Fix a Wooden Door that is Swollen or Sticks
If you have wooden doors in your home, it is time to make sure these are well protected from the elements before rainstorms arrive and to fix doors that are swollen or sticking.
Wooden doors in a property are considered an investment if there are cared for and well maintained. These fittings not only add aesthetic appeal but also bring warmth and character to a home. The only downside of wooden doors, whether hung, sliding, or French, is the fact that they do require regular maintenance to keep them looking good. If you forego the maintenance, one of the following problems is likely to arise.
Why is my wooden door swelling?
Wood is an organic material that is
affected by several conditions. During the
winter months the wood contracts or shrinks
while it does the opposite when the weather is
warm. Add moisture to the situation and the
cells within the wood suck in the moisture from
the atmosphere and this forces the wood to swell
out of shape.
The normal expansion and contraction of the wood continues throughout the lifespan of the door, but if maintenance is not performed when the fitting is originally installed and at regular intervals, the protective coating will degrade and leave the wood unprotected and at risk of damage. This is the case for doors that are made with lower-grade woods such as Meranti and Saligna, although all hardwoods are affected in one way or another if maintenance is overlooked.
Wooden sliding patio doors leading outdoors often swell with moisture and get stuck on the sliding track or the door will not close properly.
Why is my wooden door sticking?
As occurs when moisture is absorbed by the wood, the door becomes out of shape and no longer fits into its frame, or perhaps the door no longer closes properly. During the rainy season, my wooden patio sliding door becomes difficult to open and close smoothly, particularly if it has been a while since maintenance was performed. The only way to prevent this from happening is to apply a suitable sealer that is UV-resistant and provides a waterproof finish. Anything less than this and you are wasting your time and money.
What not to do when wooden doors swell or stick
The worse thing you can do when a door swells or sticks due to swelling is sand it. While the door might be swollen and sticks now, when the temperature and humidity drop, or the moisture content of the door has evaporated the door will revert to its original state. Sanding while it is still swollen or wet will result in the door not fitting as perfectly as it did prior to sanding, and you will probably end up with gaps around the door.
A wooden front door that has not been regularly treated with a suitable sealer will become swollen with moisture during heavy rains.
The best way to deal with a swollen or stuck wood door
The right way to deal with a wooden door
that is swollen or one that sticks is to remove
the door from the hangings and place it on two
sawhorses or work benches to give it a light
sanding all over before applying a sealer that
offers UV and moisture protection.
The reason you need to remove the door from its fittings is so that you can apply the sealer to the front and back of the door and to all the edges, particularly the bottom of the door as this is where most moisture (rain) is absorbed into the cells of the wood.
When applying the sealer DO follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines so that the proper finish offers maximum protection and DO take note of the time period before re-application is necessary. By doing this, the lifespan of your wood fittings will extended and they will continue to enhance your home.