Here is the ultimate DIY step by step guide to repairing broken doors
Doors are essential to any building. They provide security, privacy, and insulation from the outside world. However, external elements can take a toll on even the sturdiest doors, resulting in misaligned, squeaky, or damaged doors. This step-by-step guide will walk you through some standard door repair techniques.
- Utility Knife
- Razor blade
- Wire mesh
- Expanding foam insulation
- Remove any loose or broken wood that surrounds the door opening. Depending on the extent of damage, splinters or fragments may be present around the edges of the hole or crack. Instead of trying to mend these loose pieces, use a utility knife to remove any damaged wood until you have a clean hole mostly free of rough edges.
It is essential to cut away from yourself when using a utility knife through sturdy materials such as wood. Before beginning the repairs, you may need to enlarge the hole or crack slightly. Repairing a giant hole free of damaged wood is much simpler than repairing a smaller fragmented, or broken one.
- Fill the hole with paper towels, cardboard, or wire mesh. While these materials do not strengthen or repair the door, they are a simple, cost-effective way to keep the insulation foam in place.
Crumple a few paper towels or any suitable material and insert them into the hole or crack. It’s important to note that the door contains diamond-shaped pockets, so if the material used falls inside the door, continue adding more until the section is filled.
- Inject expanding foam insulation into the hole until it’s filled. It is available in a spray can with an extended nozzle. Aim the nozzle inside the hole or crack in the door and start spraying. The foam will expand to occupy the space within the door.
The excess foam will expand outside the hole through the face of the door. Don’t worry if some foam flows out of the hole. You can always cut the excess later. If you prefer something easier to work with, look for low-expansion or low-rise foam.
- Allow the insulation foam to dry completely overnight. After filling the hole or crack with insulation foam, it must cure entirely before it can be trimmed or sanded down. While it may begin drying in as little as 30 minutes, it will take around 24 hours to cure fully.
However, it’s essential to check the instructions on the specific brand of insulation foam you’re using for more detailed information on the drying time. Some types of foam may require a longer drying time.
- Carefully remove any excess foam using a utility knife. First, position the utility knife slightly above the protruding insulation foam so that it’s flush with the face of the door. Next, run the knife down the face of the door gently to trim away any excess foam.
Keep trimming and shaving the foam until it’s flush with the face of the door or slightly below it. If trimming the foam near the face of the door using a utility knife becomes challenging, switch to a razor blade. Don’t worry if you accidentally remove too much foam; you can always fill it in later.
- Once you have removed the excess foam, apply a layer of auto-body filler. Start by mixing the two parts of the filler on a cardboard surface to activate the compound. Next, use a putty knife to spread the mixture over the hole in your door. Finally, ensure that you use the edge of the putty knife to smear and press the filler over the hole, filling in any gaps.
Auto-body filler is a powerful compound that can significantly improve the strength of your door. However, it can be challenging to handle. Typically, it comes with a hardening catalyst specifically designed to activate it. Some auto-body fillers may not require mixing, depending on their specific formulation.
- Allow the surface to cure completely. The filler typically takes at least 24 hours to reach total hardness. Therefore, it is essential to follow the instructions on auto-body filler for more information on drying and curing times.
- Once the auto-body filler has fully cured, sandpaper sheets are used to sand down the surface. Start at around 100-120 grit and work up to 220 grit. Repeat this process for each hole or crack on the door that you have filled with auto-body filler. This will help achieve a finished look that matches the rest of the door’s surface.
- Once you have repaired the door, it’s time to refinish it. Remove any hardware or hinges before painting or staining. This will ensure that the finish is even across the entire door. To do this, use a screwdriver to remove doorknobs and hinges or strike plates near the door’s base.
- To ensure that the repaired door matches the rest of the doors in your home, find paint or wood stain that matches the color of your door. This can be achieved by visiting your local hardware store and asking an employee for paint or wood stain samples or help to choose the right product to match the color of your door.
- Use a broad, all-purpose paintbrush or a foam paint roller to apply an even coat of paint or wood stain to the entire door. Begin by painting any grooves or panels first, then work your way over the rest of the door using long, even strokes to avoid leaving visible lines. Spread a drop cloth or some old newspaper underneath the door before painting. This will help to catch any drips or spills and make clean-up easier.
- Allow the door to dry for 24 hours. The finished look of the door can be damaged even by slight contact with it, so ensure everyone stays away from the door while it’s wet. If necessary, apply a second coat of wood stain or paint.
Allow the door to dry for another 24 hours, then reinstall the hardware. Although you can apply as many coats as you want, 2 or 3 coats are sufficient to make your door look fantastic.
Simple Home Improvements provides professional door installation services, guaranteed to be a beautiful addition to your home. Our goal is to give you the door you’ve always dreamed of. Call us at 866-849-2599. We’ll explain different options and provide a free estimate. Visit us in Totowa, NJ.