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Some time ago I closed my front door (rather forcefully) while the deadbolt was sticking out partially.

This loosened the deadbolt, and the top screw no longer held. In addition, it cracked the door on the interior side. I've attached a picture showing the damage.

The door works mainly, though it can be difficult to lock sometimes, especially when the weather gets colder.

I'm currently renting, and will soon be moving out of this house, once I buy a house. I would like to repair this door myself, and I'm hoping I don't have to replace the entire door.

Is this something that can be repaired? If so, how? I realize that a new deadbolt is probably needed, but how can I repair the wood damage around it? the door in question

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When you say cracked do you mean clean through or is it just surface damage? Is this a solid wooden door or a hollow core (note: exterior doors should always be solid). Either way the damage looks pretty significant, and before installing any door reinforcement kits you should get permission from your landlord first. If it were me, I would call my landlord and explain what happened, and ask him if he minded I replaced the door with a steel fiberglass insulated one. I don't think it is worth repairing. –  maple_shaft Dec 4 '12 at 3:10
    
Rather forcefully indeed! The faceplate is even bent. Did you hit it so hard that one of the screws flew out? –  oscilatingcretin Dec 4 '12 at 3:29
    
The picture should show the crack pretty well. Basically one large sliver of wood is hanging away from the door, and I can press it back in place. No actual "chunks" of wood are gone. The door is a solid wooden door. The screw was actually the original problem. We had a security system installed, and after they wired up the door, they left the screw loose. Over time, it worked its way further out, and eventually caught on the door. My stupid response was to close the door harder. –  natemartinsf Dec 4 '12 at 4:04
    
I saw the picture before I read your text, and my first thought was that someone tried to kick in your door. This is the trouble with hollow-core exterior doors though, in addition to the lack of insulation: they can easily be kicked in. That's why most exterior doors are solid wood or steel fiberglass. –  gregmac Dec 4 '12 at 17:56
    
Don't try and fix it yourself. Repairs will be noticeable and this is an important part of the door where you don't want to compromise strength. Contact your landlord and figure out how best to handle it. It's his door after all. You can show him the suggestions here as options. –  OrganicLawnDIY Dec 13 '13 at 18:26
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3 Answers

Looking carefully at your pic, the door appears to be a veneer covered rather than solid wood. You may be able to repair this damage to some degree, but it will never look like new again. Here are the steps to repair cracked veneer.

  1. Remove the lock hardware

  2. Open the crack slightly and apply/inject some good grade wood glue such as "Tite Bond II" into the fracture as deep as possible. Squeeze the crack together and remove excess glue with a damp rag.

  3. Sandwich the door between two pieces of board (apx 3"X 8" X 3/4", in your case) with wax paper between the door and the boards. The wax paper will prevent the boards from being glued to the door. Clamp the boards snugly against the door until the crack is closed. Use 3 or 4 clamps. Do not over tighten them, just snug enough to close the crack completely.

    Let glue cure for 24 hours.

  4. After the glue has cured, remove the clamps, boards and wax paper. Gently scrape off excess dried glue and sand as smooth as possible with 220 grit paper. If you still have small gaps from missing wood veneer, fill them with a stainable wood putty. Let the putty dry, sand it smooth, stain it with a matching color stain. Last: Reinstall your lock hardware.

This repair, if done carefully can look OK. It is however, very difficult to restore a "like new" appearance on damaged veneer. It might be close enough to pass inspection by your landlord.

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+1 Excellent answer! It doesn't need to look perfect, but perhaps it can look good enough that he won't notice long enough to give back your security deposit! ;-) –  maple_shaft Dec 4 '12 at 11:59
    
Nice edit Jay. Thanks. You guys always make me look good! lol –  shirlock homes Dec 4 '12 at 12:06
    
Obviously this (and any other solution involving glue) will require you to keep the door open for 24 hours. –  Henry Jackson Dec 4 '12 at 21:36
    
Yes, the door will have to be open a bit. Hope he has good neighbors. –  shirlock homes Dec 4 '12 at 21:44
    
I'll try to do it during the weekend. Any chance I can find a glue with 12 hour set time, so I can do it first thing in the morning, and just hang around while it is drying? –  natemartinsf Dec 6 '12 at 1:36
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Aside from replacing the door, you can purchase and install reinforcement kits for your door and jamb.

EDIT: These are also known as door wrap around plates.

Safe Door System Wrap around plate

As you can see, it contains a metal bracket that fits around the door. Some just protect the edge while other models extends a few more inches over the door and covers the holes for the dead bolt and handle.

Look around at your local home improvement store or call a local lock smith.

Get a new high security dead bolt while you are at it.

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Measure the backset of the lock and the thickness of the door to get the right wrap around. Remove the lock and install this wrap around. Then re-install the lock. The wrap around is constructed of 18 gauge stainless steel and is designed to repair doors compromised in this manner. They are available in 2 finishes 603(brass) and 325 (stainless).

Also simply gluing a broken door together will not return its strength

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