Cracks in doors and door frames tend to happen as time and busyness wear on a home, and though it's normal, it can feel like quite a chore to fix. Thankfully, you don't have to have a great deal of knowledge about woodworking to make this repair. We've done the research to give you guidance on how to complete this project.
To fix a cracked door or door frame, you must:
- Assess the door and door frame condition.
- Clean the break.
- Apply wood filler and glue.
- Sand down and repaint.
- Test the door.
Now you know the basic steps to repairing a crack in a door or frame, but maybe you're still feeling overwhelmed. Keep reading for more detailed instructions.
How to Fix a Cracked Door or Door Frame
1. Assess the Door and Door Frame Condition
To begin, you must assess the condition of the door and/or door frame to decide how extensive the damage is. Is it a simple crack, or is it more substantial than that?
Repairing a split or crack is easy and is typically just from wear and tear. In other situations, such as forced entry, wood rot, or warping, the damage may be more extensive and require a repair kit or replacing the door or door frame altogether.
These steps are suited for mending simple cracks and splits in the wood, so you must be sure that this is what you are dealing with.
2. Clean the Break
Once you have concluded that this damage is just a crack or a split, you will want to take a look at the break and give it a good cleaning. Oftentimes, there may be splints of wood in the crack. Using a razor such as a box cutter, you can scrape away the splints of wood.
There may also be dust or debris. All of this must be cleared before the wood filler and glue is applied to ensure a proper bond and hold. We suggest using a dust rag or even a vacuum or shop vac to remove the debris.
3. Apply Wood Filler and Glue
Perhaps you have a split in the door frame, which needs to be pulled back to a close. If this is the case, wood glue is the best choice for your repair. When applying the wood glue, be sure to apply it as deeply as possible into the split.
After you've applied the glue, you will have to place wood clamps onto the door frame to hold it in place and repair the split. These clamps will have to stay until the glue has fully dried. At the very least, this will be a few hours. Though, some sources suggest leaving it to dry overnight.
For cracks that do not need to be closed but rather just filled, wood filler is the best product choice. When purchasing a wood filler, you will have to carefully consider your options.
For indoor projects, we suggest a water-based wood filler. This type is able to be stained or painted and is made specifically for indoor use. For outdoor projects, you will want to reach for a solvent-based wood filler. It is created for outdoor use and also can be stained or painted.
Applying the wood filler can be done with a putty knife. Fill the area abundantly, keeping in mind that the product will contract slightly when it dries. Then scrape away the excess with the putty knife. Leave the wood filler to dry completely, according to the specific product directions.
4. Sand Down and Repaint
After the wood glue or filler has dried, it's time to finish by correcting the cosmetic aspects of the door and door frame. You will want to sand down the areas on which the wood glue or filler was applied until smooth. This can be done by hand with sanding paper or with a handheld orbiting sander.
Then make sure the surface is clean and ready to be painted. Apply a coat of primer if you deem it necessary, as well as one to two coats of paint.
5. Test the Door
Finish your project by testing the door. You will want to be sure that it is able to swing at a full 90-degree angle. You will also want to check that it closes all the way, and if applicable, that it will lock.
Take a step back and make sure that the door and frame appear uniform, with no large gaps. If so, you're done!
Why Did My Door Frame Crack?
There are many factors and events that can cause a door frame to crack. When a home is in a climate that experiences extreme changes in temperature and humidity, materials in flooring and walls can often expand or contract.
Earthquakes can also shift a home's foundation. Any of this phenomenon may cause too much movement in the structure of the door frame and cause a crack.
A door or door frame can also crack from heavy usage or usage over a long period of time. As doors are opened, shut, or slammed repeatedly, you may eventually see a split appear in a door frame or cracks in a door.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Cracked Door Frame?
Fixing a simple crack could cost as low as $75. It could cost even less if you already have some of the materials in your home.
However, if there is more extensive damage, repairing could cost as much as $220. This could be the case if your door frame has wood rot or has been forced open, causing a large break.
Can You Replace Part of the Door Frame?
Yes, you can! At times, the damage to a door frame may be extensive enough that you feel it would be beneficial to replace it altogether, but replacing only part of the frame can cut costs.
To do this, you must remove the molding, cut away the damaged area and replace it with a new cut of wood using wood glue. Then you will want to add wood filler to fill in the grain and grooves. Once it has dried, sand down and paint or stain the area.
Can You Replace a Door Frame without Replacing the Door?
Yes! The door and door frame are separate facets in a home. If needed, a door can be taken off of the hinges and set aside while a door frame is being removed and replaced. Then the door can be returned to its place.
How Easy Is It to Remove a Door Frame?
Removing a door frame is relatively simple, but it does require some muscle. First, you must use a blade such as a box cutter to cut around the trim of the door frame. This is to give an access point where you can insert a pry bar and heave the trim away from the wall.
After this, you will have to remove the door jamb. This will require cutting through the jamb, this time with a saw, also to give an access point for a pry bar. Once you have an opening, you will pull the jamb away from the wall. Then the door frame will be completely removed. You will also want to make sure that any remaining nails or screws are removed from the area.
Is It Hard to Replace a Door?
Replacing a door can require a moderate skill level, as there can be much measuring and cutting involved to match the new door to the old's specifications.
For example, when the old door is removed from its hinges, it must be laid beneath the old door so that one can determine where to place the hinges. Then you must measure and score the hinge widths. For some doors, you may also have to drill the holes for the door hardware yourself.
Mending a cracked door or door frame can seem puzzling at first glance, but the fix is actually quite simple. By cleaning the break, applying wood glue and filler, and sanding down and repainting, it can quickly seem good as new. Always remember to test your door after repairing, and if the impairment is more than just a simple crack, you may desire to use some different ways to repair the damage.
As always, enjoy your home and take pride in keeping it beautiful!
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