Sticky Doors

Over time, wood expands and changes shape in response to different moisture levels in the air. Doors often rub on their trim, causing the familiar sticking door, which is annoying but easy enough to fix.

How to fix a sticky door:

1. Examine the door and try to determine where it is sticking. First, try tightening any loose hinges—top, bottom, or both—depending on where the door is catching.

2. If the door still sticks, mark the places where it sticks with light pencil or chalk lines.

3. Wearing safety glasses, sand the door gradually at the marked spots, extending the sanding a little beyond the marked boundaries. As frequently as is practical, test the door and only sand until it fits smoothly into the frame.

4. Wipe the door clean and apply several thin coats of clear wood sealer, varnish, or paint over the sanded spots, to match the original finish. This will prevent moisture from entering and swelling the door again.


If the door only sticks in wet weather, wait for a dry period to sand and seal the edges.
Don’t put the new varnish or paint on too thick or you’ll be sanding the door all over again!
If your door rattles, add small rubber cushions to the door stop to narrow the gap between the door and the stop. The cushions can be found in most hardware stores, and will also make a door close more quietly.

Sticky Door Latch or Bolt

We talked about a sticking door, but what if the door is fine and just the latch or bolt sticks? A sticking latch bolt is usually caused by a buildup of dirt and insufficient lubrication If your key sticks or has trouble turning, there is an easy way to fix it Simply spray the keyhole with an all purpose spray lubricant, Try the key again—it should work effortlessly.

If the latch bolt is misaligned with the strike plate, it won’t fit into the strike plate’s opening. Check the door for loose hinges first. If the problem persists, align the strike plate and latch bolt.
Warping, due to humidity or water penetration, is another cause of latch bolt problems. Use a straightedge to see if the door is warped, and straighten it if necessary.


Flow to adjust or align your strike plate:

1. Unscrew the strike plate from the doorjamb and set it aside.

2. Take a pencil and mark up the end of bolt.

3. Close the door and turn the latch so that the bolt hits the doorjamb.

4. This should leave a mark on the doorjamb. This mark will show how you need to adjust the strike plate. You may need to use a chisel to adjust the hole.

5. Replace the strike plate so it aligns correctly with the bolt.