We have a solid-core wooden front-door and would like to repaint it as our dog has scratched it many times (ahh the joys of pet ownership). We've sanded down the rough spots on the door but we noticed some hair-line cracks in the groove between the panel and the mullion.

The cracks aren't large enough to affect the structural integrity of the door but we're thinking that we'll need to seal it before proceeding with applying the paint. We can't sand it because the crack is in an awkward location on the mullion.

What can we use to seal small cracks? Caulk? Wood Epoxy?


  • 1
    As an aside, I can recommend this book. My dog used to jump on the front door all the time; following the techniques in the book, now it's a game to see how far away he can sit and how long he can wait before I call him to let him out. :)
    – Niall C.
    Oct 10, 2010 at 22:17
  • @niall Thanks for the tip. I've watched the show several times but didn't know she had a book out.
    – Mike B
    Oct 10, 2010 at 22:42

3 Answers 3


Caulk or a paintable frame sealant would work.

We've used the latter on our Victorian doors to fill gaps between mouldings the body of the door where the wood has shrunk over the years.

Make sure you don't overdo it and smooth down the sealant with a damp cloth or finger straight away. This will push the sealant all the way into the gap.

  • Awesome. Thanks Chris. That's exactly what I needed to know.
    – Mike B
    Oct 11, 2010 at 1:18

If you're painting it, I've found the easiest patching material to use is auto body filler- e.g.- "Bondo." It goes on easy, sands easily, and when painting over it, you see no trace. I use it often when working with MDF- it makes seams, screw holes, etc.. disappear.


Since you're going to be painting it afterward, you don't even need to worry about getting a good color match, just sanding to make the repair undetectable. So, just because it can be sanded once dry, I think a wood epoxy would be best. (I've never tried to sand caulk, but I expect the results wouldn't be great. :)

Another option would be a wood putty, but I'm not convinced that it would be strong enough to prevent the crack from widening, if there's more structural damage than you know about.


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