Have you ever encountered a scenario where your door suddenly seems not to fit where it belongs, and it just won’t close? You’re not alone.

Incidents of doors acting up when you’re trying to lock them, when you’re just about to leave for work or close them behind you after a long day at work are quite common during winter. So, what physical processes or emotional distress could they be dealing with during the cold season?

Snowman on the entry way

These hardworking buddies go through a lot to keep predators, elements, and burglars away. They have to deal with everything thrown their way, including your constant pulling open and pushing close, slamming, harsh weather, and so on, which ultimately leads to a series of wear and tear.

There are multiple technical and natural reasons why your door is not cooperating: swollen wood, loose screws, dirty, icy locks, stiff gaskets, expansive soil, and many more.

If this is your problem, you just came to the right place.

In this post, we will discuss everything about your doors, why they might stop closing during winter, how the weather affects them, and solutions to all these problems. As usual, I will also be answering some of the questions most of you ask, so you know what is happening and what to do when it does.

Ready to learn a few mind-boggling things about your doors? Let’s get started.

How Winter Affects your Door

During winter, strong winds affect buildings and exterior doors. Doors have to work a bit harder to withstand wind resistance. Wooden doors generally expand in cold weather, pulling their hinges and locks out of alignment. Humidity plays the big boy game and causes the wood to expand, which explains why the door gets bigger and won’t fit in its initial place.

So you might be wondering how much swelling and shrinking would cause a problem? 

Just 1 mm is enough to cause havoc and sleepless nights. This is just 0.00005% swelling. Door manufacturers work extra hard to produce doors that won’t swell or shrink in extreme weather conditions by adding materials. Most of them have managed to make doors that never develop swelling issues and keep this as their secret to more sales.

PVC and timber doors with impermeable or plastic sheets may experience similar closing difficulties.

If you are dealing with metallic doors, it is more frustrating when they fail to close as they can be challenging to work with. However, I’d highly recommend that you make lubrication part of your maintenance schedule every one or two weeks during winter.

Metal doors are more resistant, although locks and pivot mechanisms are sensitive to temperature changes, so lubrication is key. If you’re not keen enough, you may never notice until the door stops closing. Continued pressure on the locks and hinges continuously impacts opening and closing operations.

Why Your Door is Not Closing in Winter

Let’s look at the possible reasons why your door may not close during winter.

Sagging Door

This is often one of the most notorious problems with most entry doors. It is mainly associated with the door pulling down at an angle, causing a bind on the upper corner of the jamb. The expansion and contraction cause it to get stuck, especially the wooden entry doors. Sagging is also associated with the extra weight on the door that causes it to pull down on the opposite corner and fail to close correctly.

Pro tip: The jamb and the space between the door–should have the same thickness as the nickel to prevent binding.

Freezing Gaskets

Gaskets are the filling material used between two or more surfaces. They can be made of materials like rubber, plastics, or metal. If your home is soundproof, you must have used gaskets on your doors. The best gaskets have to mold themselves against a surface to eliminate leaks. However, when they become stiff, this flexibility disappears and results in leaks. Wood gaskets are vulnerable to temperature changes and may rot, dry, or crack over time, preventing them from functioning correctly. The result is doors that won’t close.

Loose Hinges 

Loose hinges are pretty common during summer and winter. They are easy to spot as they cause the door to scrape against the floor and tilt to one side. To fix them, you just need a screwdriver to tighten them. If they’re too old, consider replacing them to avoid such incidents. I would also suggest that you check why the hinges are loosening and fix that first. Sometimes the holes holding the screws might have expanded and led to the looseness. That would mean replacing the holes by drilling new ones.

Expansive Soil

The soil holding your home up can expand and shift after a heavy downpour. Clay soil is the most common culprit as it is known to hold water for the longest time. If you don’t live in a very snowy area, expansive soil can exert immense pressure on your home’s foundation, causing cracks on floors and doors.

Dirty Icy Locks

Dirt and ice are often the leading cause of problematic locks. They can become sluggish due to moisture and even freeze in place. If the problem is the ice, simply unfreeze your door with a de-Icer.

How to Fix a Door that Won’t Close During Winter?

