When we initially moved into our home, it looked as though the former owners had kicked in every door in this house. I didn’t notice it at first. Yet day by day, I recognized the hell brought upon these doors.
“Honey! Look at this door!”
“Honey, have you ever noticed this?”
“What the heck, honey! They were going through some things up in here!”
Nonetheless, with moving in, I knew I wanted to make our doors presentable again at a reasonable price point. Every single door in my house required repair!
Why you may choose to fix damaged doors instead of replacing them
Let’s briefly explore some reasons why you may choose to do some DIY door repairs instead of buying replacements.
You need to save money.
The materials needed to fix doors do not exceed $15, especially if you have an orbital sander on standby per my recommendation. If you have crummy door jambs too, the same materials can be used to fix most of them as well.
You want to preserve original character.
Vintage, original doors are tough to replace. You might have purchased an older home full of character and want to keep those special touches as much as possible. Unfortunately, replacing an old door with a new one may not maintain that sense of charm.
Your doors in an uncommon size.
Sometimes, we get not-so-lucky to have a home with non-standard sized items! Most interior doors are 80 x 32 inches. If you have a door that does not meet those or other common dimensions, the amount of affordable inventory to suit your needs will be limited.
Your doors are of superior quality.
I once lived in a house with paper thin doors. They were so hollow, sounds traveled throughout the house easily. If you bumped them with any force, you would punch a hole through them! Presently, many cheaper doors are made at this poor of quality. Therefore, if you have halfway decent, quality doors already, repair what you have!
Got flat doors? You’ve hit the lotto!
Flat doors are easily customizable and versatile. For example, currently, the shaker style is the preferred design. To achieve the look, you can adhere plywood to the face of the door for a fraction of the cost of purchasing it ready-made. Certainly, this is a simpler DIY project to achieve and is very beginner friendly.
Similarly, for those in search of a traditional look, pre-routed molding can be adhered to your flat doors to add detailing in whatever design you desire. You can even purchase pre-made trim kits to simplify the process!
Whether or not you choose to customize your doors, it is crucial to strengthen and repair the door itself to show a presentable surface.
Now that I’ve shown you all the reasons why you should fix your doors rather than replace them, let’s explore why you may choose to replace.
When to replace your doors rather than fix them
You don’t want to do the work
This is perfectly acceptable. Don’t let me and the rest of the DIY world guilt you into doing work you simply don’t want to do.
You don’t have the time
I understand you are a busy human being balancing many responsibilities. You may not be able to spare a weekend to fix doors. You might even be a DIYer, but you have many other projects you’re working on concurrently. Sometimes it’s better to buy materials outright for your sanity.
You can afford investing into your doors
Skilled tradesmen are incredibly talented and should be paid accordingly. If you can afford it, get the pros to make your dreams reality.
You do not want to paint your doors
Paint is great for camouflaging imperfections and texture differences. The natural finish of wood is less forgiving. Thus, you may need to take it to the pros to maintain that beautiful natural finish or stain.
Hey – I won’t judge you if choose not to take on this project! Do you, boo! However, if you accept this undertaking, continue reading!
Materials needed for door repair
Each item is hyperlinked to the materials that I used. However, if you choose different brands instead, that’s totally fine!
- Your door
- Wood filler and hardener
- Flexible putty knife
- Orbital sander
- Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
- Paint (I recommend a paint that dries a hard on wood)
- Sawhorses (these aren’t mine, but these would be fine)
- 6 inch roller frame and brush
The paint, primer, sandpaper, sander, and of course, the door, are all materials I had previously purchased. Truly, DIYers will probably have those materials on hand already.
DISCLAIMER: Please take all protective measures before beginning any DIY project, including wearing the proper eye wear, face mask, etc. All projects are at your own risk!
How to fix a door
Step 1: Remove the door from the jamb
First, take down the door. You can use a Phillips screwdriver, but a drill can be super useful here!
Step 2: Remove all hardware
Please, if you can, do not paint over your hinges. It doesn’t take much to remove them. Remove the doorknob, too. It is easier to have no obstructions when painting.
Step 3: Apply wood filler
Follow the directions included with your product. Beware that you will apply a radius of filler that is larger that the spot you’re fixing. For example, if the dent you’re fixing is 3 inches wide, your wood filler may be 6 inches wide. That will help you feather out the wood filler to blend into the rest of the door. It’s better to apply too much than not to apply enough!
Next, let the wood filler cure. I tend to let mine cure overnight before proceeding to the next step.
Step 4: Sand the door
Cautiously begin with 120 grit, then dial down to 220. Constantly run your hand over the door to make sure it is smooth and level.
Step 5: Wipe off dust
Again, run your hand over the surface to make sure there are no residuals left behind.
Step 6: Prime and paint
I had to prime twice before painting to cover the wood filler completely. Sand with 220 grit sandpaper between coats.
Step 7: Let dry overnight and repeat
If you flip the door too early, you will mess up all your hard work! Patience is key!
You may think I am crazy for investing this work into doors, but it really saves me a ton of money in the long run.
Finally, for those who are visual learners, you’re in luck! I have two youtube videos dedicated to showing you everything I have just described!
In short, I wish you all the best in fixing your doors! If you find any of this helpful, subscribe to get notified for more valuable information!
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