Is your door sticking, rubbing, jamming or wedging?
Whether you have a timber or plastic (Upvc) door, just follow our guide to solving this common issue.
As an added bonus we’ll also show you how to stop a door from slamming shut.
Reasons Why A Door May Be Sticking or Jamming
There are many reasons why you may find it difficult to close a door:
Not that we want to scare you but if your house is slowly sinking, the first thing you will notice is the doors become wedged against the frame or they won’t fully close. You’ll also see cracks in the internal plastering and also on the external walls. This is very rare so first check the more common reasons a door may get stuck or jam.
When a house is first built the timbers used in the construction are straight and rigid. The weight of the roof tiles, felting, plasterboards and all your possessions in the house causes some minor movement, this is a known issue and is called settling. Most new houses will experience at least some settling during the first two years after construction. If this has affected your property, you may find that some of the doors in your home now rub against the frame or floor and are difficult to close.
Damp, Flooding and Humid Conditions
Timber often swells and enlarges when it becomes wet or damp, this problem can be exasperated by warm humid conditions. If the door and frame enlarge, you may find it difficult to close the door. This issue usually affects timber front doors that are splashed with water during rainfall. Doors in damp bathrooms and kitchens may also swell and become difficult to close.
Doors sometimes slip or drop downwards, they then rub or wedge against the floor or frame. This issue is usually the result of the screws in the hinge coming loose. If you’ve just had new carpets fitted, they may be slightly thicker than the previous floor covering and this could make the problem worse.
Doors usually squeak when the hinge has become dry and the parts are rubbing on each other. The solution to this problem is quick and simple.
Step by Step Guide to Fixing Your Door
For timber doors, just follow the instructions below. Issues with plastic doors are discussed further down this page.
1 – Place a wedge under the door to stop the door from sinking.
2 – Ask a friend to support the door while you loosen the screws. If the door needs to be raised, try pulling it upwards and holding it place before tightening the screws. If any of the screws refuse to tighten, you can replace them with a larger screw or remove them and insert a small plug or even a matchstick into the hole, then wind in a new screw.
3 – If the door is still rubbing on the frame, you can use a belt sander with a coarse sandpaper to gradually grind off any excess paint and trim the door down. Ask a friend to hold a hoover to the door, this will prevent sawdust from getting everywhere. If you need to trim the door by more than a few millimetres, it would be easier (and far less messy) to completely remove the door and trim it with a planer.
4 – If the door is rubbing on the carpet or flooring and raising the door by loosening/tightening the screws has failed to resolve the issue, you’ll need to remove the door and trim the base, either with a belt sander or a planer.
Once the door has been trimmed/planed and now fits snugly into the frame without catching or rubbing, you should take these steps:
- Place newspaper under the door and oil the hinges. Hinge issues are a common cause of door failure and can be prevented by a drop or two of oil every few years or so. This will also reduce or entirely eliminate annoying squeaky noises.
- Make sure you paint any bare wood, even if you can’t see it. Do remember that bare wood will absorb moisture and may expand, causing the door to jam again.
- If you suspect that water or damp has caused the door to swell, take steps to remedy this over the long term. For rain-soaked front doors, install or upgrade the door canopy or porch hood. For bathrooms or kitchens, you may need to install or upgrade the air extraction fan. For homes that suffer from condensation problems, install a Passive Input Ventilation system or check out our guide to resolving condensation issues.
UPVC/Plastic Door Issues
Plastic doors are different from wooden doors – you can’t plane or sand them.
These doors may expand slightly during the summer and shrink a little during cold winter spells but that shouldn’t compromise them.
If your plastic door is sticking, rubbing or jamming, follow these steps:
Butt hinges are one of the most common types of hinges and while they offer the least amount of adjustment, you can tweak them slightly.
Use a flat-headed screwdriver to pop off the plastic cap to reveal the adjustable bolt:
Now use an Allen key to adjust the bolt:
Now repeat the process across all the hinges. Most will have two adjustment points, one at the top and one at the base of each hinge:
These hinges are similar to butt hinges and you can follow the steps above, you’ll also notice a lateral adjustment point that Butt hinges don’t have:
As you can see from the picture above, the flag hinge has vertical and horizontal adjustment points.
As you adjust one hinge, the door may pivot, so you’ll need to adjust the other hinges on the door accordingly.
How To Stop A Door From Slamming Shut
Once you’ve adjusted the door to prevent it wedging or jamming, you may find that it slams shut.
To prevent this from happening, try one of these products:
The product below will stop a door from slamming shut, you can still close the door but only slowly:
This anti-slam door stopper isn’t cheap but will prevent door slamming while automatically closing the door gently and silently:
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