Doors are used every day when entering and exiting a home or building. With doors being used so often, it’s easy to tell when it looks slightly different from what it normally would, like expanding in summer—but do doors do that?
Doors expand in summer and when they expand, they stick to the frame. Doors are placed in a frame with little excess space around them, meaning even the slightest shape change could change the ease with which a door opens and closes. Wooden doors typically expand or “swell” the most.
There are many different factors at play regarding doors expanding, such as the door’s material. Since most doors are made of wood, it’s common to see doors made of this material expand in summer. Keep reading to learn more about doors expanding in summer and how you can fix expanded doors.
What Causes Doors To Expand in Summer?
Humidity causes doors to expand in summer. Usually, humidity is accompanied by heat, which is another cause of a door expansion. Most people will notice their doos expanding during the summer because of the increase in heat and humidity.
Wooden doors, in particular, are highly sensitive to this change since wood is a natural substance and tends to absorb any moisture in the air, which then causes swelling.
However, it’s important to note that the outside weather doesn’t only cause high humidity levels.
The inside of your home could produce a large amount of humidity in several different ways.
Listed below is a list of common causes of high humidity in a home or building:
- Hot showers
- Poor ventilation
- A large number of indoor plants
- Steam or excess heat from cooking
Heat Can Cause Doors To Expand
Even with low humidity present, doors will also expand due to heat alone.
The summer heat will cause a door to expand due to the material of the door warping or bowing.
Steel doors tend to expand in summer due to the constant exposure to heat throughout the day.
Professional carpenters have suggested installing metal doors during the high heat and wooden doors in high humidity.
Installing metal doors during summer ensures that the door is already expanded.
This is a good idea because if a door is installed during cooler months, it’ll be more at its true size and won’t have as much room to expand when summer rolls around again.
This could cause expanding problems and lead to the door sticking.
It’s important to note that metal doors usually do not expand much.
It could very well be noticed if the frame around it was built with little wiggle room, but chances are metal doors can be expected to expand very little, if at all.
On the other hand, wooden doors are much more likely to expand in summer due to high humidity and will more commonly stick to the frame.
To prevent this, making sure a wooden door is installed in a highly humid environment is a good option.
Doors Can Expand Due to Aging or Wear and Tear
As wooden doors absorb moisture over time, the moisture can lead to the door becoming heavier.
The hinges holding the door in place could begin to weaken and cause the door to sag.
This problem could also happen simply if a door is just installed improperly.
Doors sagging or becoming disjointed could easily be mistaken for a door expanding.
The sides of the door may cause it to push against the floor or frame, which will have the same effect as an expanded door would.
If you’re suspicious of an expanded door, be sure to check the integrity of the hinges and the installation.
It could be a simple fix or a little home project to align the door properly.
How To Fix an Expanded Door
If you already have a door installed and notice problems with the door expanding in summer, there are a few ways to correct the issue (quick-fix solutions and more complex solutions).
Below are a few solutions for you to consider.
Apply Lubricant to the Door
This method may seem too simple of a solution, but as long as a door has just a little bit of space between it and the frame, you can apply lubricant around the expanded door.
It’ll make opening and closing the expanded door easier since there will be less resistance from the door sticking to the frame.
Note that lubricant working depends on how much the door is expanded.
If the door is too small for the frame and you force it open or close, you could cause damage to the paint or flooring.
Replace the Door
Replacing a door that keeps expanding in the summer and causing issues is always an option. If you want a new door that you won’t have to worry about expanding again, make sure the new door isn’t made from wood.
Since wooden doors are most likely to expand in summer, it would be wise to avoid wooden doors altogether to prevent doors from expanding.
Fiberglass doors are great options because fiberglass doors don’t expand in summer.
Although fiberglass doors tend to be pricier, they’re durable and long-lasting. Fiberglass doors also come in various styles to fit any look you may be going for.
If you’re interested in a low-cost option, vinyl doors are typically inexpensive compared to other well-known materials like steel or wood.
Vinyl doors tend to expand in summer, but much less than wood—and vinyl doors are also pretty tough.
Cut the Door
This option is by far the more difficult and time-consuming way to go but, if you enjoy a house project that involves tools, then you may enjoy this solution.
Cutting a door is the process of removing the sticky, expanded door and using a table saw to remove the problem area for the door to fit better.
If you don’t have experience with high-powered saws, this option would be better left alone.
However, if you choose to remove and cut your door, here are some helpful tips:
- Test the door by opening and closing it to pinpoint the exact area of the door that is sticking.
- Make sure you’re in an area you wouldn’t mind getting fairly messy from sawdust when cutting
- Cut your door as little as possible. You’ll want to do this because when winter rolls around, the door will shrink and inevitably leave an unwanted gap between the frame and the door.
Doors indeed expand during summer, but luckily there are various ways to solve the frustrating, sticky door problem.
You should avoid wooden doors to prevent doors from expanding in general, especially if you live in a very humid environment.
Steel doors won’t give you as much of an issue with expanding in summer, and fiberglass doors won’t give you an expanding issue at all.
Now that you know how to fix and avoid doors expanding, there’s one less problem to worry about around the house this summer.