Are Your Doors and Windows Sticking This Summer?

If your doors and windows are sticking or getting stuck a bit this summer, then the issue is actually easier to fix than you may think.

Over the last few summers, I feel as if we’ve reached Florida-like humidity in July and August, specifically. As a result, I have noticed my doors tend to stick or require a little more effort to open than usual. Before you start looking for new doors or consider sanding down the wood, look down. The issue, in all likelihood, is right under your feet.

If you have a basement, finished or otherwise, that tends to gather moisture, then that same humidity is making its way through the house and likely expanding the wood around your doors. The same goes for any hardwood floors you may have, which may sound extra creaky or squeaky in the summer months. Even if you don’t have a basement, the humidity from outside will build up on the main floor of your home and potentially cause some wood expansion.

The solution is simple: head out to the store and pick up a dehumidifier. If you already have a dehumidifier 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, 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 the stairs to dump out a bucket of water. Plus, it comes with a built-in timer that will automatically shut off in intervals of four hours. So really, to pull from those late-night infomercials, you just have to “set it and forget it.”

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 in a bigger room such as a dining room, den, or living room.

I picked mine up for $180 at Costco two summers ago, and noticed my issue with the front and back doors sticking resolved itself almost immediately.

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. I found that despite the humidity control, the bottom corner was sticking to the frame, more a result of the sun beating down on it, rather than the humidity. 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.