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The Home Depot

Why Won’t My Door Close?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Door & Window > Why Won’t My Door Close?
Why Won’t My Door Close?

There are several causes responsible for a door not closing properly, like swelling of the door frame, stiff gaskets, loose hinges, and movement of the underlying foundation that prevents the door from fitting in its frame correctly. These problems should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid damage to the door and the door frame itself – whether the door in question is your garage or your living room door.


Let’s take a look at the common type of problems that prevent doors from closing. Several of them are as follows:

  1. 1.Swollen Wood

    Factors like the changing of the weather and humidity can prevent a door from closing properly or cause it to stick in its frame. Your wooden door may shrink or swell because of changing weather conditions, especially if it’s old or unprotected. The swollen wood may be a part of the door or the door frame; either way, your door won’t close properly. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of humidity or moisture, the wood of the door can absorb the water and expand. In some cases, the wood may expand by several inches.


    In cold weather wood has been known to shrink. Exposure to cold air can also cause a door to shrink, especially if it’s outside. Alternatively, exposure to hot air can cause the wood to swell. In general, doors facing outside (like shed doors, garage doors and main doors) are more susceptible to changes in the weather.


    The wood of your door or door frame may also swell if water has been spilled on it recently.


    If a door is kept closed and there is not space for the wood to expand, the wood may develop warps and twists, or even cracks. Not only is this an eyesore, but it also prevents your door from closing in the future.

  2. 2.Stiff Gaskets

    Gaskets are the material filling between two or more surfaces. It’s a joint of sorts, and is made up of material like rubber, plastic, and metal. Gaskets are found in refrigerator, oven, and some doors that have been sound proofed.


    Gaskets have to be made of a material that can yield and mold itself against a surface to minimize leaks. Whenever a gasket becomes stiff, the loss of the flexibility can cause leaks. The lost flexibility can also prevent the door from sticking properly. This is a common problem with fridge doors, where old, worn out and stiff gaskets cause the door to pop out on its own.


    Some patio doors and car doors also have problems with their gaskets. Gaskets, like wood, are also vulnerable to changes in the weather. Gaskets may rot, crack or dry out over time, which prevents them from functioning correctly and your door from closing. .

  3. 3.Expansive Soil

    The soil your house has been built on can shift and expand after torrential rain or in the winter. The type of soil that is vulnerable to shifting and expanding is known as expansive soil and it usually has a high content of clay in it. Clay is a mineral that can absorb water in large quantities and can retain it for a long time. The expanding clay plates, in which the water gets trapped, can exert immense pressure to the foundation of your home and cause it to lift or shift. This pressure is sometimes enough to cause cracks to driveway, walls, floors, and ceilings.


    In summer months, the moisture in the soil can fall drastically. The fall in the moisture can cause your home, which had been lifted upwards, to shift downwards and resettle. This movement may result in extensive damage to your home. .


    If everything seems to be fine with your door (there is no visible swelling or loose gaskets), then the expansive soil may be responsible for the problem. In this case, it’s recommended that you contact a professional for help. You will not have too much choice in this matter; this is way beyond replacing a door or unplugging a pipe. What type of soil should you buy and how much soil do you have to replace and where is something you will need advice on.

  4. 4.Door Frame

    If you think your door is fine and there is no expansive soil in your area, check your door frame for problems. Some of the common problems found with door frames include cracking, splitting and warping of the wood, the growth of mildew and mold, and the development of rust, if the door frame is made of metal.


    If rust is a problem it also means you may have a leak somewhere in your home, obviously near the door frame. Either way rust is unappealing and you will want to replace that part of the metal anyhow because rust is certainly degrading to look at.


    The door frame, like the door itself, may also swell because of high humidity or a water leak. It may contract in the winter, which will prevent your door from closing.


    Garage door frames are known to be susceptible to rot. If your garage door frame has developed rot, it will have to be replaced.

  5. 5.Loose Hinges

    Loose hinges are common problem and can be fixed easily enough. If your door is scraping against the floor and tilting on one side, chances are a loose hinge is responsible for that. Loose hinges can be tightened with a screwdriver. Loose screws may have to be removed and replaced.


    If the hole seems too big for the screw, you will need to buy some carpenter’s glue to help affix the screw. In some cases, the entire hinge may have to be replaced and new holes will have to be drilled into the frame. If this sounds like too much of a bother, call a carpenter.


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