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How to Fix a Sticking Door

Doors can start sticking for various reasons, such as changes in humidity or issues with the door frame. Fixing a sticking door can make it easier to open and close, and it can prevent further damage. Here's a simple guide on how to fix a sticking door, tailored for a general audience and focused on practical solutions.

Identify the Problem Area

First, you need to find out where the door is sticking. Here's how you can do it:

  • Open and close the door slowly to see where it sticks.
  • Check for tight spots where the door rubs against the frame.
  • Look for marks on the door edge and frame. These often show where the door is sticking.

Steps to Check Where Your Door Sticks

  1. Open the door slightly and move it back and forth.
  2. Listen and feel for where the door gets stuck.
  3. Use a piece of chalk to mark these spots on the door and frame.

Fix the Sticking Area

Once you know where the door sticks, you can start fixing it. Here are some common methods:


If the door sticks because it's too tight against the frame, sanding might be the best solution. Here’s how to sand a door properly:

  • Remove the door from its hinges by taking out the hinge pins.
  • Place the door on a stable surface.
  • Use sandpaper or an electric sander to gently sand the sticking areas you marked with chalk.
  • Check the fit by rehanging the door and seeing if it still sticks.

Tools Needed for Sanding

  • Sandpaper (medium-grit)
  • Electric sander (optional for faster results)
  • Screwdriver (to remove hinge pins)


Planing is another effective method, especially if sanding doesn’t fix the issue. Here’s what to do:

  • Use a wood plane to shave off thin layers from the sticking areas.
  • Be careful not to remove too much material.

Planing Equipment

  • Wood plane
  • Protective gloves (to keep your hands safe)

Realign the Door

Sometimes, a door sticks not because of the door itself but because of its alignment with the frame. Adjusting the hinges can help:

Adjusting Hinges

  1. Tighten any loose screws on the door hinges.
  2. If the door still sticks, you might need to reposition the hinges slightly.
  3. For doors that stick at the top, raising the hinge on the opposite side may help.

Tools for Hinge Adjustment

  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Screws (in case replacements are needed)

Regular Maintenance

To prevent future sticking, it's good to maintain your doors regularly:

Maintenance Tips

  • Oil the hinges annually to keep them moving smoothly.
  • Check for moisture damage or warping, especially during wet seasons.
  • Paint or varnish the door as needed to protect it from humidity changes.

By following these simple steps, you can fix a sticking door and ensure it functions smoothly for years to come. Regular maintenance will help avoid such issues and extend the life of your door.