Stuck windows and doors can be signs of foundation damage. Doors and windows can stick, swing open after being pushed shut, or have gaps around the top and bottom when your foundation is sinking. A sinking foundation is caused by house settlement: when the soil your home is built on is no longer able to support the weight of your house.
Understanding Sticking Window & Door Problems
in Virginia, Maryland & DC
Do These Stuck Windows & Doors Look Familiar?
If you are wondering why your windows and doors are sticking, it’s usually easy to notice when your windows and doors start to stick. They often require more force to open than they used to, and they tend to be slightly damp to the touch.
Your doors and windows most often stick as a result of excessive levels of moisture in your home. As that moisture enters your basement, crawl space, or foundation, it can rise up and cause your door and window frames to swell. In changing sizes, those frames can crack and generally make it more difficult for you to move your windows and doors as easily as you used to.
Soil’s Impact on Your Home
Note that changes in the soil around your home can also cause your doors and windows to stick. As your soil dampens, its particles grow larger, and as it dries, those particles shrink. In doing so, these particles can force pressure onto your foundation and basement, potentially causing damage to your structural supports, door frames, and window frames along the way.
Water doesn’t enter your home at random, however. While you’ll always have to deal with a touch of moisture, you’ll find yourself contending with sticking doors and windows when you have a more consistent leak on your hands. For example, if you have a crack in your basement or foundation and you’re noticing more water indoors after significant storms, it’s likely that you’re going to have problems with your windows and doors in the near future.
Working with A Professional
Most importantly, even if you aren’t noticing an excessive amount of water in your home but you’re noticing it’s more difficult to open your windows and doors than it used to be, you may want to seek out assistance from a professional.
Sticking doors and windows, as implied, are signs of serious damage to the rest of your home. Even if you can’t identify the immediate cause of your leak, you’ll want to attend to that damage before it has time to worsen.
Stuck Windows and Doors
When you find yourself contending with an unexpected problem in your home, you may be tempted to try and take on repairs on your own. While doing so can save you money in the long run, you don’t want to try and tackle a challenge that might compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Consider, for example, your stuck windows and doors. It can be tempting to try and shove these stuck structures back into their normal functionality. However, doing so can do significant damage to both their frames and the structural supports holding them in place. Likewise, trying to replace your windowsills and door frames can be an expensive endeavor if you try to take on the job on your own.
Avoiding DIY Solutions
It is often in your best interest, as previously mentioned, to get in touch with a professional if you want to fix stuck windows or doors. When you reach out to a professional contractor, you can work with them to find out what, precisely, caused your frames to warp like they did. You can work to first fix the leak in your home that initially caused that damage. With a leak out of the way, you can go about replacing your window and door frames without worrying about them suffering from similar damage in the days to come.
In a similar vein, it is not in your best interest to try and fix a problem with your foundation on your own time. Again, it can be tempting to try and budget out a DIY project if you think doing so may save you money. However, if you try to fix a problem with your foundation without any guidance, you once again put your home’s structural integrity at risk. Not only that, but if you make a mistake down the line, you may end up paying more for later repairs, as contractors will have to remove your fixes before implementing their own solutions.
It can be frustrating to deal with stuck doors and windows, even if you know that repairs to your home are just on the horizon. While you wait, you can discuss underpinning options with the contractors in your area to determine whether or not you want to invest in such comprehensive repairs.
When you underpin your home, you work with a local contractor to lower the level of the footing to a more structurally sound level. This process requires some excavation around your foundation, but it can protect your home from extensive water and structural damage in the years to come. There are several processes through which a team of professionals can underpin your home. The most common methods include the use of piers, with varieties in use including:
- Push piers – Push piers are among the most common types of piers to use beneath a home with a faulty foundation. Contractors can install these piers into the bedrock well beneath your home, and potentially use them to lift your foundation back into place. These piers, too, will take the weight of your home off your foundation, ensuring that it’s less likely to fall victim to similar types of damage in the future.
- Helical piers – Helical piers serve the same purpose, but they are better equipped to support lighter concrete structures that have started to sink into the ground. Instead of being driven down into the ground, helical piers are “screwed” into the earth and down to more stable soil like bedrock to better support the settling foundation.
- Slab piers – If you have a slab foundation, then slab piers are some of the best piers to use beneath your home. These piers are specially designed to take the weight of a home off slab foundations. Contractors will install them at least ten feet below your existing foundation, then allow them to force your slab back into its original position.
Do note that while piers come in handy, you may still need to repair any cracks that have appeared in your foundation if you want to ensure that it keeps the rest of your home’s structural supports in place in the future. Additionally, if there are issues with floor joists in the areas where you have sticking windows and doors, special IntelliJack™ stabilizers can be installed to better support the floor joists and floors, allowing them to potentially be lifted back to their original level position.
Stuck Window and Door Solutions
Every home’s foundation repair needs are different, and we’re committed to designing the best solution for your home. Some of our stuck door and window solutions include JES Helical Piers, JES Push Piers, JES Slab Piers, and JES Wall Anchors.
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