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Sticking Doors and Windows

Is it the heat or is it a problem with your foundation? Sticking doors and windows can be confusing for homeowners. In the summer heat or humid times, your doors and windows may stick. This is usually due to moisture in the wood which causes it to expand and not fit within the door or window frame.

How do you know the difference between humidity and foundation problems?

sticking doors and windowsThere are a few ways to find out if sticking doors and windows are due to humidity problems or due to actual foundation problems. The first is to look for cracks around the windows or doors. Cracks can indicate that the foundation has settled and that the walls are showing this through cracks. Another way to find out if it’s really foundation damage is if the door frame or window frame has begun to separate from the wall. This is a surefire way to tell that there is at least some kind of foundation problem happening.

In cases of just humidity, you may only see the door or window “sticking” and not fitting correctly within the frame. This would come about with high heat and humidity and in no other time. However, this could also be a sign of foundation problems. In cases where your doors and windows suddenly begin “sticking,” it may be wise to call the foundation experts at Custom Concrete and have them come out for a free estimate. It’s better to be safe than sorry with foundation issues.

What are the causes of sticking doors and windows?

If you have determined the doors and windows aren’t sticking from humidity, there are quite a few foundation problems that could be behind the issue. One of these is improperly compacted soil from when the home was built. When the home is first built, a hole is dug in the ground that is bigger than the foundation of the home will be. Workers are then able to place the structure inside of that area. However, they then have to backfill the extra soil into the open spaces around the home. This can cause a variety of problems because it is not as compacted as the soil around it (which has been pushed down for hundreds of thousands of years). When the soil is unstable like this, it can cause the house to settle in unexpected and dangerous ways and lead to large cracks and tilting or leaning walls or slabs. Improperly compacted soil can also have to do with building on top of soil that has already been dug up, which is never a good idea as it will cause the same problems.

Another way that the backfill from above can hurt your home and cause issues like sticking windows and doors is that because it is looser soil, water can easily permeate it. Soil will then become heavier and denser and begin to push against the foundation walls. Cracks will form and let in water, critters, and moisture. After a while, these cracks can get bigger and turn into bowing or leaning walls. Problems like this will affect the stability and safety of your home, and give you warning sign like sticking windows and doors since we’re not always in our basements or near the foundation walls.

Tree roots and vegetation like ivy can also cause damage to the home and eventual foundation problems. Tree roots grow into the base of the foundation and cause cracks. Cracks will, again, let in moisture, bugs, and cause flooding problems. Eventually this leads to bowing or leaning walls. Certain soils can also start to dry up and crack in drought like conditions. This may shift the location of your foundation walls and cause them to bow in or outwards with the new pressure points, and this can cause sticking windows and doors.

What’s the best way to fix the problem?

sticking doors and windowsIn most cases, the problem is not the sticking door or window specifically. They are only a symptom of a bigger problem. Foundation repair is the way to go in most situations with sticking doors and windows, and this could include a push pier system, helical piers, or wall anchors. A push pier system would involve putting piers into the ground beneath your foundation. They go very deep so that they are not in the loose backfill soil that may have caused problems in the first place. Then the weight of the foundation is transferred onto the piers, and the foundation can be stable and secure again. Helical piers are much the same, but they are screwed in instead of just pushed into the ground (hence “push pier”). However, they’re usually used for lightweight repairs, and may not be the best option for every home. The other option is wall anchors, which are most commonly used for bowing or leaning walls. These are driven in the soil on the side of the foundation and then screwed into a plate on the inside of the wall. Gradually, the foundation wall will become straight again. Some crack repair may be needed, but overall it should sort out your foundation problem and your sticking window and door problem.

If you’re confused about which option is right for your problem, don’t worry! We’re happy to come out to your home and provide you a free estimate and answer any questions that you may have. We will also recommend to you the best option to solve your foundation issue based on your specific situation. Each foundation problem is unique, and each has a unique, best solution. Contact us today for more information and to get started on getting rid of sticking windows and doors and making your house stable and secure once more.