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How to Adjust a Sticking French Door

Chelsea Fitzgerald

French doors add an attractive ambiance to your home. When they stick, opening and closing the doors properly is frustrating. This type of door is often made of wood, and when humidity is high, the wood frame may swell, thus causing sticking. Adjusting the french doors is sometimes necessary to prevent this problem.

French doors add an airy, open look to your home.

The solutions are uncomplicated and can be completed with everyday household tools.

  1. Inspect all the screws and hinges in your french doors. They tend to loosen over time and the solution may be as simple as tightening the screws to hold the doors correctly in the frame. Use a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver to adjust the screws. Whether you have french doors where one is stationary or both of them swing open, it is important to adjust both doors if necessary.

  2. Check the door knobs and locks to ensure they are tight. If not, tighten them with a screwdriver. Hinges or knobs that are not tight enough causes sagging, thus making the french doors stick.

  3. Enlarge the opening of your french doors by hammering a couple of nails into the door frame and the studs below them. This causes the frame to hold together more efficiently. Even adjusting the frame 1/16 inch may prevent the french doors from sticking. Determine where the door is sticking and hammer a 2-inch or 3-inch nail into that area and 6 to 12 inches above or below it to solve the problem.

  4. Tape pieces of carbon or another type of paper that leaves a blue or black impression to the area of the french doors where you suspect they stick. Open and shut the doors a couple of times and sand down the areas with the markings by using a plane or sandpaper to smooth and adjust the surface.

  5. Tip

    Hire a carpenter to install a shim or deepen the mortise if the french doors continue to stick. Avoid sanding too much wood away with the plane or sandpaper. This may result in gaps and drafts. It is wise to sand the door frames a bit, check to see if they are still sticking and repeat the method if they are.