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How to Repair a Door Frame

You can repair minor damage to a door frame without replacing the entire door. Damage could take the form of cracks or dents or bulging due to warping. In some cases, moisture has rotted the wood away. You might remedy minimal rot with the instructions for how to repair a door frame. Otherwise, extensive rot requires replacing everything.

How to Repair a Door Frame Step by Step

Evaluate your damage and determine which scenario for how to repair a door frame applies to your situation. Some repairs require you to remove the door. In that case, you would benefit from having an extra set of hands for the job.

To fix scratches and dents:

  1. Sand a dent or scratch until the frame surface is smooth again. You do not need to remove the door.
  2. If the scratch is too deep, apply wood filler with a putty knife.
  3. Allow the filler to dry and then sand it smooth.
  4. Prime and repaint the door frame.

To remove the door and trim:

  1. Open the door and have someone hold it stable.
  2. Remove the screws holding the door hinges to the jamb.
  3. Set the door aside.
  4. Carefully pry the trim away from the door frame. Your goal is to avoid cracking it so that you can re-install it. You only need to remove trim adjacent to the areas that require repair.

To fix a warped door frame:

  1. Leave the door attached for this fix. You will test your work by opening and closing the door.
  2. Pry off trim.
  3. Pull out the shims. Pliers could help with the task.
  4. Pound the warped areas with a mallet.
  5. Check the warp with your level until it is flat again.
  6. Insert new shims near the hinges.
  7. Open and close the door to confirm the removal of the warp.
  8. Drive nails through the frame and shims.
  9. Nail the trim back into place.

To repair a cracked door frame:

  1. Take off the door and trim next to the area that needs repair.
  2. Measure and mark points 6 inches above and below the cracked wood.
  3. Cut the broken frame section out.
  4. Measure and cut a new piece of wood to fit the exposed area.
  5. Test the fit of the replacement wood.
  6. Once satisfied with the fit, apply wood glue and press the wood into place.
  7. Nail in the new wood.
  8. Apply wood filler into the seams between the old frame and the repair piece.
  9. Wipe the filler smooth with a putty knife.
  10. After the filler dries, sand it smooth.
  11. Prime and repaint the door frame.

To fix a rotted door frame:

  1. If only small areas of the frame are rotted, proceed with the directions for how to repair a door frame.
  2. Remove the door and trim.
  3. Chisel out all rotted wood.
  4. Insert wire repair mesh into the gaps where you removed rotted wood.
  5. Press wood filler into the mesh and wipe it smooth against the original door frame.
  6. After the filler dries, sand it smooth.
  7. Prime and repaint the door frame.

To re-level a door frame:

  1. Remove the door and trim.
  2. Set the level against each side of the frame to locate the problem.
  3. Starting on the side with the hinges, insert new shims where you need to make corrections. Tap them in with a mallet.
  4. Check your shim work with a level until you get the right result.
  5. Drive nails through the frame and shims to secure the frame in its new position.
  6. Cut off protruding ends of shims.
  7. Re-install the trim.
  8. Put the door back on.

Tools & Materials

  • Screwdrivers or power drill
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Handsaw
  • Hammer and nails
  • Mallet
  • Shims
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • New lumber
  • Sand paper
  • Wire repair mesh
  • Wood glue
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Paint brush

Professional Door Repair or Installation

You might get started with how to repair a door frame and discover that you have extensive problems. For example, frame rot can go deeper than you realize. We encourage you to discuss your concerns with the door specialists at PJ Fitzpatrick. Our home repair company performs both door frame repair and new door installation. Contact us about our door services in the Delaware Valley today.

Need help with this project?

We have trained professionals that can help. Contact us today. 1-877-246-4354

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