For some reason, the doors in our house make a very loud "unsticking" sound when you open them.

It's almost as if the paint isn't cured, since the sound seems to come from the contact area around the frame, where the door touches the doorframe -- but this house has not been painted in 5 years.

This loud "unsticking" door opening noise doesn't seem like a big problem, and I suppose it isn't, but since I'm a night owl, so when I open doors it tends to wake my wife up. And that's not good for ye olde marital harmony.

What can I do to make the doors in our home open more quietly without this sticking sound?

Should I somehow lubricate the frame (I'm worried that it'll collect dust or other particles and look bad)? Maybe use sandpaper to rough the paint up so it's less likely to stick?

  • What type of paint? Sep 15, 2010 at 0:28
  • Are these your exterior doors with weather stripping? Mine did this real bad and it turned out to be the weather stripping. I replaced it and now my doors don't even make a sound when opened. Dec 12, 2012 at 16:45
  • @oscilatingcretin good idea -- these were interior doors. Sanding down the part that touches the jamb (the hinge edge) got rid of almost all of it! Dec 12, 2012 at 22:31
  • 2
    My appreciation of Jeff Atwood went up two notches. This is not a question an unkind person asks. Also I support middle night goodness.
    – Bob Stein
    Apr 23, 2019 at 23:31

10 Answers 10


By what you're describing, I assume you have paint on the outer edges of the door and the inside of the door frame. Paint doesn't make a good lubricant. And the door may not have been fitted to have the clearance for a coat of paint, or three coats if its an older house. And then when its humid and the door expands a bit, the paint rubs catches against the paint on the other surface.

If that is true, you could sand down or strip the offending parts until they clear each other without touching (and possibly repaint with a single coat if you need to). I'd expect sanding only to "rough it up" to increase the friction, not make it better.

  • 3
    Agreed. We had a similar issue in the home we were renting where the door space gap wasn't large enough. This was compounded by a fault hinge that caused one side to rub against the frame more closely too. In our case, tightening the hinges made the situation better (but didn't completely solve the issue).
    – Mike B
    Sep 11, 2010 at 21:26
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    If you do sand down the door and expose the bare wood then you open it up to moisture (more problems during humid weather). As mentioned by @yhw42, once you fix the problem by sanding the offending parts, I recommend painting that area to seal it from moisture (but not too much paint where you cause the problem again). Sep 12, 2010 at 10:43

The problem is simply that the paint we use now (latex) sucks. The best way to fix it that I've found is to use some clear wax (paraffin wax); just rub it into the door jamb. It works.

  • 1
    does the wax collect dirt or dust? Sep 9, 2011 at 4:23
  • Paste wax works very well for lubricating wood doors and window. It is usually sold as a furniture polish, and often has a nice citrus smell :). May 28, 2012 at 1:18
  • This didn't quite work for me. So I used an even more simpler solution. Put some scotch tape (think transparent, Staples kind, not home depot kind) inside the door jamb on the offending areas. Problem solved. Eventually it will start sticking again - remove and reapply the tape.
    – cryptic0
    Feb 10, 2019 at 17:04

I know what you mean ... Every time I open the interior doors I hear a "sticking" almost "cracking" sound. Not like it's "out of kilter" or too tight because the door swings open/closed freely. It sort of sounds like the paint is "sticking" or like when you try to pull cellophane tape off off of itself when it gets tangled.

It was driving me crazy so I put my ear up to the door and slowly opened/closed (REPEATEDLY) to determine exactly when/where the door was "cracking". I eventually discovered it was coming from the part of the door where the door meets the door jam. (For me, it was the right side of the door closest to the hinges). It looked like when the house was painted years ago, the paint wasn't fully dried and stuck together. When the door was closed the paint stuck together ...then when it was eventually opened, some of the paint from the jam got stuck onto the door creating a jagged buildup of paint on the door.

When looking closely you could see little "peaks and valleys" on the door that fit perfectly into the "valleys and peaks" on the door jam (like a puzzle) exposing the previous color of paint. Every time the door opened, the paint "puzzle pieces" made a "sticking" sound as they released.

I used a sanding block to take down the elevated areas of the paint on the door and jam. This fixed the "sticking" sound and since it's very cold and humid at this time of year, I'll hold off re-painting 'til the weather changes so the paint can FULLY dry before re-hanging the doors.


Is your sticking sound accompanied by what feels like a little drag on the door as it clears the jamb? If so, then the door is rubbing on the jamb. First check the tightness of your hinge screws, and if they're all reasonably tight and you're still getting the rubbing, you'll need to sand or plane down the offending edge(s) of the door and repaint.

If there's no extra drag, and just a little pop as the door first breaks away from the stop (the moulding it closes against when fully closed), then it's likely the paint is just a bit sticky. I'd try giving it a good cleaning with 409 or something. If that doesn't help, for a quick and easy fix you could try to isolate where it's sticking and strategically apply some scotch tape just to that area inside the stop moulding where the door touches. Shouldn't be too noticeable. If you want to fix it the harder but more correct way, you'd need to repaint.

