How to Fix a Swollen Door

Heat and High Humidity can cause Sticking and Swollen Wooden Doors

By Mark J. Donovan

Wooden doors have the propensity to swell and contract depending upon temperature and humidity levels.

As a result, you are more likely to experience sticking and swollen wooden doors during hot and humid summer months, and loose fitting doors during dry and cold winter months.

How to Fix a Swollen Door(s)

To fix a swollen solid wooden or hollow masonite door first tighten up all the screws associated with the door hardware including the door hinges and strike plate.

Sometimes they can work loose and cause the door to lean into the far side door jamb. See how to fix a door latch problem here.

If tightening the door hardware does not resolve your problems, then slowly close the door and see where it is sticking up against the far door jamb. Use a pencil to mark the areas on the swollen door.

Then use coarse sandpaper to sand the edges of the swollen wooden door where you marked with a pencil. Make sure to sand the door edge evenly across its entire face in the areas that you marked.

If you are unable to sand the swollen wooden door easily while it is still on its hinges, remove the hinge pins so that you can remove the door from the doorframe. Then turn the door on its side and sand as required.

Remount the wooden door on the doorframe and check to see that the door is no longer sticking. Once you’ve fixed the swollen door, lightly sand the door edge with fine sandpaper and then touch it up with a little stain or paint.

Preventing Swollen Wood Doors

To prevent having to fix a swollen door again, use a dehumidifier during summer months to reduce the humidity in the home. This will prevent the wood door from absorbing moisture and then sticking in the door jamb(s).

Using a dehumidifier, however, will prevent you from keeping the exterior doors and windows open. Normally it is the heat and humidity associated with the hot and humid summer air that is causing your swollen wooden doors.

If it is your basement doors that are swollen and sticking, then it may not be the hot summer weather that is causing your doors to swell. Basements are notorious for having high humidity levels due to underground moisture percolating up through the basement floor. 

How to install a prehung door.

If it is your basement doors that are swollen then installing a dehumidifier in the basement should eliminate the problem.

For information on how to install interior door trim, see the “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook from  The “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook provides step-by-step instructions on how to install interior door trim. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Related Information

Additional Door Resources from

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