Broken Doorframe? Here's How to Fix It
A doorframe is one part of your house that you probably don’t think about until it needs a repair. But if your door has stopped closing properly, or if something hit the frame causing a crack, a fix is in your future.
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It’s important to get doorframes fixed quickly because they provide support for doors and help maintain structural integrity. Fortunately, it's a relatively easy DIY job, and with the right tools and skills, you can have your door swinging freely again in less than a day.
Types of Doorframe Repairs
How you repair your doorframe will depend largely on what’s wrong with it, so start any repair by assessing the damage. Common problems, such as a split or warped frame or cosmetic damage, can be fixed. If your frame's suffered a lot of damage, it may be easier to replace the whole frame instead of repairing it.
How Do You Repair a Wooden Doorframe?
Repair minor dents and scratches by sanding them away. If the dents are larger, fill them with wood or body filler, and once the filler is dry, sand it down and paint to match the existing frame.
Can You Replace a Doorframe Without Replacing the Door?
It’s possible to replace a doorframe without replacing the door. Just make sure that the door will fit into the frame you purchase. You may choose this option if your existing door matches other interior doors or has been designed specifically to suit your outdoor space.
Essentials for Doorframe Repair
You need different tools for different types of repairs, but these are some of the common ones:
- Piece of wood or timber
- Tape measure
- Pry bar or chisel
- Carpenter’s glue
- Body or wood filler
- Wire mesh
- Primer and paint
- A helper
How to Fix a Doorframe
These steps are required for all but the smallest doorframe repairs:
- Remove the door: Use a power drill or screwdriver to remove the hinges from the door jamb. Have your helper hold the door for you to avoid injury. Move the door out of the way.
- Remove the molding: Molding is the wooden trim that surrounds the entryway. Use a chisel and pry bar to carefully remove the trim. Keep this safe so it can be replaced at the end of the repair. Depending on where the damage is, you may not need to remove all the trim.
How Do You Fix a Broken Doorframe?
If your doorframe is split, you’ll need to replace the damaged wood.
- Measure the damage: Locate the damaged area and measure a section from 6 inches above to 6 inches below.
- Cut away the damaged area: Use a saw to cut away the damaged frame. Be careful not to cut too deep because this can damage the frame’s integrity.
- Prepare new timber: Measure and cut the new piece of wood to fit the damaged area.
- Fit new timber: Use carpenter’s glue to place the new piece of wood. Then, add nails at the top and bottom to fix it in place.
- Finish the frame: Use filler in the spot where the wood meets the frame. Once dry, sand the area and finish with primer and paint. Finally, refit the door and molding.
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How Do You Repair a Warped Doorframe?
Doorframes can warp over time, but you may be able to bring it back to level.
- Remove the shims: Remove the molding, but not the door. Then, remove the shims. These small, wooden wedges are used to keep the doorframe plumb.
- Level the frame: Use a mallet to gently hammer the frame to level it out. A piece of wood held over the frame can help protect it from damage.
- Measure as you go: Measure the frame as you work to make sure it stays even on both sides and the top and bottom. Warped wood may be a result of water damage, so check for mold or rot while you have the molding off.
- Reinstall shims and molding: Install new shims on both sides of the jamb at the hinge height of the door. Open and close the door as you’re installing them to ensure it’s even. Nail the shims in place, then reinstall the molding.
How Do You Repair a Rotting Doorframe?
If your doorframe has minor wood rot, the rotted part can be removed and filled. If the rot is extensive, you should consider replacing the whole frame as it’s likely to be the more affordable option.
- Remove rotted wood: Use a chisel to remove the rotten wood. Make sure you remove every piece of wood that has mold or rot.
- Fill gap: Use folded wire mesh to fill in the gap in the wood.
- Fill wire: Fill the wire mesh using body or wood filler or an epoxy-based filler. Leave it to dry for the amount of time specified on the packaging.
- Finish repair: Sand the filled section, then apply primer and paint to match the existing frame.
How Do You Re-Level a Doorframe?
Prepare by removing the door, molding and casing.
- Determine the problem: Hold your level against each side of the frame to determine where adjustment is needed.
- Insert shims: Gently tap wooden shims between the jamb and doorframe until it’s level. Start on the hinge side and measure as you go to see if the frame is plumb. Continue adding shims around the frame at intervals until it’s completely level.
- Nail in place: Hammer nails into the door jamb through both the frame and shims.
- Tidy up the shims: Saw off any protruding portions of the shims to ensure they’re flush with the wall.
- Finish repair: Replace the original casing and molding and remount the door.