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How to stop a door from jamming? The best way to stop a door from jamming is to use a hand, or electric planer to cleanly plane the wood in the area that is catching. Sand-paper can take too long, and can cause an uneven finish. Make sure you plane of, a bit more than what is needed this will allow for the thickness of a new coat of paint.
Fixing your door that isn’t shutting properly is a easy DIY job really that wont take long to finish.
Why does a timber door start to jamb anyway? In winter time the humidity and change of temperatures can cause the wood to expand. The higher the doors timber moister content, the more the wood swell’s, This movement happens from season to season.
Timber joinery has this maintenance disadvantage compared to having for example, aluminum joinery. Aluminum doors and windows have much less movement over winter.
Yes even metals expand and contract with different temperatures, but aluminum do not swell and hold moister like timber does. That is why it is common for wooden joinery to jamb sometimes in a cold winter.
By-the-way like I said above fixing a jamming door is an easy DIY job , anyone can do it, so their is no need to get a builder in to fix this for you, read below:
How To Fix A Door That Won’t Close At The Bottom
If your door is jamming on the bottom edge, or on the “sill”, there are two recommended ways of fixing this annoying catch.
- Take your door of the hinges, lay it flat and use a planer to slowly and evenly reduce the bottom edge of the door to suit.
- Leave your door in place, and use a multi tool to slowly take of the bottom edge were it is catching.
It is better to take the door of the hinges and to use a planner. If however you do not have a plane, you could use a skill saw with a straight edge. Just make sure you have a sharp blade, and you apply tape on the back-edge of the cut to avoid chipping.
Although if you cannot remove the door because of the hinges, or because the door is to heavy for you to lift, you could consider using a multi tool while the door is in place. Even though you can do this, there are a few disadvantages with this method as below:
How To Take A Door Of Its Hinges
A standard door will have 3 hinges holding the door to the frame. First check that the hinges are secure to the frame and the door. If the hinges are not tight to the framing, this could be a simple fix the jamb. If that is not the fix continue to take the door off:
- Use a nail punch to tap the pin that is in the center of the hinge, connecting both the door and the frame.
- Check to see if the door is hollow-core or solid. An external door is going to be solid, check that you are able to lift the door yourself, otherwise find a second pair of hands to hep you lift the door down onto a work bench.
- Use a nail punch to remove the center pins from the hinge.
- On removing the last pin make sure the door is stable and you are ready to lift down the door.
- Remove the door and lay it down on a bench.
Many external doors cannot be removed by removing a pin, but instead the hinges will have to be unscrewed instead.
Instead Trim The Bottom Of The Door With A Multi-Tool
If the door is catching on the bottom and you cant remove the door easily from the hinges you could instead, use a multi-toolto trim the under-side of the door to stop it catching.
- No need to remove the door to fix the catch
- If an external door is opened up there could be room to paint the cut, depending
- Multi-tools are reasonably expensive to buy
- Only good if a small amount of the door is catching, as using a multi tool for this job can be slow and hard to achieve a tidy cut with over long distances.
- Could be hard to apply paint to the underside of the door, depending
How To Fix A Door That Won’t Close On The Sides
If your door is jamming on either the top, or sides it is easy to fix with a hand, or electric planer. Fixing a jamb that is catching on the top, or sides, wont require you to remove the door from the frame.
For small door catches, it is best to use a hand planer. Start by gliding the hand planer by only taking of a thin sliver of wood at a time. Continue to open, and shut the door to check that you are planing in the right area, this avoids over planing.
Do however allow more of a gap than what initially stops the door from catching. This is because the smooth timber from a planned edge is less likely to jamb. But when you put on a fresh coat of paint this can cause the door to stick again
You need to make sure the door will not touch the frame with a few layers of paint on, and also allow a bit more space for any future timber movement.
- You might already have a plane, If you don’t already have one, they are reasonably cheap and you would find many other uses for it
- Easy to control, and only take of what you need to
- Can do a great job for small areas
- When you are near the bottom of the door, or the wall, you can hold the planner on an angle to get most of the way, You might need to use a sharp chisel, and some sand paper to finish the last bit of the edge.
- For large areas it is easy to plane out of square
Electric Hand Planer
An electric hand planer has an advantage when you need to plane the entire edge, rather than just one spot. A electric planer can evenly take of a sliver of timber while keeping a straight even line.
For finishing work like this, a cordless planer is easier to use than a corded model.
- Accurately take of the amount you need evenly, by adjusting the depth dial to what you want
- As an electric planner does the work for you, it is easy to keep the tool square, leaving a tidy cut.
- A cordless planer is easier to use than a corded model
- When you get near to the bottom of the door, or close to the wall, the planner wont quiet get all of the way. You will need to get out your chisel set and some sand paper to finish of the last part.
Click Here if you want to read my electric hand plane review.
Using a plane is the best way to fix a door from jamming. Hopefully you can quickly use a hand planer on the area that is catching and fix the annoying catch. When you remove the unwanted timber you should re-apply some paint.
For internal doors the underside of the door doesn’t necessarily need to be pained, but for exterior doors I recommend getting a few coats on to weather seal the timber, and to stop it from absorbing anymore moister causing the door to swell again.
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