Do Wood Doors Expand In Summer?

Expanding doors can be a real pain. The constant clicking and banging can be annoying, and if left unchecked, an expanding door can damage both the door frame and the door itself. Thankfully, we did research on how to fix this problem.

Wooden doors may swell up in the summertime because of the humidity. If you have a wooden door and it starts to swell, there are a few things that you can do to try to fix the problem.

  1. Use Oil and Tighten the Hinges
  2. Secure the Strike Plate
  3. Handle the Humidity
  4. Keep the Door Away from the Plants
  5. Shave The Panel
  6. Fix the Foundation Settling and Sinking

In this blog post, we will discuss what causes wooden doors to swell in the summertime, and we will also provide some tips on how you can reduce the chances of your door swelling.

Wooden door surrounded by green vine on summer day, Do Wood Doors Expand In Summer?

Why Do Doors Swell in the Summer?

Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that it absorbs and releases moisture from the air, depending on the relative humidity. This can cause problems for doors since they are exposed to both indoor and outdoor conditions.

When the humidity is high, the door will absorb moisture from the air and swell. When the humidity is low, the door will release moisture and shrink. These changes in size can cause the door to warp, making it difficult to close or open.

As the temperatures rise in the summer, many people notice that their wood doors start to expand. While this may be cause for alarm at first, it is actually a very normal process. As the humidity levels increase, the door will absorb moisture from the air and the wood will swell slightly.

This is not something to worry about, as the door will return to its original size once the weather starts to cool down again.

How Do You Fix a Swollen Door?

A swollen door is often the result of humidity and temperature changes that cause the wood to expand. While this is a common problem, it's one that can be easily fixed.

1. Use Oil and Tighten the Hinges

Tightening door hinge

One best way to fix a swollen door is to oil and tighten the hinges.

  • Begin by removing the door from its frame.
  • Then, using a clean cloth, wipe down the hinges and apply a light layer of oil.
  • Next, use a screwdriver to tighten any loose screws.
  • Finally, reattach the door to its frame and test it to make sure that it opens and closes smoothly.

View wood oil on Amazon.

2. Secure the Strike Plate

Securing the strike plate

One way to fix your swelling wooden door is by securing the strike plate.

  • First, check the strike plate to see if it is loose. If so, simply tighten the screws. If the strike plate is not the problem, then the next step is to adjust the hinges.
  • Loosen the screws slightly and then tap the door until it is level.
  • Finally, if neither the strike plate nor the hinges are the issue, then it is likely that the weatherstrip needs to be replaced.

3. Handle the Humidity

For instance, you can use a hairdryer to remove any excess moisture from the door or place a piece of cardboard between the door and frame to help prevent binding.

  • First, check the weatherstripping around the door to make sure that it is intact and not allowing any outside air to enter. If the weatherstripping is damaged, replace it with new material.
  • Next, install a dehumidifier in the room to help reduce the moisture in the air.
  • Finally, apply a coat of waterproof sealant to the door to help protect it from future damage.

See the dehumidifier on Amazon.

4. Keep the Door Away from the Plants

A swollen door can be a real pain. Not only is it difficult to open and close, but it can also damage the frame if left unchecked. In most cases, a swollen door is caused by excessive moisture in the air. This can be due to high humidity levels or direct exposure to water.

Plants are often responsible for increasing moisture levels, as they release water vapor into the air especially as temperatures increase. As a result, it's important to move any plants away from the door if you want to fix a swollen door.

5. Shave The Panel

Man chisel white door

The first instinct might be to sand the door down in order to fix the problem. However, this will only temporarily fix the issue and will eventually make the door worse. A better solution is to shave the door panel.

Simply shave off the raised portion of the panel. This will help to release the pressure and allow the door to move freely again.

Of course, you'll want to take care not to damage the door in the process. A sharp chisel or plane will do the trick, but you'll need to exercise caution to avoid taking off too much material.

Get chisel on Amazon.

6. Fix the Foundation Settling and Sinking

As your home settles, the door frame moves with it, causing the door to become misaligned. If left unchecked, this can lead to serious problems like cracked drywall and uneven floors.

First, check the condition of your foundation. If it's cracked or uneven, it will need to be repaired before you can fix the door.

Once the foundation is in good shape, you can use shims to level the door frame and make sure it's properly aligned. 

If the settling is severe, you may need to have your foundation repaired. Swelling can also be caused by water damage, so it's important to rule out any leaks before attempting any repairs.

If you're not sure what's causing the swelling, it's best to consult a professional. They will be able to assess the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Do All Types of Wood Doors Expand or Just Certain Kinds? 

Wood is an organic material that expands and contracts with changes in humidity. This movement is called expansion and contraction, or wood movement.

All wood doors, whether solid wood or engineered wood, will experience some degree of wood movement as the weather changes. However, the amount of expansion and contraction varies depending on the type of wood.

Hardwoods, such as oak and maple, expand and contract more than softwoods, such as pine and cedar. In addition, engineered woods, such as plywood and particle board, are more stable than solid woods and are less likely to warp or cup.

As a result, when choosing a wood door, it is important to consider the stability of the door as well as the expansion and contraction rates of the different types of wood.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Door Swelling?

Swelling is one of the most common problems faced by wooden doors. It occurs when the door is exposed to moisture, causing the wood to absorb water and expand.

This can cause the door to warp, crack, or even break. Swelling can be prevented by taking some simple precautions.

  1. First, it is important to keep the door well-sealed. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and causing it to swell.
  2. Second, it is important to avoid exposing the door to extreme changes in temperature or humidity. sudden changes can cause the wood to expand and contract, resulting in swelling.
  3. Finally, it is important to regularly inspect the door for any signs of damage or wear.

By taking these simple steps, you can help prevent your wooden door from swelling.

Are There Any Benefits to Having a Wood Door?

A beautiful wooden door graces the entrance to a west coast contemporary home

Doors are one of those things that we take for granted. We use them to enter and exit our homes, and we might not give much thought to the material they're made from. But, there are actually quite a few benefits to having a wood door.

For one, wood is an environmentally friendly material. It's a renewable resource that can be sustainably sourced, and it doesn't require as much energy to produce as other materials like steel or aluminum.

In addition, wood doors are highly durable and can last for many years with proper care. They're also low-maintenance and relatively easy to repair if they become damaged.

Lastly, wood doors add a sense of warmth and natural beauty to a home that can be hard to replicate with other materials. So next time you're in the market for a new door, consider the many benefits of wood.

Final Thoughts

Wood doors do expand in the summertime due to the increased humidity levels. While this may not be an issue for most homes, it is important to take this into account when purchasing or installing a new door.

If you are having issues with your current wood door, make sure to adjust the hinges and/or trim as needed to ensure a tight seal and proper function.

To get more tips about maintaining your house, see our posts below:

Should Roof Tiles Be Nailed Down?

How To Tint Home Windows 

Can You Walk On A Zinc Roof?