Sticking Door Fix – Quick Un-Sticking Methods

Doors stick for a variety of reasons–anything from loose screws to the settling of the house. In most cases it’s easy to unstick them.

Door Sticking Fix #1: Loose Screws

First examine the hinges and tighten any loose screws.

If a screw turns without tightening, replace it with a longer screw, or “pad’ the screw hole to provide a snug fit: If you use a longer screw, make sure the head of the new screw is the same size as that of the original screw.

To pad the hole, apply wood glue to the outside of a hollow fiber plug and insert it into the hole, let it dry and then reinsert the screw.

Or you can dip wood toothpicks into glue and line the hole with them.

Let dry, and snap the ends of the toothpicks off flush with the wood surface. Replace the screw; it should tighten securely.

Door Unsticking Video

If you’d prefer to watch a video on fixing a stuck door, rather than read an article, here is a helpful one:

Door Sticking Fix #2: Misaligned Door and Frame

If the screws that hold the hinge are tight, check the space between the door and the frame.

If there’s & gap between the door and the frame at the top on one side and at the bottom on the other, the door is tilted in the frame.

To fix it, shim the hinge diagonally across from the binding edge of the latch side-the bottom hinge if the top swinging corner sticks, the top hinge if the bottom swinging corner sticks.

Use a stepladder to reach the top hinge.

If the door has three hinges, shim the affected hinge and the middle hinge.

Open the door as wide as possible and set a wedge under it to keep it in position

Loosen the screws on the door frame that hold the hinge to be shimmed, leave the screws that attach the hinge to the door in place.

Cut a 1/4-inch-thick piece of Cardboard to the same height and width as the hinge: cut slots in this shim to fit around the hinge screws.

Sticking Door Fix - Quick Un-Sticking Methods
To fix a door tilted in its frame shim the hinge that is diagonally across from the binding edge of the latch side Cut a 1/4-inch piece of cardboard to the height and width of The hinge cursors to fit around the screws

Slide the slotted cardboard into the hinge mortise in the door frame, slotted side toward the door and screw the hinge firmly back into place keeping the cardboard shim aligned behind it.

Close the door to see if the gap is gone and the door is unstuck.

If not, cut a second shim and insert it under the hinge over the first shim.

Door Sticking Fix #3: Door Not Fitting Frame

If the door is hung evenly but has to be slammed shut the wood has probably swollen.

Examine the door to determine where it’s binding.

If the door is too wide, plane the hinge side of the door: do not plane the doorknob side.

If the door is too tall, plane the end that binds, either the top or the bottom.

Plane carefully, removing a thin, even strip of wood all along the binding edge: be careful not to cut too much.

To plane the top of a door, open the door wide and wedge it open.

Working from a stepladder, plane the top of the door carefully from the edges toward the center with a block plane, don’t plane from the center toward the edges or the wood will split.

After planing a small amount try to close the door if it still sticks, plane a little more and try again.

When the edge is sufficiently planed, coat the raw edge of the door with shellac, thinned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Let it dry at least 1 hour before closing the door.

To plane the bottom or the side of a door, take the door off its hinges. Remove the pin from the bottom hinge first.

Tapping it out with a screwdriver or a hammer, then remove the middle and top pins and lift the door out of the frame.

Set the door on the floor with the hinged side up.

To plane the bottom edge, use a block plane to shave wood from the edge toward the center.

Then flip the door onto its hinged side and plane from the other edge toward the center.

Coat the raw edge of the door with shellac and let it dry at least 1 hour then rehang the door.

Sticking Door Fix - Quick Un-Sticking Methods
Plane the side of a door from the center of the hinged side toward each end. Plane the bottom from each edge toward the center.

To plane the side of the door, remove the hinges.

With a jack plane, shave wood from the center of the hinged side to the ends: plane only a little, and be sure to cut evenly.

Fit the door into the door frame to test the tit: if necessary, plane again.

Shellac the raw wood of the door and let it dry at least 1 hour, then replace the hinges and rehang the door

If neither hinge placement nor swollen wood is the problem, the door frame itself may be out of alignment, use a carpenter’s square to check it.

If you’re still having issues unsticking your door, here’s another video which may be of assistance:

You may be able to unstick the door by adding shims or by planing.

It not, your best bet might be to turn the job over to a professional carpenter.

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