Swollen door sill?

In trying to figure out why my dad's back door won't open anymore without a tremendous amount of effort, the best theory i can come up with is that since it's in a small laundry room where there was some water overflow last fall (not long before I noticed the sticking begin), the sill under the metal threshold may have gotten wet and expanded. The sticking definitely seems to be focused down there.
This raises some questions. First, does this sound like a reasonable explanation?
If I cut out the sill and replace it, I'm worried that this will screw up the door frame geometry, potentially causing more problems in the long run. Should I be? It's a pre-hung door, and I'm not sure how stable the framing is when it loses a chord.
Is it worth simply altering or replacing the threshold in some way instead?
Thanks!
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If the threshold got wet last year it would probably have dried out by now, especially over the winter. You need to do more diagnosis before you stop fixing things.
Open the door at least 45 degrees, stand at the inside end of the door so you can see the hinges, particularly the top hinge. Lift up on the door knobs and see if the hinge barrel or one of the hinge leaves moves. If it does, the screws holding the hinge may have stripped. Try tightening the screws. You may have to remove the screws that don't have enough bite, insert slivers of wood (toothpicks work well) with a little glue, cut off the wood that projects from the hole, then reinstall the screws. You should do this as the first step regardless of the cause. If the hinges are loose you won't be able to accurately diagnose other problems.
Lie down on the floor and open and close the door just a bit to see where the door is binding. If it is binding is primarily at the latch end of the door you can pack out the bottom hinge (and sometimes the middle hinge with half the thickness of packing of the bottom hinge). Prop up the door on some shims, remove the screws from the bottom hinge jamb leaf, cut a piece of thin cardboard (think matchbook thickness to start) to fit behind the hinge leaf, then reinstall and tighten the screws. This will also help with latch side gaps between the door and jamb that are wider at the bottom then the top.
If the binding is in the middle of the door at the threshold, either the door moved (fairly severe rot at the studs framing the door rough opening, or poorly installed to begin with) or the threshold has moved (long term swelling from water is a bit unlikely, poorly fastened threshold is more probable). Do the same thing with the threshold screws to see if you can tighten the metal threshold down some more.
If you have interlocking weatherstripping, the interlock might have gotten crumpled and is now interfering with the door operation. Examine all weatherstripping to make sure it's not getting in the way.
Look for rub spots on the paint where the door and jamb touch. If the door is wood, you may have to plane down an edge to remove the interference. If the door is metal it's a little more involved, but you'll have to diagnose what's causing the problem before you can address it.
R
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Thanks, this and the other comments will give me good places to start when I go there this weekend. It is a metal door, unfortunately, so planing isn't an option, but I'll give the hinges a closer look. It's been a while so I don't remember how they looked last time. I also don't remember the results of checking for plumb and square, but unfortunately all that's at my disposal is a four-foot level. I'll just have to do the best I can with what I have.
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Yikes! That may be significantly more difficult!
Even more important to find out *exactly* where it's binding. Closing the door on a simple sheet of thin paper is generally the easiest way to do that. If the paper will slide out, it's okay. If the paper won't move -- you've found the spot.
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You can use a plumb bob instead of a long level. A fair number of carpenters prefer to hang doors using a plumb bob. It gets you plumb in both directions with one foolproof tool.
First thing is to eyeball the gap between the door and jamb all around the perimeter of the door. Each side's gap should be pretty much parallel and uniform. Next thing is to manhandle the door and frame. Hackenters have been known to cut corners installing prehung doors, and some problems don't show up right away.
Let us know what you discover.
R
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After spending the better part of an afternoon first fixing some looseness in the casing, then futilely considering how to raise the whole damn thing a quarter-inch, I discovered that it was simply hardening of the rubber weatherstripping at the bottom of the door. Frost King makes a replacement door bottom with stripping specifically for Stanley doors like this one, and it was simple to cut to size, pop it in with a rubber mallet (it attaches via barbed ribs in slots), and add a couple of staples on each end for good measure.
Thanks to all for your tips. I am happy it ended up easier than most of them.
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Glad to hear it turned out to be a simple fix.
R
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Pete wrote:

Yeah, but just think how easy the next sticking door will be for you to fix, now that you know them inside and out. Knowledge gained the hard way is knowledge retained. BTDT many a time- spend hours and then have a eureka moment, and the fix turns out to be trivial.
-- aem sends...
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Wait - a - minute! Where are _my_ trivial fixes?! The ones I get are can o'worms fixes. ;)
R
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Pete wrote:

Oh, metal door and frame? Single skinned, single glazing? Much condensation running down the door during the winter? Are we talking Boston for your pa?
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Pete from Boston wrote:

Take the door off and plane the bottom edge a little until it stops binding.
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2009 06:18:22 -0700 (PDT), Pete from Boston

Check the hinge side of the frame with a level and framing square. A 6' level.. Checking for plumb and square. Check the latch side in the same way. A longer hinge screw (through the jamb into the stud) in the middle would pull the frame in and raise the bottom of the door. Or, it may need a longer screw at the top hinge.
Rico made excellent comments.
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Pete from Boston wrote:

You've had some good advice but I notice one point that has not been picked up.
"since it's in a small laundry room"
Is this a constant source of humidity? If so, then the issue could be ongoing. More ventilation - opening a window at times? Installation of a dehumidifier?
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Clot wrote: ...

Note the introductory clause...
>> ...there was some water overflow last fall (not long before I noticed >> the sticking begin)...
If this hadn't happened nearly coincident w/ the actual water itself that would make sense but since it seems from OP's description to have followed an actual spill it doesn't seem likely it's simply ongoing humidity-caused.
I'd venture it's a particle board-type underlayment/subflooring and it did what that stuff always does when it gets wet--it expanded significantly thereby raising the threshold.
The suggestions to makes sure the door itself isn't loose on the hinges or otherwise the culprit are good, but assuming that isn't the case, the simple fix is to simply trim the door.
If it's not been very long, it's possible a dehumidifier might help finish drying it out but I'm gathering this has been some period of months already since the incident so think it doubtful that would really make any significant difference at this point.
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dpb wrote:

I agree with the points made. Also note that the issue arose in the fall as humidity was likely to be rising, irrespective of the water overflow.
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