the door each time. Stop as soon as it is not sticking anymore. Afterwards, put on some sanding sealer or varnish. Quick-dry is best, since you want to minimize swelling where the wood has been exposed.

Author Bio: Anne Flemings loves interior designing and is always in pursuit of the latest changes and trends in home improvement. She is an expert in designing spectacular house windows and doors. Her other interests lies in cooking, painting and blogging. She is an enthusiast homemaker who lives in Toronto with her husband and two kids. She can be followed on twitter.