How to Repair a Damaged Door
Doors provide security, privacy and help direct traffic in your home. Whether by accident or constant use, doors can periodically become damaged. Most damage is cosmetic and requires a repair to the door's surface or finish. Other damage, such as sprung hinges, will affect the actual operation of the door and requires repairs of a more technical nature. Whatever the repair, unless the door no longer serves its purpose due to severe damage, fixing a door is almost always the most cost-effective option.
- Remove the door from its hinges by driving the hinge pins up through the bottom of the hinge with a hammer and screwdriver. Start with the bottom hinge and work up to prevent the door tipping. Lay the door flat on a pair of saw horses.
- Sand the affected area with 150-grit sandpaper on a random orbit sander. Include the area directly surrounding the damage, as well.
- Fill any dents or dings in the door with solvent-based wood filler for stained doors or body filler putty for painted doors. Use a flexible putty knife to spread the filler evenly into the damaged area, leaving it raised a bit from the face of the door. Allow the filler to set for 30 minutes.
- Sand the area smoothly with 150-grit paper. Wipe the dust from the area with a rag dampened in mineral spirits.
- Apply two coats with a soft bristle brush of matching paint or a coat of matching stain/finish all-in-one to the damaged area. Paint in long straight strokes, working with the grain on wood doors or vertically on smooth-faced doors. Wait the manufacturer's recommended time between coats and before rehanging the door.
- Rehang the door by aligning the hinge halves and driving the pins downward into the hinges, starting with the top hinge.
- Remove the screws from the jamb-side hinge plates with a cordless drill. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Lay the door flat on a pair of saw horses.
- Tighten any hinges that are loose in the edge of the door with a screwdriver. Replace stripped screws with screws 1/2-inch longer than the original.
- Drive the hinge pins out with a screwdriver and hammer to separate the hinge halves. Replace the jamb-side plates into the mortises in the jamb. Drive one 3-inch screw through each hole in the hinge plates through the jamb into the frame behind to anchor the hinges.
- Stand the door upright. Align the hinge halves and drive the pins down into the hinges from the top, starting with the top hinge and working down.
- Test the door for proper operation. Correct any sag by tightening the uppermost screw in the top hinge with a cordless drill to lift the door slightly. Tighten the remaining screws accordingly.