7 Reasons Behind A Door That Rubs And How to Fix It

Fatima Buzdar

October 2, 2022

A person wearing a plaid shirt is opening a wooden door using a cylindrical silver door handle. The door, expertly installed by a locksmith, has a brass lock mechanism with a small key inserted into the keyhole. Only the person's hand and partial arm are visible.

You might be acquainted with how annoying dealing with a door rubbing can be, especially if you live in an old house with old doors. Not just this is disturbing, but it can also compromise the security of your house if it affects the front door and it also exerts damage upon the door components.

It may be possible to fix a rubbing door with simple DIY methods, or it may be the best to seek a physical security professional’s services to fix the problem. It depends on the complexity and type of the issue, which can vary.

Issues Caused by a Door That Rubs Against Door Fr

A door that is rubbing against the frame can lead to inconveniences, deterioration to the door mechanisms, and even security concerns. As such, for the sake of the door’s maximized lifespan and security, it is best to seek the solutions as soon as you notice the door is rubbing, especially your front door. Here are some of the issues caused by a sticking door.

Difficulty in Opening or Closing the Door

A door rubbing on the frame disrupts the door from closing and opening smoothly. You may have to pull or push hard to do that because the door would keep sticking. Additionally, you may find that your door refuses to shut properly, and it may even open on its own. This can be bothersome to hassle with and wastes your time.

Door Not Latching Properly

If the door struggles with shutting properly, then obviously it also extends to not latching and locking properly. For interior doors, it can be an annoyance and a privacy concern. For exterior doors, it is a serious security concern and makes your house vulnerable. You should not neglect this sign of your door needing help.

Door Being Noisy When Opening or Closing the Door

When you close or open the door, you may hear squeaky noises due to the door rubbing against the frame. This can cause disturbance, especially during the nighttime.

Tread Marks Where the Door Rubs

You may notice tread marks on the door frame or the door itself. This deteriorates the exterior layer of the door and the door looks. If the door rubs at the bottom and there is a carpet located below it, then this concern worsens. If your door rubs against the carpet, then the carpet can get tread marks on it and be damaged.

7 Common Door Rubbing Causes And Solutions

Here are 7 common reasons behind a door rubbing on frame, as well as the common means to fix the rubbing door issues.

1. Door Expansion

Humidity is a common problematic factor behind the rubbing doors. A wooden door absorbs moisture in the air and as a result, it swells. The higher the humidity, the higher the expansion due to higher amount of absorption of the moist air by the doors. Hence, this issue can be prone to be heightened during the summers as the humidity levels tend to be increased throughout these.

That expansion can disrupt the door from opening or closing properly and cause the door to rub against the frame due to being too big. Hence, you should take measures to mitigate the moisture inside your house.

You can protect your doors from excessive moisture absorption by varnishing them, which can lessen the moisture from being absorbed. You may also use a dehumidifier near the door to absorb the moisture from the air. Additionally, it is best to keep your houseplants away from the door as they produce moisture in the air. 

Once your doors have expanded and gotten too tight to fit in the frame smoothly, the panel can be trimmed to fit into the door frame better and allow the door to open or close properly. First of all, the area that sticks against the door frame due to excess swelling would need to be located. Then the door would be taken off its hinges and have the excess parts shaved off by a tool like a belt sander or power planer.

Obviously, the procedure of trimming the door panel is intricate and irreversible, and requires skill and attention. You would not want to trim the panel excessively or even trim the wrong part. If you are not confident, it is best left to a skilled professional. Additionally, it can also risk leaving gaps in the door when the door contracts during the winter. A professional can decide the best course of action after an inspection.

2. Loose Hinge Screws

Along with constant usage over time, the hinges and screws gradually get loose. The loosened hinge screws holding the door may struggle to hold the door steady, causing the door to sag and rub against the door frame. These hinge screws can be tightened to bring the door alignment back to the corrected position. Any stripped screws should be replaced with new ones.

However, caution needs to be taken with these hinge screws. The door hinge screws are relatively fragile and soft and often made of brass. They should be carefully tightened and not overtightened. Otherwise, they can break or be stripped off the door parts. It is best to use a screwdriver or other low-power tool.

With that in mind, you need to begin finding where the sticking location is and tighten the screws around that area if they appear loose. The loose screws can be in the top and bottom hinges, strike plate, lock, etc. For example, if the door rubs at the top of the door, then it should be tried to tighten the top hinge screws. Once the rubbing location is located, its screws can be tightened up properly with a screwdriver.

