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My house was built about 2 years ago. The front door has been adjusted multiple times to get around problems where it didn't latch (deadbolt hitting too high on strike plate) and/or wedged against the frame:

  • At inspection, it was not latching. Some adjustment was made to fix that (I believe they just filed the strike plate).
  • A few months later, the deadbolt was sticking because the top surface was wedging against wood in the frame. I fixed it by hogging out more wood to square up the area behind the strike plate.
  • Before the first year was up, the door stuck shut completely. The original installer (via the builder, via the included homeowner's insurance) came out to fix it. He indicated that side-light doors were tricky to install (no ability to pull the door around because it's framed by glass). He ended up completely removing the frame and re-hanging it. To fix all the issues it's actually installed in a slightly different plane than the wall (one top corner is flush with the wall, and one is inset in the wall). The trim carpenter did a good job of hiding this.
  • Now (about 9 months later) it's stuck against the frame again and possibly headed toward completely stuck.

The door is basically level (it doesn't tend to swing open/shut on its own, and it measures pretty level). There's no cracking in any of the surrounding drywall, even though the above sequence of events seems like it must have moved one side of the frame by at least 1/2 inch.

Looking for recommendations. I let it go this long hoping it would stop moving so the next fix would "stick", but I'm not sure the rate of change is slowing down. I can't tell what is actually moving. The only thing that I can think of is that the concrete stoop is dragging it down, but I don't see evidence of that against the outside of the house.

  • Is the wall still plumb and level? In a plumb and level wall there should never be a situation where the door should have to be hung outside the plane of the wall. – Comintern Jan 1 '16 at 23:07
  • @Comintern: The wall is fairly level. The corner where the door is "buried" seems to be due to the wall not being flat. The adjacent walls are parallel to each other, but both lean about 1/2" over 4'. – Ben Jackson Jan 2 '16 at 0:45
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This could be a case where your home has been built on soil that moves with changes in moisture content, such as an area with expansive soil. There are expensive and intrusive methods for reducing the effects of soil expansion, but you can't really eliminate it.

A 2 year old house should still be under a warranty of some sort, I would procure blueprints and foundation details from the builder and call a home foundation specialist to ensure that the underlying structures were built appropriate to the soil type.

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This was actually resolved a year or so ago, but I forgot I had posted here:

The solution to this problem was to replace the wall with the door in it. It was a non-load-bearing wall about 8' wide at the end of a hallway between two load-bearing walls (the outside wall and the wall of the garage). The surrounding structure had settled onto it and was deforming the whole wall. The door was re-hung without side-lights so that it could screw into stronger framing, but I don't think it would have mattered. The shape of the doorframe has not changed at all since it was re-hung in the new wall.

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