How to Patch Up a Hole in a Door in No Time

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated August 30, 2022
An apartment interior with open doors
Photo: Dariusz Jarzabek / Adobe Stock

Give door holes the heave-ho

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What you'll need:


  • Sharp utility knife

  • Plastic putty knife

  • 2-inch or similar size paintbrush


  • Drop cloth

  • Protective gloves (optional)

  • Newspaper or print paper

  • Aerosol foam insulation

  • Body filler compound

  • 120-grit sandpaper

  • Spackle

  • Touch-up paint

Wooden doors, particularly hollow core doors, are more fragile than we’d like, and nothing eliminates privacy more than a big hole in the middle of one. Contacting a local door repair company to replace an interior door is a surefire way to fix the problem, but there’s a fairly simple DIY fix as well. Keep reading to learn the best and easiest way to fix a hole in a door.

7 Steps to Fixing a Hole in a Door

An open white door
Photo: Dmitry Bakulov / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

1. Gear Up and Prepare

Before getting started, slide a drop cloth under the door to protect the floor from paint, spackle, and the like. Then, gather and arrange all the necessary tools and materials, saving you time later. Otherwise, you could spend 30 minutes looking for the spackle or putty knife when the time comes. Also, consider wearing gloves if handling a utility knife worries you.

2. Get Rid of Ragged Edges

Clear up the hole first, cutting away ragged edges around the hole using your sharp utility knife. For a refresher on utility knives, they have retractable snap-off blades. Grab the knife and work slowly, holding it at a slight angle to create an even, beveled cut. Use a gentle sawing motion to remove any splintered edges.

3. Paper and Insulate the Hole

Now, it’s time to start insulating the hole, which helps prevent another accidental hole later on. Start by crumpling up a small amount of newspaper or printer paper and slide the wad into the hollow, pushing it to occupy the open space surrounding the hole. Make sure to go all around the perimeter, as this crumbled paper acts as a barrier containing the insulation.

4. Spray Foam

Then, spray your low-expansion aerosol foam insulation into the hole, using the straw accompanying the can unless otherwise instructed (avoid high-expansion foam to prevent excessive pressure). Start at the back of the hole and spray slowly and carefully. Let it sit for 15 minutes until the insulation is soft and rubbery.

5. Trim the Insulation

Foam insulation likes to expand. If some insulating foam expands outside the hole, cut away the excess by waiting until the foam is fully dry, extending the blade to your desired length, and holding it flush against the door's surface. Trim the foam slowly and carefully. Wear safety gloves if holding the utility knife feels unsafe.

6. Add the Body Filler

It’s time to cover the foam-filled hole with a lightweight auto-body filler company. For this, use a plastic putty knife, the type you’d use when repairing damaged drywall.

Check the packaging and instructions for specific use details, as some types arrive in two separate containers that require mixing, and others are ready to use. Grab the plastic putty knife and scoop up a small amount of the filler. Using the putty knife to wipe off excess paste, smooth the filler over the hole. Let it dry completely (around 30 minutes) before moving on to the next step.

7. Spackle and Smooth

Once the filler dries completely, remove the dried body filler to start building a seamless surface. After some sanding with 120-grit sandpaper, switch over to the spackle, applying a thin layer of the substance directly over the filler. When the spackle dries, go back to sanding and then add another fine layer of spackle. Run your fingers over the surface to test for smoothness, and repeat the process until it’s completely smooth.

8. Paint and Admire Your Handiwork

Use matching paint to cover up any inconsistencies or signs of repair. Use your brush to apply an even layer of paint over the hole. Let the paint dry for a couple of hours and apply another coat. For best results, go for two to four coats, with adequate drying time between each. Once fully dried, enjoy your fine handiwork.

DIY Fixing Door Holes vs. Hiring a Pro

This is a DIY-friendly project, so save some bucks and do it yourself. Average labor costs for a local door installation contractor runs between $40 and $90 per hour. If you contact a local handyperson instead, you'll pay less, at $30 to $40 per hour.

Average costs for 2 types of professionals who can repair doors, with a handyperson ranging from $30 to $40 per hour


Most pros use wood putty to fill in any holes in a stained wood door since attempting to match new stain to old stain is so difficult. Start by buying a wood putty that is similar in color to your stained wood door and blend different colors of putty together if needed.

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