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Why Isn’t My Front Door Working And What To Do (6 Causes)

September 29th, 2022 | 10 min. read

Why Isn’t My Front Door Working And What To Do (6 Causes)

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How often do you walk out the same door in your home daily? Two, ten, maybe twenty times? 

Whether it’s your front door, garage side door, or back door, every time it swings open and closed, your door wears over time. 

Maybe you’ve been in your home for decades and never replaced a door. Or perhaps you’ve just moved into a new home and aren’t sure of the last time your doors were replaced or repaired. 

No matter the background of your home, you’re reading this article because you’ve noticed your door isn’t working correctly.

Lucky for you, we’ve got the right answers. 

Southwest Exteriors has been an expert San Antonio door replacement contractor since 1989. We’ve not only installed thousands of different doors for Texas homeowners, but we’ve helped many adjust and fix their door problems as well. 

Depending on the problem you are experiencing, the solution you are looking for may be a simple adjustment or a full door replacement. 

So, you need to diagnose what exact problem you are experiencing and know what the right solution is.  

This article will outline why your door may not function properly, what the causes are, and what the right solution is, depending on your problem. 

After reading, you can take the next step towards diagnosing your door problems and finding the right company or solution to fix them. 


What’s wrong with my door? Why your door may not be functioning properly

Your door's constant wear and tear may have caused it to start opening and closing funky. The hinges may have come loose, the lock isn’t working properly, or you’ve noticed air and light leaking around the edges of the door. 

There are a few things that may be causing your door not to work properly, and you want to know exactly what’s causing it and the solution. 

Some common issues that cause door functionality problems are: 

  1. The door has shifted over time
  2. The locking mechanism is not working properly
  3. There is water swelling around the door
  4. Problems with the glass on the door
  5. The door was not installed properly
  6. The door has manufacturing defects

Let’s break down each of these common causes for door functionality issues so you can better understand what’s happening to your door and how to fix it. 


1. The door has shifted over time

One of the most common reasons your door might not work properly is if the door frame has shifted. 

For a door to work properly, it must be perfectly square in the frame. This means the door is level horizontally and vertically, allowing it to swing open and closed consistently. 

What causes the door to shift? 

If your door frame has shifted over time, one of the most common causes for this is foundation shifting. 

The foundation of your home constantly shifts with the earth. This causes all walls, floors, and openings in your home to shift, making window and door openings fall out of square. 

A major sign that your door may have shifted is if you open it and it swings one way or another. A perfectly installed and leveled door should stay in a fixed position wherever you stop it.

What is the solution to a door that has shifted over time? 

If your door is not functioning properly from shifting, it may need adjusting at the hinges or around the jambs to relevel the door into the frame. 

But, you can only adjust a door so many times. If you keep adjusting your door and it is still not functioning properly, a full door replacement may be necessary. 


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2. The locking mechanism is not working properly

Another common reason your door may not be working properly is if you are experiencing issues with the locking mechanism. 

Maybe you can’t fully lock your door, or you have to put a lot of force into fully twisting that lock open or closed. No matter the specific symptom, noticing your lock is not working is an obvious sign of a functionality issue. 

What causes the locking mechanism to stop working? 

If your door lock is not working in any way, it could be one of two reasons. Either the lock may be old and worn over time, or something may be broken inside the locking mechanism. 

If something is broken within the mechanism, it could be a manufacturing defect. 

Whether your lock isn’t working from old age or something is wrong inside the mechanism, you will notice it when trying to lock and unlock your door. 

What is the solution to a locking mechanism not working properly? 

If your door lock is not working, you will most likely need to have it replaced. 

It may need a slight adjustment or repair, but you will want to have an expert come out to assess the exact problem with the lock and provide you with the right solution. 


3. There is water swelling around the door

If your door is not functioning properly, an unfortunate issue that may be causing it is if there is water trapped around the door frame, causing the frame to swell and become misshapen. 

Water swelling around the door frame indicates a larger problem that could cause you much more damage than just a door functionality issue.

What is the cause of water swelling around a door frame? 

If the door frame has become swelled, water is trapped in your home's walls. “How did the water get there?” you may be wondering. 

Water infiltrating your home means there is an opening somewhere that is compromising the seal of your home. This could be around a window frame, around a door frame, or somewhere on your siding and roofline that has allowed water to enter your walls. 

Excess water that builds up anywhere in your home can cause rotting if left untreated. 

