Why Doors Get ‘Sticky’ during the Summer and What You Can Do about It

hand-wood-planeIf you have an older home in Toronto or anywhere else in the GTA, then you likely have experienced sticky doors during the summer. During the winter, it’s not a problem when doors are a bit too tight to open and close as this helps to reduce the amount of draftiness of these doors.

During the summer, though, you’ll notice that these same doors are getting even tougher to open and close, even becoming ‘sticky.’

The stickiness is the result of moisture getting deep into the grain of wood and becoming more swollen. It is also the result of the paint on the outside of the door or the door frame that is helping it to feel ‘sticky.’

The more humidity that we have in this part of the country, the more those older doors are going to be sticky. You can certainly replace the sticky doors with new ones, but eventually even those doors will end up having problems.

There is something that you can do about sticky doors; you don’t need to simply accept that they stick and are difficult to open and close.

You’ll need a jack plane and a bit of restraint.

The most common mistake that homeowners make when they plane doors down to keep them from sticking is that they take too much out. This leads to the door being too small or loose during the winter when they contract again.

You want to make sure that you keep some restraint in mind and only plane off the amount of the door that will keep it from ‘sticking.’ A tight fit is fine, so don’t be focused on planning the door down to get an easy, smooth close to the door.

When you close the door, mark the spot that gets hung up on the frame. This is the part you’ll want to plane down. Measure off about two to three inches on either side of the sticking point. The sticking point could be a small area, less than an inch, or it can be the entire length of the door, though it’s more likely going to be an inch or two.

Plane down this section, focusing solely on the part that actually sticks. Take off about an eighth of an inch then check the door. If it closes, even though tight, it’s good, as long as it’s no longer sticky.