I had a contractor come in and finish my basement. He done a decent job for the price but now a couple months later my doors wont shut. They worked perfectly fine before but now it seems the top part it getting caught on the trim. My first thought was to sand the top portion so it will close but not sure if that would be a long term fix. It seems to be about 1/8 inch off at the top. There are two doors like this.

I tried to take the door off and put it back on thinking it may not have been set correctly.

  • 2
    Has the humidity level increased in the basement?
    – Tester101
    Jul 2, 2014 at 15:10
  • How much clearance is bellow the door?
    – Handy Man
    Jul 2, 2014 at 16:03
  • pretty decent amount of clearance on the bottom. Its the top right portion that hits the trim Jul 2, 2014 at 17:02

5 Answers 5


I would bet the doors were dryer than they are now. Most basements are more humid than the rest of a typical home, especially in the summer. In the winter they will shrink again, but it will be needed to trim a little here and there to get them to work in the summer.

  • Do you suggest I just sand the portion down thats hitting the trim? Jul 2, 2014 at 17:03
  • 1
    Yes if that is what you have to work with, but if it is hitting the trim and not the jamb, it will take a lot more than sanding to get it down where it will close properly. I scribe the door at the jamb, remove the door and hand plane the top. It will take much less time than sanding, lots cleaner too, IF you have a sharp plane. If the door is too far out, it may be best to remove and reset the door. Do you know if it is a split jamb?
    – Jack
    Jul 2, 2014 at 17:10

I had two doors that would stick, a hand plane was much more effective then sanding.
If you do not have one buy an Empire Pocket plane, they are around 10 dollars and just as effective.

  • A plane may not work well on some hollow core doors.
    – Tester101
    Jul 2, 2014 at 16:26

Your doors will fluctuate and if your contractor made them snug then during the summer they will need to be "adjusted". Just installed two doors in my basement snug this past winter knowing they would stick. They are currently sticking - barely close. So I will pull them off hinges and hit them with a belt sander on the non-hinge side.


Painting the doors probably would've helped. Moisture penetrated through the unpainted top of the door and bottom.


Door adjustment can be an art, and sometimes a black art.
Houses usually move and change dimensions with season as average temperatures, humidity and ground water changes.

Planing a door will usually work but you need to take care that the changes are not cosmetically noticeable. This can depend on door finish / grain / patterns and fittings - any of which can allow relatively small material removal to be noticeable.

What may work is to loosen the hings screws slightly and then move the door slightly in the desired rotational direction and then tighten the screws "differentially" to favour the new position. You can place a small wedge under the door to lift it slightly when screw tightening or have someone lean on it or suspend a weight from the door handle to lower it when tightening.

Hinges are usually inset into slight indents which may make positional change impossible. Relieving these in the desired direction "just enough" my help.

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