If you notice your door feels tight when trying to open or close it, the frame may be swelled from water built up that you can’t see. 

What is the solution to water causing your door to swell? 

If you suspect there may be water built up around your door frame, this is a serious issue. 

You will want an exterior expert to come to inspect your entire home to see if water is the culprit of your door problems, where the water is coming from, and what the next steps are to repair the damage and fix your home. 


4. Problems with the glass on the door

One door problem you may experience is an issue with the glass or window on your door. Now, this door problem only pertains to any door with glass elements, obviously. 

Similar to problems with the locking mechanism on your door, if you have problems with the glass on your door, you will notice it.

What is the cause of the problems with the glass on my door? 

If you notice cracked or damaged glass, the cause most likely came from an external force. This damage could be from impact or environmental issues, like temperature changes or extreme weather forces. 

Other functionality issues with a door window may be from general wear and tear, old age, or manufacturing defects.

Some glass issues you may notice are fogginess between the panes of the glass, cracked glass, or functionality issues with the window. 

What is the solution to functionality problems with door glass? 

Depending on the problem with your door glass, the glass may need a full replacement or just a repair. 

If your glass is cracked or damaged, you will probably want to replace the entire glass unit. If a window on your door is not functioning properly, you may need to replace the window unit or have a professional repair it. 

Regardless of the type of damage, you will want to have a professional look at your damaged door and offer the right solution. 

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5. The door was not installed properly

Another probable cause that your door may not be functioning properly is if it was not installed properly. 

If your door is not installed properly, this can cause you many different functionality issues and ultimately make your door not last.

What are the causes of a door not being installed properly? 

A door not installed properly is caused by whoever installed the door. Maybe you hired a door replacement contractor to install your new door, or maybe you installed it yourself. 

Regardless of who installed it, signs of an improper door installation include not operating the door properly, poor caulking around the frame, or no flashing on the door, to name a few. 

Overall, an improper door installation may show itself in the form of a functionality issue. The door may not have been installed level or perfectly square, causing you to have issues using the door correctly.  

What is the solution to an improperly installed door? 

If your door was not installed properly, you might be able to have it readjusted in some way, but you will most likely have to have it completely replaced and reinstalled. 

A faulty door installation can cause many issues beyond just the functionality of the door. The last thing you want is your poorly installed door to cause problems that turn into a full home remodel. 


6. The door has manufacturing defects

One of the final causes of a door not functioning properly is if it has any manufacturing defects. 

A manufacturing defect refers to how the door was made and did not have anything to do with how the door was installed. 

What are the causes of functionality issues from manufacturing defects? 

If a door has manufacturing defects, it can cause a multitude of issues, the functionality of the door being one of them. But, simply put, manufacturing defects are caused by how the door was made in the first place. 

A manufacturing defect may be noticeable in the locking mechanisms of the door, how the glass looks and functions, and how the door fits into your home. 

If the door was not manufactured properly or to the right size of your door opening, it would cause the door not to function properly when you operate it. These are just a few examples of problems you may notice from a manufacturing defect. 

What is the solution to a manufacturing defect on my door? 

If you suspect your door may have a manufacturing defect that is causing you problems, you’ll want to contact the company that installed the door or where the door came from. 

A manufacturing defect, whether it’s in the form of the lock, glass, or door slab, can only be solved by replacing the defective part with a new one. 


What to do if your door is not functioning properly

If your door has not been working properly, now you know six common causes that create functionality issues and what the probable solution is. 

Depending on what the cause of your door problems is, you may need to simply replace a damaged part of the door or have the door fully replaced. 

The best thing you can do is have an expert come out, assess what is wrong with your door and what is causing the problem, and diagnose the right solution. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we promise to provide you with the highest quality products and installation so your new door will last the rest of your time in your home. 

But, we understand that sometimes, things happen. That’s why your new door will be backed by our lifetime warranty, so if you experience any issues with it, like the ones we outlined above, we’ll be there to make it right. 

Now, maybe you’ve been experiencing some issues with your door and have been considering a full door replacement. You’ve had the door adjusted many times, maybe tried some DIY hacks, and your door still isn’t functioning properly. 

How do you know when it’s time to fully replace your door? 

This article will outline three signs that it’s time to replace your door, like if the door is not functioning properly, if there’s any rotting around the door, or if there is other damage from environmental factors. 

Then, you will know if the door problems you experience to warrant a full replacement and can find the right company to help.