Alternatively, it may be found that the screw holes have gotten larger over time, especially if the door is particularly old. This can be detected by the screws turning but not tightening when an attempt to tighten them is made. Obviously the enlarged screw holes would not accommodate a firm holding of the screws. In this case, the old unfit screws can be replaced with new and bigger screws so that they can fit tightly into the screw holes.

3. Dry Door Hinges

As with any moving mechanism, door parts like hinges require regular lubrication to function smoothly. Dried out parts can obstruct the door from moving properly and hence causing it to rub. Spray lubricants, oil, petroleum jelly, candle wax, etc. are all good means to lubricate the door hinges and get the door back to opening and closing smoothly without noisiness.

4. Dirt Accumulation

The cause of the problem may be the dirt accumulating in hinges, sides, or other elements. Doors require a regular cleaning schedule to sustain working properly. In order to avoid excess build-up, you should ensure to regularly clean your door to prevent it from growing excessive debris.

To thoroughly clean the door, especially a particularly dirty one, it may be necessary to unscrew the hinges to take the door off and then clean its parts, and to even disassemble some of its parts so that every component is clean and contributes to the door functioning properly.

5. Excessive Paint Build-Up

The door may rub due to paint. Paint coats, especially ones applied various times over the years or thick ones, can eventually disrupt the door mechanisms like the door jambs by accumulating in these. This would likely require to remove the hinge pins to take off the door and then sand it to solve the problem.

This process will remove the excess material from the door in order to remove the excessive paint accumulation, as well as any other elements that build up. Once that is done, a new layer of paint coating and varnishing can be applied. 

As aforementioned, sanding the door can be a challenging endeavor that requires attention to care. If you do not have the proper knowledge and skills for it, then you can end up stripping off excessive harmless material off the door and end up with a door that has gaps and brings in drought. Hence, unless you are experienced enough, it is best to leave the job to a door repair professional.

6. Improper Door Installation

Doors need to be installed with precise measurements and attention to all the minor details. Any mistake, even if small, can show its underlying issues later on with time. For example, if the door width was not proper, then this can be worsened in humid weather and lead to expansion enough to the point the door is too wide to fit properly in the frame. The side of the door areas rub against the frame in this case.

The hinge pins should be taken out so that the door can be taken off to have its measurements corrected. An expert can best do this and then put the door back.

7. Misaligned Door Latch

Due to the door frame stretching or moisture penetration, usage and aging, etc., the door latch can go out of alignment with the strike plate. This discrepancy of alignment between the door latch and strike plate leads to a sticky door and trouble in opening or closing the door

In order to resolve this issue, the strike plate can be unscrewed and dismounted, and then mounted back with an alignment that better fits the door frame and door latch. If the adjustment is not slight, you will likely need new screw holes which can differ from old ones. They can be filled with wood dowels and glue to secure the wood dowels.

Should You DIY or Call a Professional to Fix a Door That Rubs?

While certain solutions to fix a door that rubs are absolutely viable to do on your own, many may be better left to a professional to handle. As you can tell, certain tasks require specialized tools. If you are unfamiliar with them, then it may be beyond your capability to properly utilize them.

Additionally, some solutions may require you to remove the door. You have to take care with that too and ensure not to hurt yourself or damage the door in the process. Heavy doors can be especially dangerous. In some cases, it may even be needed to replace the door entirely, which would require finding the right door to install.

Lastly, it can be hard to diagnose the problem and implement the best course of action for a layman, as there are various kinds of problems that can be underlying. If the edge of the door is still rubbing after simple solutions like quick lubrication and tightening the screws, it may be the best to seek the services of a professional. A professional has the expertise and tools to figure out the issue and resolve it optimally.

Get Rid of Your Door Rubbing Issue Now

The inconveniences caused by a door rubbing on frame can be both bothersome and even insecure and harmful for the door components. There are a slew of issues that can cause this issue. We understand how crucial properly functioning doors are for security, privacy and convenience, and that not everyone has the knowledge and tools to implement DIY solutions.

With the robust experience of serving Toronto with reliable door repair and maintenance services since 5 years, our physical security professional can excellently fix the rubbing door issues and ensure that your door gets back to functioning properly and securely, while maintaining its maximum lifespans.

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.