You just had to shove your shoulder against the basement door for the umpteenth time to budge it open. During this hellish process, you probably thought to yourself, "Why does everything have to be so hard?!"
Guess what? It doesn't.
Your old house's sticking doors are a nuisance, to be sure, but they are actually easy to fix — you just have to commit to spending 30 minutes making some simple adjustments (or however much time it takes to call a handyman to do so).
Before we get into the nitty gritty, know this: a door may stick one day and be fine the next. That doesn't mean the situation magically resolved itself. "If you have a wooden door, then you definitely have to consider that an increase in humidity causes the door to expand," says Lui Colmenares, owner of Mr. Handy NYC. In other words, your doors are much more likely to be finicky in the middle of summer than on chilly winter days.
Thankfully, the all-weather solution comes down to two easy methods:
Tighten the hinges
Inspect the door to see if sagging hinges are the culprit of the stickiness. "If an installed door has a hinge problem, normally the screws have come out of the wood," says Colmenares. "As a quick fix, we replace the screws with slightly bigger ones that still fit. Just simply take off old screws and put in new ones."
Trim the bottom of the door
Door still getting caught? The next step is to remove a thin layer from the bottom edge so it can swing smoothly. "When shaving a door, you may need a second hand for support," says Colmenares. "Just simply take the door off the frame with the hinges still attached to the door. Then, shave the bottom part of the door using a trimming plane or an electric hand planer." (You could also tackle this with sandpaper, but it will take you awhile.) The space between the floor and the door should be no wider than an 1/8-inch or so. If you get overzealous (it happens), Colmenares recommends buying a draft guard to close up that space.
Now, off you go!