To repair a wooden door that has a split panel, loose frame or wobbly hinges may seem like a chore. However, it is often an easier option than replacing an entire door and frame. To repair successfully repair a wooden door, you will usually need just a few basic tools, and a little know how.

This guide will help you to understand how to repair your broken wooden door. If you have any questions, then our surface restoration experts are here to help.

How to repair a wooden door

Splits in The Wood

Sometimes you may find that a panel in your door has split. Either through the wood overly drying out or just because of wear and tear caused by the door slamming shut. How you approach the repair will depend upon the finish of the wood.

Repairing a Split/Crack on Painted Wooden Doors

A painted door is probably the easiest to repair as you simply need to fill in the split or crack with the appropriate wood filler, wait for it to harden, sand it down and then re-paint the patch to match the rest of the door. Worst case scenario, you may need to re-paint the entire face of the door so that it matches.

Repairing a Split/Crack on a Natural or Varnished Door

Repairing a natural or varnished wooden door is not quite so straight forward as any wood filler used would be visible. The best and quickest way to repair the crack is to force the two halves of the panel back together by hammering a dowel into the edge of the door. To do this, you need to:

1. Make sure that there is no varnish or debris in the crack. Carefully clean any residue away, try not to strip any of the wood itself away.
2. Drill two or three 8mm holes into the edge of the door where the cracked panel is. Make sure you carefully measure the width of the door stile and mark the drill bit to ensure you drill only as far as needed into the side of the door.
3. Use some 8mm dowel and cut slightly longer than the width of the stile as this will be used to force the crack back together.
4. Carefully squirt some PVA wood glue into the split in the panel and the holes you have drilled.
5. Insert the dowels and knock them into the holes you have drilled until they push the panel back together.
6. Clean off any excess glue and leave it to dry. Once the glue is dry, you can trim off the ends of the dowels that are sticking out with a hacksaw and sand to smooth. If any glue has seeped out of the crack, lightly sand that too until it disappears.

Loose Hinges

Repair a Wooden Door

You can usually tell if a door has loose hinges or joints as it will begin to catch on the floor when opening and closing. You may be able to tighten the screws in the hinges and fix the problem.

However, if the screws will not tighten, then remove them and fill the holes by drilling out the loose hole with an 8 mm drill bit and pushing glued dowels inside. Once dry, trim off the dowel and drill new holes for the screws.

Tip: If the door is still hanging while you work on the hinges, prop it up into the correct position to avoid excess weight pulling on the good hinge.

Loose Door Joints

The corner joints of wooden doors may loosen or split apart over time. To fix this problem, you should remove the door and lay it flat on a workbench. Pull the joint apart and clean any glue residue, dirt or grime.

A quick fix would be to re-glue the joint with wood glue and clamp the two sections together until dry. However, if you wish to make the repair more permanent, then you can pin the two sections together using a dowel.

Drill an 8 mm hole through the face of the door making sure it passes through the middle of the joint. Using a piece of 8mm dowel that is slightly longer than the thickness of the door, squirt in some PVA wood glue and knock the dowel into place, leaving it to protrude slightly on either side of the door. Once the glue is dry, trim the ends of the dowel, sand, re-paint or re-varnish and then hang the door.

Loose Door Frame

If your door frame has become loose it is a fairly easy fix. Frame plugs can be used if the doorway is in a masonry wall, or long screws if in a stud partition wall.

To use frame plugs, use the masonry drill bit that matches the size of the plugs to drill three holes through the centre of the frame — one at the top, middle and bottom. Then hammer the crew and plug into the hole until the head is flush with the surface before tightening the screw. These can then be painted over, or you may wish to punch the head in slightly and use wood filler to fill the indentation.

For your stud wall, you need to drive three long screws through the frame at the top, middle and bottom. Drilling small pilot holes through the frame will help. The screws should be between 80-100mm long. You will get a better finish if you countersink the screw heads, fill and paint over.

Rotten Wood

If your door has been untreated and has gone rotten along the bottom or at the joints you may be able to repair it. However, if the area of rot is too large, you will need to replace the door.

Using a sharp chisel, cut away all of the rotten wood. Then using a hot-air gun, or a hair dryer if you don’t have one, dry the exposed wood. Once it is fully dry, paint with wood hardener and wait for this to fully soak in and dry. You can then fill the area you removed with some good quality wood filler to build up the surface: sand flat when fully dry and paint or varnish.

If you don’t want to tackle the job yourself then the experts at Major Oak Polishing are here to help. Our team are available to complete jobs both large and small throughout the UK. If you would like to speak to one of our advisors, then please get in touch.