When windows stick, especially in an older home, you might simply chalk it up to over-painting or simply the window system’s deterioration over time. When doors stick, you might think it’s just a combination of heat and humidity. But in both cases, the problem may actually be a floor or two below you.
That’s because for your windows and doors to operate properly, they require the framing they were installed in to remain straight and square. But when a home’s foundation fails, the entire house is affected. Walls and floors shift slightly — sometimes undetectable to the human eye — but enough that the windows and doors that sit in them no longer open and close freely. So, if that window just won’t open smoothly, or that door sticks when you try to close it, it may be time to call in an expert to have a look at your home’s foundation.
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Diagnosing and Fixing the Problem
Foundation Recovery Systems offers a variety of solutions to permanently repair cracked, sinking foundations to prevent sticking windows and doors, including:
Our Certified Field Inspectors are trained to expertly diagnose foundation problems. They use highly specialized equipment that allows them to develop a solution tailored to your home’s unique needs. By the time the inspection is over, you’ll know exactly what caused the problem, exactly what it will take to fix it permanently and exactly how much it will cost to do so.
Once a solution has been customized for your home, we pick a date for the job. At that time, a highly trained production crew will install the solution, leaving your home fixed and protected for future generations — restoring its value, improving your family’s quality of life and giving you lasting peace of mind.
Sticking Windows & Doors
Contending with sticking doors and windows is more than just an inconvenience at the moment. These conditions can often indicate that something larger is wrong within your home. More likely than not, you may find yourself contending with some kind of foundation, crawl space, or basement damage that’s allowing unwanted moisture into your home.
Your doors and windows don’t start to jam for no reason at all. Instead, you can most often blame sticking doors and windows on the influence of hydrostatic pressure.
Contending with Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your home after heavy rains or snow runoff. As that moisture gathers outside of your foundation, basement, or crawl space, it can cause the molecules making up those structures to rapidly expand and contract. As those molecules change sizes, they’ll place the structures in question under a significant amount of stress. To compensate, your foundation, basement, or crawl space may crack. Once one of these structures has cracked, it will be even more difficult for you to keep moisture out of your home, as rain and snow runoff will have a direct line into your home.
Let that moisture have too much of an impact on your home, and your foundation can start to prematurely settle. As your foundation sinks, the structural supports keeping your home in place can falter. In turn, more moisture can make its way into your home, causing your door and window frames to crack. Similarly, the lack of support from the aforementioned structures can cause your frames to shift in place.
Cracks are most often caused by hydrostatic pressure, but that isn’t the only cause that may force your doors and windows to stick on a more regular basis. Certain insects can also cause your home’s structural supports to start to falter. As such, you may be able to attribute a crack in your wall to the presence of termites, for example, or carpenter ants in your home. As these critters eat away at your structural supports, the drywall in your walls may begin to pull away from the damaged supports, causing cracks to form in your greater wall.
In other cases, the construction team who built your home may have made a mistake while setting your walls and floors. In these cases, you may be working with green structural supports or supports that aren’t in the right place. If it turns out that your structural supports weren’t established appropriately, your door and window frames may start to shift out of place as gravity has its way.
If you’re concerned about the cost of door and window repairs around your home, you may consider repairing or replacing your damaged property on your own. These kinds of DIY projects can be rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that they’re your best option. If you’re not careful, trying to fix a stuck door or window on your own can actually cause more problems for you and your home in the long run.
DIY and Personal Repair Expenses
The cost of DIY window and door frame repair can often tally up to be far more than even experienced DIY homeowners may expect. Consider, after all, what sort of tools and materials you’re going to need to repair a water damaged door frame. Even if the damage isn’t extensive, you’ll still have to invest in the wood and tools to straighten out those damaged boards. If you’re not going to use certain necessary tools more than once, then those single-use purchases can cost you a pretty penny. That’s assuming, too, that the damage you’re contending with is confined to your door and window frames. If you have crawl space, basement, or foundation damage to address, then you can expect your repair costs to rise significantly.
Furthermore, you’re going to have to take into account the costs you may incur after your repairs are complete. You will, after all, want to consider what kinds of home waterproofing measures may be available to you if you want to keep unwanted moisture from making its way back into your home again. While you may be able to find certain home waterproofing measures available on the market, you won’t be able to take advantage of any connections professionals may already have set up with industry manufacturers.
