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Fixing Doors that Stick and Windows that Stick in Historic Homes

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The good news about old doors that stick is that most of them are reacting to temperature changes, which cause the wood to swell. Doors are more likely to stick in the summer in response to humidity. It is often possible to repair the problem by:

  1. Tightening screws in the hinge(s) or using longer screws to pull the door closer to its frame and alleviate the sticking.

  2. Placing shims behind hinges to bring the door into plumb.

  3. Repairing or replacing the threshold.

  4. Planing the door (while being careful not to plane too much; you don’t want a loose door come winter).

In all cases, the door should be properly sealed to keep out humidity. If the door was planed, the planed area has to be primed and painted.

The good news about old windows is that they too react to temperature changes and can be easily repaired. For windows that stick, we recommend:

  1. Cleaning and lightly sanding the tracks and then lubricating with a silicon spray.

  2. Removing any paint seal (from excessive painting) by running a putty knife around the window.

  3. Checking the window for weights that are not hooked up or pulley ropes that are broken; this is a common problem with the original double-hung windows in historic homes.

The bad news is that doors and windows may stick because of foundation problems. In that case, the walls may also be out of plumb. You can still try the repairs above, but they aren’t permanent repairs, and the foundation issues should be addressed. If you haven’t called in the experts before, now is the time.


#doors #historichome #repairs #Massachusetts #kitchen #Marblehead #Renovation #windows

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