Swollen Basement Door

WHMS Home Talk Swollen basement door question

Swollen Basement Door

Basement door  questions

I can’t get into my basement, because of an interior swollen basement door, that I can’t open.  How do I open my basement door?  Will I be able to open the door, if I saw through the slit, that’s between the door and the door frame, with a handsaw?

Thank you,


Swolen basement door answer button

Hi Kalia,

Sorry you are having trouble opening your swollen basement door. Hopefully the suggestions below will help you in getting it open.

First, sawing between the door slab and the door jamb is not the proper way to open the door.  If the latch pin is not retracting enough to clear the strike plate when the door knob is turned the door will not open. It may be necessary to insert a pry bar between the strike plate and door slab to widen the opening. Tap the bar into place if necessary and while applying pressure to widen the opening pull out on the door. Pay attention to the opening between the door slab and door jamb at the top and bottom as well as the latch side. If it appears to be binding in one place more than another use the pry bar to widen the opening at that point while simultaneously trying to open the door.

If you can see the hinge pins try removing them by tapping them up from the bottom with a hammer and a small punch or screwdriver. Spraying them with a penetrating lubricant like WD-40 may help in loosening them. Once the hinge pins have been removed some of the pressure may be released allowing the door to open more easily.

A  swollen basement door that won’t open indicates a moisture problem severe enough to have other detrimental effects on your home such as mold, mildew or decay. I strongly suggest that you determine the cause of the excess moisture and take steps rectify the problem. Check out my blog for more information on repairing doors as well as many other home maintenance issues.

Hope I have been of some help in this matter.

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About Tony Wood

Tony is a life time resident of North Carolina with over 40 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 33 years he has owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service, providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina. ______________ ______________________________________________________ The information contained in this Blog is opinion derived, from hands on experience of over 40 years in the construction industry and by extensive research by the author. All postulations are referenced to the geographic location in which this experience was gained.
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