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Can You Fix a Damaged Door? Simple Solutions For Common Problems

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated November 16, 2021
Family entering through the front door of home
Monkey Business - stock.adobe.com

Before patching your marred door, consider safety

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Can a busted door be brought back to life? Many doors are fixable, but you should consider whether restoration is worth the effort before loading up on hinges and wood filler. For example, exterior doors with severe damage are likely destined for the dumpster (think about break-in protection and fire safety). Other less dangerous situations such as sticking doors or small cracks are easy door replacement DIYs.

Loose Hinges

Loose hinges usually happen after a door is forced shut while something is stuck. To fix, unscrew all the hinges to remove the door from the frame. Then, repair the frame by replacing damaged wood using glue to affix replacement pieces.

If your door doesn’t close right because your hinges are unexplainably loose, check to see if your locks have been tampered with to rule out an attempted break-in situation. It may be time to consider adding some better security to your door if this is the case. 

While it's worth trying to fix loose hinges, there's a strong chance you won't have a secure front door unless you install a replacement. A door compromised by blunt impact or general wear and tear is tough to restore completely. Intruders can easily exploit gaps in the door seals, which could also invite moisture-related issues like rot and termite infestations.

Dents

Dents in a metal door can often be patched and glazed. With wood doors, the damaged area can be scooped out and filled before getting sanded and painted. However, it's important to consider if it's worth repairing a door with dents. A dent can be a sign that your door's structure is weakened due to weather damage, impact, or wear and tear. There’s often more weakness and rooting hiding lurking behind the visible damage

Fluctuating Size

Person attempting to open the door
Apichet - stock.adobe.com

It's not your imagination if your door is shrinking and expanding in the frame! Moisture issues can sometimes mess with the fit. While it's not uncommon for doors to slightly expand and contract based on heat and cold, your door may need to be planed and sanded if you're having trouble closing the door, feeling a draft, or experiencing leaks.

Large Splits or Cracks

A hairline split or crack can be corrected using wood putty, filler, or adhesive. However, for larger cracks, you’ll want to insert a custom spline into the open area and secure it with wood glue. If you fix a cracked door early, you can prevent the splits from growing into huge crevices, which would compromise the door’s energy efficiency.

A Sticking Door

Tightening screws at the hinges is sometimes all that's needed to fix a sticking door. If you notice your door rubbing in certain places, delicately shaving excess wood using a chisel may get your door swinging freely again.

Condensation Inside Door Glass

“Misty-looking” double-glazed glass is a sign of condensation. This tint is usually no cause for concern, as vastly different indoor and outdoor temperatures are often the culprit behind moisture build-up on your glass installations. Constant condensation, on the other hand, signals that the seals on your glass panels are worn. A window expert may be able to help repair or replace the glass. However, most homeowners will be better off getting a new front door once you factor in cost.

You’ll spend about $475 to $1,560 to replace a door versus $100 to $500 to replace the glass in a front door. Of course, it's worth getting a quote for glass replacement if you have a specialty door you don't want to part with. Have the door and glass assessed by a pro to determine the cause of air seepage and the best option for reducing drafts.

Is It Worth Replacing a Broken Door on Your Own?

If a door has been kicked in, the consensus is that it's time for a full replacement. A breached door may no longer meet fire codes. Additionally, you're likely to lose money from wasted heating and cooling with a door that's not properly fitted into the frame. There's also the concern that your door won't be as secure against future breaches if it's not firm on its hinges.

Front door repair for minor problems like scratches and dents with wood filler or glaze can be worth it if you're up for a moderately simple DIY project and familiar with door anatomy is difficult. Sometimes a one-and-done replacement is worth it to avoid sacrificing your weekend for a headache.

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