How to fix Swollen Doors? Know the Causes and Remedies!
Monalisa Patel is a Structural Engineer who has earned her Master’s degree (ME) from the L.J College of Engineering and Technology Ahmadabad in 2018. She is an Engineer (Civil) at SDCPL – Gharpedia. Helping people to solve their queries about construction is her passion. Apart from being blogger, she also participates in structural design at SDCPL. She is reachable on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.
While you think of constructing your dream home, you are equally selective about the door which is a gateway to your abode. You tend to choose a beautiful wooden door which not only gives a traditional look to your residence but is expected to function at ease. A door is expected to open and shut with less effort. Such ideal combination of looks and performance thus give you a sense of satisfaction of your wise and worthy investment. Unfortunately, wooden doors swell under certain atmospheric conditions. So there might come a day when you will find that your wooden door has swollen and it no more functions smoothly as it used to. You have to push it or pull it hard to open or close it. Do you want to know the reasons behind it? Gharpedia is here to help you solve your problem through its article -how to fix swollen doors. Keep reading.
The significant cause of the door that sticks in the frame or the one that scrapes on the floor is “moisture”. Any natural wood natural or artificial absorbs moisture and mostly it is absorbed along the edges of the wooden door that is not perfectly sealed or varnished which causes the door to swell.
What Causes a Door to Swell?
Mentioned below are the reasons why a door swells:
01. The doors swell or shrink mainly due to weather and seasonal changes. Wood is a natural material that absorbs heat or humidity from the air and expands on absorbing moisture. If it expands, it ultimately starts rubbing on the frame and then it is hard to open or shut the door. During monsoon this phenomenon is very common as the atmosphere is damp and humid.
02. An unsealed or aged door can also retain moisture. This can be another reason for the wood to swell and can give way to cracks as the door dries out.
03. If in particular the bottom edge of the wooden door is not varnished or sealed around the edges, moisture is absorbed by the wood which can also lead to swelling.
04. The location of your home as well as the location of the doors is also the factor affecting this problem. Doors in the southern and western areas are more exposed to sun, which jeopardize their finish. The doors will start swelling if no adequate protection is provided to them.
05. Dampness can build up in the home for so many reasons. Some of the prominent reasons are inadequate ventilation, insufficient insulation, in-house wet clothing, and open doors of bathroom. This permits moisture to move around and build up in the room, causing mucous odours and swelling of the wood.
Why is a Swollen Door Headache?
Extra physical effort is required for opening or closing a swollen door and thus it becomes a headache. At times, this may damage the joints in the door if they are not adequately thick or if workmanship is not good. Further, if the door expands beyond a limit, it will become almost impossible to close it. This will make it difficult for you to use the room. The kids as well as the senior members of your family will find it difficult to operate such door. And, think of a situation where you have to lock such door and go out! Well, it indeed looks like a tough one, right? Hence, it is always wise to exercise all the preventive measures given herein.
It is not only the door you need to take care of, but utmost care needs to be taken of all the components of your home during monsoon. Please visit the below blog for your better understanding.
Preventive Measures so that door does not swell:
Keep a Gap While Fixing the Door
A good carpenter or builder will always provide a gap of 2 to 3 mm while initially fixing the door. This is to keep an allowance for expansion due to moisture, which is presumed to happen due to changing atmospheric conditions.
Seal the Wood Door to Prevent Door Swelling
While buying a new wooden door or window, or even while you install it, apply an exterior sealer before attaching the door to the frame. Wooden doors are usually treated with a protective coat after they are manufactured, but this is insufficient to protect them from the elements once installed.
Therefore, apply sealer on both the sides of the door- front and back and more specifically, on all the four edges and base. Applying three coats of sealer is a standard practice, with a light sanding between the coats of fine steel wool. Read thoroughly all the approved directions mentioned by the manufacturer for the product you are using.
This methods needs to be conducted periodically – at least every 2 to 3 years – in order to provide optimum protection.
If you have a garage at your home and its door is not functioning smoothly, obviously it either calls for a repair or requires some maintenance. Dear readers, here’s an article from Gharpedia that should give you an idea on how to repair the garage door.
Paint the Wooden Door to Avoid Door Swelling
In order to add a splash of colour to the exterior of your house, if you choose to paint the external door, make sure to use a wood primer before painting. Also ensure to use a paint that is intended for outer doors. Alike sealed wooden frame, it is equally important to check the finish regularly for cracks through which moisture can penetrate and cause swelling to the door.
Before you start fixing the door, also make sure that the trouble in closing or opening of the door is not due to sagging hinges or loose screws etc. i.e. it is not due to any swelling.
How to Fix a Swollen Door?
Apply Lubricants to Prevent Swelling of Door
Lubricants can be of great help in preventing doors from swelling. Therefore, lubricate the surface of doors which stick to the frame for reducing sticking. Rub the top and sides of the door with a dry soap bar, paraffin wax, petroleum jelly or household lubricant spray to avoid sticking. Applying a lubricant to the edges and top of the door is a temporary solution. If the door sticks to the frame, even after application of lubricants, the reason would be different; the door may be hanging wrongly, or the hinges might be sagging.
Use a Dehumidifier for Preventing Your Wooden Door from Swelling
As the door continuously keep absorbing moisture from your house and the atmosphere around, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce that. Using dehumidifier would thus prevent it from taking damp thereby preventing the door from swelling.
While you use this device, close the external doors and windows of your house. Swelling in wood is very common when it is exposed to the humid air.
Use Heat Gun or Hairdryer to Fix the Swollen Door
Can a swollen door shrink? The answer to this question is – of course, it can! So, you can use the hairdryer or the heat gun to take out the moisture. Once you put the heat gun on the swollen portion of wood, the air or the moisture trapped inside the door escapes into the air again. You can hold the drying tool 30 cm away from the door so that the wood does not get burnt or damaged.
For painted doors, you can use a rotating fan. When the colour starts flaking, you can pull them down and repaint the door.
Fasten the Screws and Sand the Edges of Door
Fastening the screws on the iron wares is one method of repairing a swollen wood or door. These involve strike plates and hinges.
You might need to observe this fixture to know where exactly on the jamb it is rubbing. If you have tried tightening the nuts and it did not work, mark the swollen areas with pencil. Then sand this area with coarse sandpaper making sure you are doing it on an even keel.
You have to take out the door from the hinges to clean all its edges uniformly. Working in that way would be faster. Thus, take out the hinge clamps. Then remove the door from the jamb, lay it on its side and rub down thoroughly using sandpaper. This of course includes a lot of labour.
With swollen doors at our abode, we are not only putting our privacy at serious risk but we are also making the life of children and senior citizen difficult. Hence, when you come across them, get them repaired on priority basis. Knowing how to fix swollen doors will save your money and time as well. Gharpedia has guided you in every possible way so that you need not wait for any professional help to turn up and fix your problem.
It is said – Prevention is better than cure. Thus, it is better to prevent the things from happening at the first place. Similarly, you can prevent swelling of the doors so that you do not have to go through the hassle of solving the issue. So, why wait for the door to expand when you can prevent it.