How to Rebuild a Door Frame

Broken doors need speedy repair. Remove the trim, mark the old template, and use these steps to repair your door frame.

Using longer screws for hardware improves security.

There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling of coming home to the door you clearly remember locking to find it standing open and the jamb splintered. A speedy repair is essential. While you're at it there are ways to reinforce the frame and lock to make it more difficult for the next person who thinks they might like to help themselves to your things.

  1. Remove the trim on the inside of the door jamb. If it has been splintered, replace it with the same pattern, keep the old as a template. If it has not, you can reuse it. Pull the nails through the back of the molding with a pair of locking pliers to prevent holes in the face. Unscrew and remove the striker and deadbolt plates from the jamb and discard. Replace them with heavier versions.

  2. Mark the jamb horizontally with a square up to the door stop at a point just above the deadbolt or the broken area, whichever is higher, and just below the knob striker or broken area. Set your circular saw to cut through the jamb, without scarring the stud behind and cut along the line to the door stop at both top and bottom of the damaged area.

  3. Adjust the saw ½ inch deeper and cut between the two horizontal lines against the edge of the door stop to remove the damaged jamb material. Cut through any remaining wood in the corners with a hammer and wood chisel. Remove the damaged jamb.

  4. Measure the area you cut away and cut a piece of ¾ inch pine to fit. Cut a piece of ½ inch pine to the same size. Nail the ½ inch pine to the stud behind the jamb to fill the void between stud and jamb. Place the ¾ pine into position to fill the cut away section of jamb. Nail through it into the half inch piece to attach.

  5. Flip the deadbolt to the locked position and close the door against the repaired jamb. Mark the center of the deadbolt and the center of the knob striker against the jamb. Mark a horizontal line with the quick square across the jamb to the door stop in both places. Mark the center of each line between doorstop and jamb edge.

  6. Drill a 5/8 inch deep hole at both cross marks with a 7/8 inch paddle bit. Set a new heavyduty striker plate against the jamb centered on the lower hole. Mark around it. Chisel out the wood inside the marked outline to a depth of 1/8 inch. Repeat with the deadbolt security plate. Set the plates in place and mark the screw holes. Drill pilot holes with a 1/8 inch bit through the repaired jamb. Set the plates in place and drive a 3-inch screw through each screw hole through the jamb into the stud.

  7. Replace the original casing or use it as a pattern to mark and cut a new piece. Nail it to the edge of the knob side jamb.

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