Doors swell and start rubbing on the jamb for various reasons. Foundations settle, wood framing members twist, bow and absorb moisture and walls rack out of plumb sometimes due to earthquakes. But the primary cause is due to the fact that the top or bottom of the door was not sealed during the painting process. This allows moisture to enter the wood frame from the inside, expanding the door and causing it to rub or even get completely stuck in extreme circumstances.
Sometimes the fix can be relatively simple. If the latch side of the door is rubbing, try this:
- If the top side, latch side of the door is rubbing, remove the top hinge pin. If the bottom side, latch side of the door is rubbing, remove the bottom hinge pin. Only remove one hinge pin at a time.
- Using a crescent wrench, tighten it around each ear of the hinge that is attached to the door. One at a time, bend each ear slightly (about 1/8”) in the direction of the lock side of the door. Be careful not to bend the ears too much as this can cause the door to become hinge bound – now rubbing on the hinge side of the jamb. After bending each ear, re-insert the hinge pin and operate the door. You may be surprised at how easy it was to fix the problem.
- If the hinge side of the door is rubbing, just reverse the direction in which you are bending the hinge ears.
- Add a little lubricant to the hinges and you are done.
Of course sometimes the door will be rubbing at the top of the jamb. In this case, your only alternative is to plane the top of the door. If you are trying to avoid the use of power tools, you can try a sure form rasp or hand planer. Just plane the door a little at a time and then try it until it no longer rubs. Take your time. You don’t want to get in a hurry and plane too much at one time. The door may now close but the fit will look terrible.
After the problem has been resolved, don’t forget to seal the top and bottom of the door with a quality paint. Although you will have to use a drop cloth, there are many creative applicators available that will allow you to apply the sealer without having to remove the door.