7 Causes of Stuck Doors

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Got a door that keeps sticking? Stuck doors are very common and can be a huge nuisance – especially if they’re exterior doors, which could pose a security or safety hazard if you can’t open or close them properly. There are a few different causes of stuck doors. By working out the cause, you can work out the most suitable solution. This post lists some of the most common causes of stuck doors and how to fix them. 


Both temperature changes and moisture can cause doors and frames to swell. This can make them much harder to open and close. Too much humidity can even cause doors and frames to warp and crack. At this point you may want to consider taking steps to reduce humidity in your home such as using a dehumidifier. Doors and frames that have permanently swollen may be possible to plane down, however there may be some cases where a new door or frame is necessary.


If too much dirt or grime builds up around a door or around the hinges, it could get stuck. This is most common with unused exterior doors such as doors to shed. With a bit of brute strength, you can usually prise these doors open. Cleaning the edges of the door and frame may be necessary to stop the door sticking again. 


An often overlooked cause of stuck doors is termites. When termites infest something wooden, they release moisture, which can cause the wooden object to swell. Doors and frames that have been infested with termites can often swell, leading to a stuck door. There are a few ways that you can check for termite damage such as tapping the door to see if it sounds hollow, looking out for frass (termite droppings) and even carrying out a home inspection. Pest control services will be able to get rid of any termites. You will likely need to replace the door or frame.


Doors and frames can sometimes become misaligned, preventing them from opening and shutting properly. Misalignment may occur over time from normal use or from kids swinging on door handles. It’s likely the hinges have come loose – rehanging the door or rescrewing the hinges may be necessary to fix this. You can check out a few more tips here on how to fix a misaligned door

Seized hinges/latch

A door can also become difficult to open if the hinges or latch seizes up. In the cases of hinges, this may be a simple case of spraying some WD40 onto them to loosen them up. If it’s a latch, the solution may be a little more complicated – this post explains what to do if the latch is stuck

Loose strike plate

The strike plate is the piece of metal attached to the frame that holds the latch. If the strike plate has become loose, it could be a sign that it needs to be re-secured. This could be a simple case of rescrewing it. 

Foundation issues

Foundation issues can cause walls and floors to shift. On top of causing cracks, this can lead to doors getting stuck or failing to shut, windows getting jammed and floors becoming sloped. This is not good as it means your entire home is slowly sinking and collapsing. It’s worth carrying out an inspection on your home’s foundations to see if there are issues. Foundation repair may be necessary to stop future doors sticking.


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