How to fix a sticky door (or a door that doesn’t even close)


My house is over a hundred years old, 108 to be exact. It’s settled a bit over the years, and seems to be still settling, ever-so-slightly. I’m a bit concerned about it, but most of my house-savvy friends tell me not to worry about it, the house is 100 years old and it’s only settled this far already…

Because of all this settling, though, my front door has always been a bit sticky. In the past year or so, it’s apparently settled just enough to cross over from sticky to the top of the door not closing all the way. This has created a situation where I need to pull on the doorknob while I lock the door – with the top of the door bending slightly toward the interior. Not ideal. I’ve been putting off dealing with it for a while, but I eventually realized that time would only make it worse, and I might risk permanently warping the door. That, and the not-completely-closed door creates quite a draft in my living room.

THE FIX
About 15 minutes with some medium grit sandpaper. I simply got on a ladder, and sanded down the top corner of the door, as well as the corresponding portion of the door jamb. I kept checking my progress, and knew that it was working when the door returned to its previous state of “stickiness.” I kept sanding until the door closed properly, and then sanded a little more to account for the swelling of the wood with summer’s humidity.

When I had finished this, I realized that once the door was closed, I could tell that the door was indeed a bit warped from all of that bending. However, I discovered that if I tap it a bit, I can get it to fit snugly into the door jamb — I think I’ll just use the back door for a few weeks, and see if this helps the door “remember” its original straightness. If I’m successful, I’ll then sand the door down a bit more so that it fits easily into its original position.


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