Extreme variations in the soil moisture content can have a few surprising effects on both the outside and inside of your home. Sticking doors and windows are just one of those effects. In general, doors and windows start to stick when:
- the wood swells, which could happen if it’s exposed to excessive moisture and hasn’t been sealed with appropriate products, such as special paint, varnish, or lacquer;
- door/window tracks need to be cleaned and lubricated;
- locking mechanism fails;
- hinges become loose and/or misaligned.
If a sticking door or window is the result of swollen wood, the issue should resolve on its own once dry weather returns. If you have any problems with your window tracks, you could easily solve them by cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting the hinges. As well, a broken door latch assembly can be replaced with a new one.
But if the problem persists despite everything you’ve done to solve it, it’s important to know that doors and windows that get stuck could also be a tell-tale sign of a problem with the foundation.
When Sticking Doors and Windows Are a Sign of Foundation Issues
When the foundation of a home shifts—a phenomenon known as differential settlement—it can cause changes to its frame. Because a house’s frame is connected to different structural components, any changes to the frame can exert a lot of stress on other elements of your home, including door and window frames. The more a foundation shifts, the more it can distort the shape of the frame, making doors and windows unable to latch and even jam entirely.
Excessive moisture alternating with reduced water content in the ground could cause your Houston home’s foundation to shift. However, some other issues, such as soil erosion, poor compaction, and tree roots, could also create ideal conditions for foundation problems.
If sticking windows and doors are caused by problems with the foundation, they won’t go away on their own. Sometimes, cleaning, lubricating, adjusting, or replacing hardware may be a temporary fix that could enable your windows and doors to open and close more easily. But the foundation problem will continue to evolve in the ground. As the foundation will shift out of its level position more and more, your doors and windows may start to stick again to the point where lubrication and adjustment no longer help. Over time, other issues, such as cracks in the foundation and walls, may become visible, indicating the root cause of the problem.
If left unaddressed, a shifting foundation could eventually lead to all sorts of problems throughout a Houston home. In some cases, the damage can compromise the core integrity of the structure, meaning the home may no longer be safe to live in.
When it comes to foundation problems in Houston, only a local contractor that has plenty of experience with repairing foundations throughout the Houston-Galveston area will know how to inspect your home in order to confirm or, on the contrary, rule out foundation damage. By simply calling in an experienced foundation repair contractor as soon as you observe the first signs of foundation problems, you can avoid additional structural damage and keep repair costs to a minimum.
Other Signs of Foundation Problems
In some cases, windows and doors that stick are one of the primary signs of differential settlement. But a shifting foundation could cause many other problems, including:
- cracks in the foundation and walls;
- visibly unlevel, sagging, and/or bouncy floors;
- separation of built-in elements, such as cabinets, counters, trim, molding, and window frames, from the walls;
- gaps around the foundation as well as around door and window frames;
- plumbing problems.
Sticking doors and windows indicate an issue that requires your full attention. If any of your doors or windows are no longer closing easily, they can become more than just an annoyance. That’s because doors and windows that stick may also fail to close completely and latch properly. Not only will this impact the energy efficiency of your home, which will lead to higher energy bills and decreased comfort; it may also facilitate a pest infestation. As well, doors and windows that don’t work properly might become a safety hazard. In the event of an emergency, a door or window that gets stuck may prevent you from making a quick exit.
So, if you live in Houston, Galveston, or any other city nearby, and you have any sticking doors or windows, make sure that you schedule a free foundation inspection with our professionals today! When it comes to foundation problems, postponing repairs will only make things worse!