Seasons change, doors stick


My house settles on its foundation twice a year. Like clockwork. Once in the summer and again in the winter.

As a result, doors that stick or won’t close in the summer suddenly work perfectly when the frost is on the pumpkin. Conversely, the latches that won’t connect in the winter snap shut with precision when the temperature soars in July.

I didn’t always understand this. When it first happened right after we moved in, I whipped out my plane and reduced the size of a sticking door by an offending quarter inch. For six months it worked perfectly. Then I suddenly noticed that when the door closed, it was a good half-inch away from the latch. By the time I decided to replace the door a few months later, the house had settled again and it worked like a charm.

For several years I seesawed back and forth trying to find a solution. I removed and exchanged storm doors, rebuilt locks and latches, and checked the entire foundation for flaws.

When the seasons changed, I grabbed my level and got down on my hands and knees to check out the floors. Everything was fine. Except for the doors of course.

Over the years I’ve grudgingly grown accustomed to it. I know which doors I can use by whatever season it happens to be. Still, it’s aggravating. Especially since my dog Brutie doesn’t understand that he can’t come and go by the same door year round.

Actually, I may have a solution: Two doors for every opening. One for summer and another for winter. Sort of like we used to do back in the dark ages of my youth when we took down the screens and put up the storm windows.

I’m pretty sure Brutie will appreciate it.

Ward Degler lives in Zionsville with his wife and dog. He is author of “The Dark Ages of My Youth … and Times More Recent.” You can contact him at