The Danger of DIY Mistakes
You also risk making serious mistakes while trying to repair a sticking door or window without help from a professional. Without the years of experience to back your work up, you may find that you do more damage to an off-kilter door frame or windowsill if you try to repair it on your own. If you have more extensive damage to contend with, you may also find that your DIY repairs either don’t attend to the problem you’re facing or further destabilize your crawl space, basement, or foundation.
That only notes what can go wrong during the repair process. If you do manage to go about repairing a door or window frame without doing damage to your home, you may make a mistake while installing the waterproofing measure of your choice. Mistakes during installation can make it seem as though your home is safe when it really isn’t. If you end up obscuring the symptoms of more severe water damage, then you may find yourself contending with not only sticking doors but a damaged foundation in the months to come.
At the end of the day, it is always in your best interest to reach out to the professionals in your area if you need help repairing any sticking doors or window frames. To get started, these professionals can help you:
Identify Sticking Doors and Windows
Your home tends to let you know when something’s gone amiss indoors. If, however, you tend to leave your basement windows closed, or there’s always been a door in your home that’s failed to close, you may not be able to tell just when you’ll want to reach out to an area professional. The good news is that there are signs that you can keep an eye out for that will let you know when the time is right to invest in home repair. These can include:
- Cracks around the edges of your door or window frames
- Damage to the frames themselves, including chipping or splitting
- Failing or uneven doors and windows
- An unusual number of pests in your home
- Cracks in exterior and interior walls
That said, you won’t always be able to attribute the aforementioned damage solely to sticking doors or windows. These conditions themselves tend to indicate that something larger may be wrong with your home. For example, sticking doors and windows can often indicate that you’re contending with unusual amounts of moisture in your crawl space, basement, or foundation. If you notice any of the above, you’ll want to consider reaching out to the professional contractors working in your area. The sooner you can schedule a thorough home inspection, the sooner you can understand just what may have gone wrong in your space.
Fixing Jammed Windows and Doors
The solutions that help you fix your sticking doors and windows will vary based on the force that’s causing these fixtures to fall out of alignment. As such, you’ll want to make sure you’ve consulted with the experts in your area before you start researching the repair methods that may suit you best.
When it comes to fixing your home’s sticking door and window frames, your available solutions typically break down as follows:
- If it turns out that your foundation has developed some manner of crack or has begun to sink prematurely, then you’ll want to invest in home stabilization methods such as piering systems. These solutions will help move your foundation back into place, effectively undoing the damage that’s caused your doors and windows to stick.
- If the problem you’re contending with can be traced to damage in your crawl space or basement, then you can invest in more concentrated home repair methods. For example, you can request that professionals bring in either joist and girder replacements or crawl space support jacks. Both systems will help move your sagging floors back into place. Once these problems are settled, you’ll have an easier time ensuring that your doors and windows operate as they should.
Your foundation stabilizes your home and keeps all of the structural supports therein where they should be. If, however, your foundation begins to show signs of damage, then those same supports can begin to falter, either due to overall destabilization or to concentrated rot. Your door and window frames, for example, can begin to fall out of alignment as your foundation settles unevenly.
In that same vein, a destabilized foundation tends to increase the amount of hydrostatic pressure other supports throughout your home have to endure. While a faulty foundation isn’t always a cracked foundation, it can allow both standing water and humidity into the rest of your home. In turn, the materials making up your door and window frames can begin to develop stress cracks or other conditions that may make them harder to open or shut. Note that in either case, you’ll want to make sure that you invest in foundation repairs before you go about repairing any frames that have suffered damage. If you try to replace your door and window frames without addressing the core problem in your home, then you risk seeing worsening damage within your space over the next few weeks and months. Alternatively, if you invest in foundation repairs and then go about replacing your door and window frames, you’ll have a better chance of preserving those new supports in the years to come.
Working with Area Professionals
Trying to understand the complexities of home repair can be a challenge even for tenured homeowners. That’s where the professional contractors in your area come into play. Together, you can walk through your home and better understand what may be making it more difficult for you to open and close your windows or doors. From there, you can assess the overall structural integrity of your basement, crawl space, or foundation to determine if the problem at hand is superficial or more complex than it seems.
The professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems can provide you with a free services quote detailing what kind of care your home may need and what kind of preventive measures may be available to you after those repairs are complete. If you want to bring your windows and doors back up to snuff, you can reach out to area experts ASAP.