Ready to learn a few tips and tricks? Here are a few ways to get your door opening and closing just fine during winter.

  • Always replace old screws with new ones to prevent loose hinges. When replacing screws, make sure they’re larger than what you had previously. This is to allow expansion and contraction without affecting the door hinges.
  • Adjust the strike plate. When the latch misses the strike plate, the chances are that the parts on the door or the jamb have loosened, causing the misalignment. Simply make sure the strike plate aligns with the door, and your door will close just fine.
changing of screws for the door handle/lock
Replace old screws to prevent loose hinges.
  • Feed it some oil. Lubrication is a critical maintenance step for every door and can be disastrous if ignored. To avoid all this door closing trouble, make sure your doors are well-greased during winter.
  • Protect the wood from moisture. During the cold season, your wooden door will often fade and lose its vibrant, lively look. The water can also damage the primary parts of the door. There are numerous treatments you can apply to the wood to protect it. However, I would highly suggest you get a fiberglass entry door that is resistant to moisture damage.
  • Unfreeze. Invest in de-icing materials for your car, home, and garage doors as the locks are likely to get filled with snow over time. 

When is it Time to Replace Your Entry Door in Winter

While the solutions I have provided above work almost every time, sometimes a permanent solution is cheaper than small minor fixes.

Replacing your door during winter might be the last thing you want to do. The entire project may sound overwhelming, but for your peace of mind, prepare in advance to replace your old, outdated door once and for all.

Here’s how to know when.

  • Your door is screaming old. If you buy your house from someone who bought it from someone who bought it from someone, change that door as soon as it starts being problematic. You can replace the old door with a new modern door with extra technology to reduce energy loss, enhance security and keep you comfortable.
  • The door is too damaged. Sometimes, water damage is irreversible. No matter how many water removal services you get, moisture damage tends to be permanent, which calls for a brand new door.
  • You’re spending too much. If your door is the reason for high energy bills, discomfort, and noise in the home, you need to do away with it. Invest in a new door, and you save on energy.
  • Security breach. Your entry door must be sturdy, durable, and full of technology to protect you. However, if it cannot do the least (close correctly), it’s probably time to part it goodbyes and replace it with a better door that can keep you safe.

How to Deal with a Frozen Garage Door

If you’re having trouble closing your garage door, check the safety sensors, lubrication, or ice buildup. Winter affects safety sensors as the sensors read the freezing temperatures as an obstruction and refuse to close. The ice can dim the sensor lights, which in turn may not respond to opening and closing.  So. I’d highly recommend checking your sensors, wiping any ice, investing in a garage heater, and lubricating the doors frequently as needed. If the door is too old, replace it. 


Can I Use Salt to Prevent My Garage Door from Freezing?

Yes. For a very long time, people have used salt to keep their garage doors unstuck. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, which makes freezing a challenge. You just need to sprinkle a substantial amount of it along the line where the door connects to the driveway. 

Which Best Preventative Measures Should I Take to Prevent My Doors from Freezing?

Your entry door and garage door will freeze at some point, especially if you’re not always home. However, I would recommend taking measures to winterize your entry and garage doors. You can install a garage heater, remove snow and ice frequently from the doors, lubricate and install weather seals.

Does My Home Insurance Cover Damage to Frozen Doors?

Yes and no. It depends on the leading cause of damage. Remember, home insurance does not cover normal wear and tear. So, if the door was already too old before the snow fell on it, the policy won’t cover any damage. However, if the damage was directly caused by the ice, like cracking or the wood soaking in water, home insurance can replace it for you.

Final Thoughts

Your doors protect you from freezing and bad guys. They can give you one of the worst headaches when they don’t close properly. That means you need to take proper care of them, especially before the winter season comes.

You don’t want to run from one store to another, hurriedly looking for a door to replace an old door. Start lubricating often, check the hinges, latches, frames, and other door parts to ensure they’re in good condition.

I hope this guide has answered every question you had before reading this post and provided more information on common areas to check whenever your door doesn’t close properly.

If you liked the information, why not check other related posts below? Here, we focus on sharing with you common home solutions to make your life easier. 

Thank you so much for reading.