How to Restore a Wood Door After Damage
Wood doors add a special kind of rustic charm to a home’s exterior and interior spaces. While these beautiful wood doors bring out a unique sense of sophistication and style, this type tends to be more susceptible to damage than other types of doors. From an accident to excessive weathering, wood doors are vulnerable to many types of damage that leave them in desperate need of repair and restoration.
Fortunately, a damaged wood door does not always call for a total replacement. If the door is still in good condition and the damage is minimal, you may be able to restore it by observing the situation-specific instructions. Following the guidelines on how to repair damaged doors can be helpful in saving money.
Keep in mind that the lighter your wood doors are, the greater the risk for physical damage. Hollow-core wood doors, for example, are more likely to sustain more serious damage from cracks, punctures and holes than those with solid cores.
Cracked panels on wood doors can range from minor to serious on the damage scale. For minor issues, follow these guidelines:
- Pick a reliable wood putty or wood filler product.
- If there are a variety of colors, choose the right color that matches the wood.
- Prepare the door and even up the surface before applying the product.
- Use a putty knife to apply the product on cracked panels and interior woodwork.
- Level off the product using the knife and let it dry.
- Sand the surface for a smoother finish with sandpaper.
- Repaint to match the wood color or tint a new shade to customize the door.
If the cracked panels need extensive repair, observe the following steps for each door:
- Make sure the door is clean and flat. Smooth away any jagged edges along the crack with a sander.
- Insert a wooden spline to test the fit. Then remove it and apply a hefty amount of glue to the crack.
- Place the spline back inside and apply pressure until the glue dries.
- Chisel off any excess from the spline and sand the crack until smooth.
- Reapply the finish and paint before returning the door to its hinges.
Fixing this issue depends on the extent of the rot. If it is minor, you can perform these repairs on each of your rotted doors:
- Remove the rotted wood with a sharp tool, such as a 5-in-1.
- Coat the area with a wood hardener and fill the recess with wool filler.
- As the filler begins to harden, cut off the excess with a sharp tool. You will typically have 10 to 15 minutes before it hardens too much.
- After the filler hardens completely, sand out the excess and refinish or repaint as needed.
Punctures and Holes
Punctures and holes are common problems for hollow-core wood doors. Minor holes on wood doors can be fixed with the following steps:
- Cut loose or jagged wood away from the edges of the hole using a 5-in-1 or other sharp tool.
- We recommend that you fill the hole with expanding foam insulation — even if your wood door does not have insulation already.
- Wait overnight until the insulation dries, then cut or sand off the excess insulation.
- Apply a wood filler or spackle to the surface to help restore structural integrity.
- Allow the surface to dry out before you level it off using sandpaper.
- When the surface is smooth, you can repaint as needed.
Chipping is a common issue for both interior and exterior wood door configurations. However, chips are easy to repair with this simple method:
- Cut or sand off any splintered or jagged edges from the chipped area.
- Prepare your wood filler and apply it to the damaged area with a putty knife or similar tool.
- Shape the filler with your knife blade to accommodate the door’s shape. Add another layer of filler if needed.
- When the filler dries, sand off the excess until the surface is completely smooth.
- Reapply the paint or stain.
Fixing dents in wood doors is a relatively simple task. Here are the steps to refinishing interior wood doors suffering from dents:
- Clean the surface of the door to eliminate dust and other debris before performing any internal door restoration.
- When the area is dry, sand it lightly to remove any small protrusions.
- Fill the dent with wood filler and use a putty knife or similar tool to smooth the surface before the filler has a chance to harden.
- Once the wood filler has dried, gently sand the area until it forms a smooth, level surface.
- Reapply your desired stain or paint to the dry surface. Keep in mind that if you are using a stain, you need to purchase a sustainable wood filler.
When Repairing Will Not Cut It
Sometimes, repairing, stripping and refinishing wood doors will not be enough to restore them to their proper state. In such cases, you will need to replace your doors. But when do you know when your interior or exterior wood doors are beyond repair? You need a replacement when:
- Your doors have extensive mold coverage. While mold often grows on surfaces with excessive moisture, it also develops in wood products. Long-term exposure to molds can be risky, especially for people with allergies and other respiratory illnesses.
- The repairs you previously made are not holding up. The life span of a wooden door varies based on many factors. If you need recurring repairs for your wood doors, they can indicate that you need newer, sturdier replacements.
- Your door panels have gaping holes or cracks that cannot be fixed with the methods listed above. Major damage from accidents or wear and tear may be more challenging to repair on your own. In this case, replacement is the best answer.
- Your doors are warped. Door warping is another possible issue that leaves replacement as the most effective option. This bending happens when wooden doors get damaged because of moisture and excessive heat, which alter the door’s size and shape.
- Insects already fed on the wood surface. From termites to ants, several insects thrive in wood. If these insects live in the wood door, it may be difficult to mend the surface anymore.
- There are issues with improper function. Apart from separating interior spaces and ensuring privacy, doors cover certain functions in your home, like temperature control. If you notice temperature changes due to cracks or holes in your doors, it is time for a replacement.
Pick the Right Wood Door with Manhattan Door Corp
While every contractor would rather salvage wood doors than replace them, repairing a damaged door will not always be possible. When you need to replace your building’s wood doors completely, turn to us at Manhattan Door for a wide selection of high-quality wooden doors. We also customize doors to meet your specific needs. Whatever design you have in mind, we manufacture products with excellent craftsmanship and proven quality.