Easing a sticking door

Doors stick when edges bind or rub against the door frame (lining) or the floor. A little easing is therefore required by shaving away a little wood so that the the door will open and close easily again. A simple task, but you need to be neat in your work so that a good finish is achieved.

sticking door edge 1. If the door edge is sticking, simply mark where the door catches against the frame and where excess wood needs to be planed away.
planing door edge 2. Open the door and plane gently along your mark. Make sure that your plane is adjusted to take very thin shavings of wood. Open and close the door regularly to test the clearance.
door clearance at bottom 3. If the door is sticking at the bottom, measure the height required for it to clear the floor – 3mm is ideal. Cut a small wood block to this height.
marking bottom edge of door 4. Mark a line along the bottom edge of the door with the block and pencil. Remove the door from its hinges and cut along the line with a panel saw, or remove wood with a plane if only a small amount needs to be taken off.
priming door edges 5. Planed edges must be primed before recoating with finishing paint. This should include the underside of doors – essential for exterior doors before rehanging.

Sticking door tips

  • If a door is sticking near the latch, you must remove the latch before you start planing the door edge or you will damage the blade of the plane. Simply refit once you’ve finished.
  • Make sure that the blade of your plane is sharp – otherwise you’ll just end up taking chunks out of the door edge rather than uniform shavings.
  • If the door is sticking along its bottom edge you need to check the floor clearance as the door opens, as well as when it is in a closed position. If the floor height slopes so that it becomes significantly higher as you enter the room, this can cause a big problem in that you could have to remove a lot of wood, and therefore when the door is in a closed position, a very large draughty and unsightly gap is left at the bottom of the door. In such cases, you can consider fitting rising butt hinges, which literally lift the door as it opens in order to clear the sloping floor surface.


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