Do Your Doors Bind? Tip of the week

Frequently when performing a Home Inspection, I find doors that bind or are out of square.

Check your interior doors including closets and see if they bind. Is the opening around the door the same size all the way around?Door binds Look at the opening between the door itself and the frame at the top and at the sides.
Interior doors that bind as well as windows that don’t latch are frequently two of the first signs that a home is moving.

If you find doors that bind, you may want to Check the grading and drainage around your home. Improper drainage can lead to moisture under and around the foundation, if the soils are not stable (common in parts of the Phoenix metro area) The moisture can activate the soils or trigger movement.

You may want to give us a call. We can come out and inspect the property for you as well, However, if we see signs of significant movement, do not be surprised if we refer you to a geotechnical engineer.

Many times, a door out of square is easily corrected, weather stripping may be pinched behind the edge when the door is closed, or hinges may have come loose. Another sign to look for is doors that used to latch but no longer do.

Sliding closet doors often appear to be square unless you slide them both all the way to the opposite side. This is because the door opening was not built square to begin with and the trim carpenter simply adjusted the doors to fit tight against the opening.

Be weary of the contractor that simply wants to shave a door down that used to fit properly. I look at this as a band aid and not a repair, If the door used to fit, and now it is out of square and binds, that may be a sign of a larger issues.

Don’t forget to consider the weather when your doors bind. Wood doors and frames tend to swell when the humidity go up. I recently had a home inspection client that installed an evaporative cooler then called to complain that I did not tell him all the doors bind.

When I went to the home and saw the new cooler running I asked if the issue started after he installed the swamp cooler. He admitted that is when the doors started to have issues.

See a swamp cooler blows damp air into the home to cool it. That additional moisture caused the wood to swell.

Remember binding doors can be unsafe, some people (children and elderly) may not be able to force a door open and may panic or feel trapped.

I suggest you take care of the doors as soon as possible

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