Why is My Door Hard to Open and Close (Top 3 Reasons)

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Doors that prove difficult to open and close are one of the top signs and symptoms of foundation settlement and foundation heave (both of which are incurred via expansive soil).  

It’s amazing how much we take doors opening and closing with ease for granted. It’s equally remarkable how even less than an inch of movement within a doorframe can cause the door to be a bonafide nightmare to open and close.

Sticking doors can result in privacy and security issues if not dealt with in an appropriate manner.

There are several primary factors that can instigate sticking and/or jammed doors:

1. Foundation Movement

Your home’s foundation (whether it’s a raised foundation, slab on grade foundation, or post-tension slab foundation)  plays a key role in keeping the structure of your home in a secure straight, and upright position.

Check out our exhaustive Ultimate Guide To Foundation Repair!

When your home’s foundation begins to experience foundation settlement or foundation heave, your home’s structure will morph with the changing pressure. This upwards, downwards, or lateral movement can wreak havoc on the framing of your home and, consequently, the door frames.

A home with foundation issues might also experience:

2. Humidity Levels

Believe it or not, the amount of moisture present in the air can play a major role in making doors difficult to open and close.

Much like expansive soil –

              moisture = expansion

Wood is an organic material and, therefore, is more susceptible to moisture levels in the air than non-organic material. The higher the moisture level, the more water the wood absorbs and the more the wood swells like a busted ankle.   

Moisture, however, doesn’t typically result in complete misalignment but does create a tighter push or pull.

Humidity also plays a significant role in sheetrock cracks. See our article: The Top 5 Primary Reasons for Sheetrock Cracks.

3. Your Crazy Kids

Now, this particular reason is 100% self-inflicted. If a door is slammed on a regular basis or pulled on without having the latch disengage, it can cause a significant amount of stress on the frame and have an adverse effect on the door.

Other things to avoid include:

  •   Swinging on the door
  •   Playing tug-of-war with the door
  •   Trying to kick the door in like Chuck Norris

In short, the actions above cause the hinges to pull away from the framing and can result in an improper fit. This can also result in a door that does not open or close properly.

The Wrap

Now, working backward, good luck with number 3 in terms of taming the wild fruit of your loins. The good news is, they’ll grow out of it. We hope. For number 2, you might have to purchase a dehumidifier and run it 24/7 having a reasonable and consistent moisture level in your home.

Number 1 can prove a bit of a sticky issue.

We suggest that you book a foundation inspection with our foundation inspection experts. They will determine if your foundation requires immediate attention.

If you live in Southern California or Arizona, click the link below for a FREE foundation inspection –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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