enter image description here Help need help fixing door. Is this still fixable or not? enter image description here

  • I am really confused as to why people are answering with suggestions for fixing solid wood doors when OP clearly has a hollow-core door.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:45
  • It's not conclusive that the door is hollow. Probably, but not definitely. Variations on most of these suggestions are applicable regardless.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:56

5 Answers 5


I'd glue and clamp the wood to put it back together, then install a door reinforcement plate.

Interior doors are usually 1-3/8" thick. Exterior are 1-3/4" thick.

enter image description here


I wouldn't. I'd spend 20 bucks at Restore, or free from used_your_city_name_here.com, craigslist, or whatever your local buy-sell-trade site is. This is repairable, but all repairs are a trade off of effort vs results. Used doors in good condition can be had for free or nearly free. The "proper", lasting, way to repair this would be to cut out and replace the entire section (~8+ inches height by ~3 inches in guessing from the photo), re-drill, etc. If you did this right you would end up with a door that was solid and functional, but still obviously repaired. Just not worth it.

  • This is a good cost-effective solution that a lot of people don't think about. It may not be an option if you need the door to match another door nearby, but it can be a great alternative to a new door or a questionable repair.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 18:15
  • Unfortunately, replacement slabs rarely go in as easily as we'd like. Different hinge styles and positions, variations in actual size, and differing knob bore heights can all play havoc with our best-laid plans.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:51

I've been going through a similar process for a door I'm turning round. After removing everything that I'm moving, my process has been:

  • Give the full door a good sanding
  • Glue and clamp all cracked/split wood
  • Sand the door
  • Cut new wood to fill the larger holes (old key hole etc, making sure it is slightly smaller than the hole, so nothing is proud of the original wood)
  • Fill all the holes with wood filler (various sorts out there, if you're UK based, wood filler from Wickes or Screwfix does a good job). I've found wood filler to be a lot better than the multi purpose fillers out there
  • Another through sanding
  • Paint filler with primer
  • Mark and drill for new door fixings (can fit them now, but I'd remove them before the next step)
  • Paint all the door with undercoat (you may get away with one coat, I put on two as my door had been painted pink)
  • Paint door with top coat

Long process, multiple waiting for it to dry. But better that than a bad job.


The proper technique for this kind of repair would be to install a dutchman. Shipwrights and boatwrights regularly do this sort of thing.


Cut away the damaged wood along the edge of the door, plus maybe 4–5 inches past the damage on either side. Taper the cut on either end, so the ends of the cut come smoothly out of edge of the door. Then, carefully cut and fit a piece of wood to the recess. Make it maybe a 1/4 inch thicker than the door, and maybe a little less proud on the edge of the door.

If you have a really good fit, you can glue it and clamp it in place with resorcinol — Titebond 2 or 3 would probably work, too (but they all require a good fit and high clamping pressures to achieve a solid, strong glue line).

Otherwise, if your woodworking-fu is not up to snuff, glue it and clamp it in place with a good epoxy like System 3 or West System. Epoxy is tolerant of thickish glue lines and actually likes rather lower clamping pressures (joint starvation weakens things).

If your fit is really sloppy, mix 2 batches of epoxy, one un-thickened, and the other thickened with wood flour, microfibers or fumed silica to a paste-like consistency. These thickeners will be available from your epoxy vendor.

Prime both surfaces with the un-thickened epoxy, and then, while it's still wet, apply a sufficiency of thickened epoxy and clamp it up.

If you do thicken it with fumed silica, remember that it is essentially powdered quartz. Once the epoxy sets, sanding or cutting this will be nearly impossible. Make sure you trim away as much excess as possible while the epoxy is still "green" — after it's started to set, but is still rubbery.

Note that you don't actually need clamps for something like this: maybe 4-6 screws, 2-3 on either side of the damage, coated in mold release or wax and driven through the edge of the dutchman into the edge of the door will suffice. If you use screws, dry-fit the dutchman and pre-drill both it and the door for the screws.

Once the epoxy sets, you can remove the screws and then counterbore the holes and install wood plugs with glue (not dowels) to seal the holes. Or set it up so the screws are countersunk and counterbored and then just install wood plugs on top of the screws. If this is an exterior door and you leave the screws in place, consider using silicon bronze screws so as to prevent corrosion. And stainless won't work, because stainless requires contact with oxygen to be, well, stainless. Without access to oxygen, stainless steel develops what is called crevice corrosion:

stainless steel bolt suffering crevice corrosion

Then, a few minutes worth of work with a sharp block plane to fair everything up and bring the surfaces flush with the existing surface, and you're ready to paint.

Done right, this repair will be

  • Virtually invisible (and on a painted door, completely invisible), and
  • At least as strong, if not more strong, than the original wood.

You'll have to redo the lockset installation, as well.

  • I admire your propensity for craftsmanship, but we're talking about a hardboard-faced, probably hollow-core door here. :)
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:53

I would fill the broken area with builders bog and then sand it back to square. I did this with a door at my place.

Maybe inject some wood glue and clamp the cracks first.

  • I'd be concerned about the longevity of the damaged wood. Would it make sense to fill this damage and then rehang the door the other way round, so that you've got fresh wood to work with when attaching the fittings? Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 10:16
  • Hollow-core doors rarely have the appropriate hinge and knob support on the opposite side.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:55

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