  • Was going to give an up vote but the scotch tape ruined it.
    – Tester101
    Sep 12, 2010 at 4:24
  • Really, that bad? My thinking was that if the paint is sticky, a little 2"x1/4" strip of tape inside the door stop just at the right spot would hardly be noticeable, and would almost certainly solve the problem. Sep 12, 2010 at 23:22
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    At the very least, the scotch tape "solution" would identify the problem. If the problem goes away with a piece of tape there, you know what to look at.
    – user558
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:29

I just got a new place with the same problem, and the inspector mentioned that wood can expand due to heat. The A/C hadn't been working, so the house had been hot in the summer months while it sat on the market. He said not to adjust the doors until after a month of running the A/C. He said if they didn't contract to normal size, I'd have to use a belt sander to shave the edge off.

  • Wood changes in width and thickness (not length) with temperature and humidity. There is no one "normal" size, just a normal range of sizes for your climate. If in a new house, waiting a few months makes sense. After that, I would plane or sand off extra material whenever it is too thick. Where I live, it is normal for gaps to be slightly larger in winter than summer, but it is only a slight difference.
    – skiggety
    Sep 5, 2014 at 16:47

If the painted surfaces are sticking to each other then a rough-up sanding may help. If they're rubbing then yhw42 may be right that friction could increase but since you'd be removing a little material it may decrease resulting in a wash.


Our door was making the same type of noises. What I found was when the hinge was turning, it actually rubbed against the frame of the door. We solved our problem by putting a 1/16" shim behind the door plates. This was enough to move the hinges away from the frame. Then the door ended up being a little too tight at the closer plates to the door knob, so I just had to sand out where the catch plate was and all problems solved. You need to sometimes make minor adjustments to solve these door issues.


I've had the same problem with doors popping when I open them. I got an idea of where the problematic area on the door jam is and got a Q-tip and some Vaseline and applied a small amount of Vaseline on the q-tip. I then applied it to the door jam where it sounds like the pops were coming from. After applied, open and close the door a few times and checked to see if it was applied in the proper area and the popping stopped.

Do not use WD40 on hinges as it can run into wood & stain it or drip on floor and cause damage to the flooring (tile or wood). Instead, with help have someone hold door up and take the pins out one at a time and apply a very small amount of grease on the pins. Be careful not to put too much on them and put the pin back in and move on to next pin. Wipe excess grease off of hinge or pin so it as well does not get everywhere.

  • good idea; others suggested furniture polish (a kind of wax, I suppose), and I'm going to try that first as I am worried about dust buildup from sticky stuff like vaseline, or lithium grease. Dec 12, 2012 at 22:32
  • Did this work? what kind of wax did you use?
    – Brad8118
    Oct 5, 2014 at 10:56

Is there anything on door frame like draught excluder?

In the UK this is often foam or short bristle but can be "P" shaped rubber strips. It could be this that's sticking to the door, particularly if it's old and has got dirty.

If you remove this does the noise go away.

Another possibility is the hinge, but the noise you describe doesn't sound like the sort of noise a hinge would make. A drop or two of light oil will lubricate the hinge - something you might want to do anyway.

  • 1
    WD-40 isn't a lubricant. I would recommend light oil as you mentioned or aerosol lithium or graphite (any of which can be messy so apply carefully). Sep 12, 2010 at 21:07
  • @Dennis - I'll update the answer.
    – ChrisF
    Sep 12, 2010 at 21:19
  • This again? WD-40 is a lubricant, according to its packaging and marketing. Many people, myself included, have reported acceptable results using it to lubricate door hinges. It probably does not last as long as lithium grease, but is easier to apply. See diy.stackexchange.com/questions/1427/…. Sep 13, 2010 at 0:33
  • I had squeaky garage door rollers and after applying WD-40 they would be fine for a few weeks. Then they'd start squeaking again and I'd repeat the cycle. Spray, squeak. One application of lithium was all it took and the squeaks were gone. Aerosol lithium is just as easy to apply as WD-40. Sep 13, 2010 at 22:14
  • I'll take your single data point and raise you my single data point: I sprayed WD-40 on the hinges of a squeaky door 2 years ago and the door still was not squeaking when we moved out this spring. Remember that garage door rollers are pretty much totally exposed; when you spray them you're getting lithium grease all inside them. If you spray a door hinge with grease, almost none of it is going to penetrate inside the hinge to the bearing surfaces where the noise is being made. In order to get the grease where it counts you'd need to take apart the hinge, thus my "easier to apply" comment. Sep 14, 2010 at 18:45

Mine was doing the same thing. I heard that putting a little Vaseline on the door stops it, so I tried it and guess what: no sticking sound. It does tend to wear off in time, but I just reapply it and no noise.

  • 1
    A temporary fix at the very best, and one that leaves a greasy residue as well. Sep 27, 2012 at 19:13

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