door sticking

Prevent Your Doors and Windows from Sticking During the Summer

Doors and windows may tend to stick a bit during the summer as a side effect of humidity. Before you consider buying a new door or modifying your existing one, consider a few of these tips.

If you have a basement, cellar, or whatever you choose to call that area beneath your feet that may collect moisture, then there’s a good chance that same humidity building up downstairs is working its way to the living areas. This humidity can expand the wood around your doors and windows, or even the doors themselves, and may even be a leading factor behind why it seems like floorboards are more creaky during the summer months.

The solution is simple: head out to the store and pick up a dehumidifier. If you already have one built into your HVAC system, then you may want to consider a service check to make sure it’s operating at its full potential. HVAC experts suggest checking this every eight years or so.

For those in the market for a small dehumidifier unit, there are essentially two you can choose from. If you have a sink or sump pump in your basement, I recommend getting one that will drain on its own once it reaches a certain capacity, rather than a model that requires you to dump out the tray every time. The self-draining ones do tend to cost a bit more, but trust me, the extra few bucks is worth it if it means you won’t have to continuously run up and down stairs or in and out of rooms to dump out a bucket of water. The built-in timer gives you an option to simply “set it and forget it.” Remember those last-night infomercials?

For those without basements, setting it up in the main floor bathroom to drain into the sink works just as well, although ideally you will want to place the unit off to the side of a bigger room such as a dining room, den, or living room.

I picked mine up for $180 at Costco a few years back, and noticed my issue with the front and back doors resolved itself within a few days.

My front door, which gets direct sunlight from 7am until around 11am or so, actually required a little more work as a result of the wood permanently expanding. This was more from the heat generating every morning, but I found that despite the humidity control, the bottom corner was sticking to the frame. Direct sunlight + black door = heat magnet. But even that was a quick fix with a DIY installation of a $10 kick plate from Home Depot.