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How to Fix a Sticking Exterior Wooden Door in the Winter

Updated February 21, 2017

If you live in an area that has wet, cold winters, you are aware that an exterior door can suddenly begin to stick. This problem can cause heat loss because the door is not completely closed and can damage the door frame. To solve this problem you need to know how to fix a sticking exterior door in winter. This is a simple process, takes only a few hours and even fewer tools.

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  1. Open and close the door repeatedly, looking for where the door is sticking in the frame. Locate the spot and mark it on both the door and the frame. Close the door and gather your tools.

  2. Open the door to where you can easily see the hinges and screws. Use the screwdriver to tighten the screws if any have come loose. Close the door to see if this fixed the problem. If the sticking exterior wooden door is still a problem, proceed to the next step.

  3. Open the door. Coat the frame where you marked it with the chalk. Use the type of chalk found in marking lines as this is the easiest to spread and clean up. Close the door. Open the door again; the chalk should transfer to the door in the area that is sticking. This will give you a good idea of how large an area you are working with on the door for the steps below.

  4. Wedge the screwdriver between the hinge and the bolt at the bolt head by tapping it into place with the hammer. Tap the bottom of the bolt with the hammer once you have made the wedge. This will loosen the bolt so you can slide it out. Do this with each hinge and remove the door.

  5. Lay the door on its side. Measure 1/4 inch into the door on the short side at the point where the door is sticking. Mark this line. This will be the guide for the next step.

  6. Stand the door on end so the chalk marked spot is facing up. Use the belt sander to sand down the area to the mark you made in the previous step.

  7. Set the door back into the frame and replace the hinge bolts. Close the door to see if the sticking is still evident. If so, repeat steps 5 and 6 until the door is sanded down far enough. Keep using quarter-inch markings so you do not sand down too much and produce a gap that allows air into the house. Remove the door for the final step.

  8. Coat the sanded area with stain or varnish to protect it from moisture and seal the wood. Allow the stain to dry. Replace the door into the frame.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Chalk
  • Belt Sander
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Stain or varnish

About the Author

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