Holey Door Damage! How to Repair a Hole in Your Door

by Team HomeServe
interior hollow-core Door with a hole in it

Repairing a Hole in a Door at a Glance

  • Tools and materials: Sandpaper, insulating foam, knife, auto body or plastic wood filler, cardboard, pliers, paint
  • Step 1: Remove door from hinges
  • Step 2: Clean the hole
  • Step 3: Insert cardboard
  • Step 4: Apply foam
  • Step 5: Add filler
  • Step 6: Sand
  • Step 7: Paint

Got a holey door? Luckily, it’s probably a DIY repair job. Most interior doors are just a shell with a hollow interior. Hollow doors can be patched or filled, depending on your preference and available materials.

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Fixing a hole in your hollow-core door is a straightforward process that almost anyone can do themselves. Here's a quick step-by-step guide.

Tools and Materials

Before you can begin the repair process, you'll need to gather the necessary tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Insulating foam
  • Utility knife
  • Paint to match the door
  • Putty knife
  • Auto body filler or plastic wood filler
  • Pliers
  • Cardboard

7 Steps for Fixing a Hole in a Door

You don't need to be an expert to repair a hole in a door. Once you've got your tools ready, there is an easy process you can follow that will walk you through each step to fill the hole.

1. Remove the Door

Lift the door off its hinges so that you can work with it on a level surface. For most interior doors, you can simply remove the pin with the help of a hammer and then lift the door off its hinge. With the door off its hinges, lay it flat on a level surface where you can work on it easily. If you don’t have a large enough workbench or table, the floor works as well.

2. Clean Up the Hole

Use your utility knife and pliers to clean up the edges of the hole. Make clean cuts to remove excess debris from the impact that caused the hole in the door. If the area around the hole feels weak and you can dent it by applying light pressure, the interior wood of the door has folded in on itself beyond what’s visible from the outside. In that case, make the hole bigger using your utility knife until the edges surrounding the hole are stable and solid.

3. Support With Cardboard

Cut a strip of cardboard and roll it up so that it can be inserted into the door through the hole. This cardboard will provide support inside the door after the hole is patched. According to WikiHow, you can also use paper towels for this step.

4. Add Insulating Foam

With the cardboard arranged around the edges of the hole's interior, you should have a hollow area inside the cardboard. Use expanding foam insulation to carefully fill the hole. Keep in mind that it will expand, so be careful not to overfill and cause the door to crack.

It will take a few hours for the foam to dry. Leave the door in a safe place so the foam can cure. If you want to prevent the foam from sticking on the outside of the door around the hole, surround the hole with painter's tape. The foam will rest on top of it.

After it’s dry, use your utility knife to the excess foam off in a clean line so that it's level with the surface of the door.

5. Apply a Coat of Filler

Apply the plastic wood or auto body filler on top of the insulation foam. Using a craft stick or putty knife, smooth the filler off to be level with the door. The filler should be applied generously around the hole — even on the surface of the door. It's okay if there's some excess filler because the sanding process will level the surface completely.

6. Sand the Filler

After the plastic wood filler has dried for a couple of hours, you can grab your sandpaper and begin sanding. Continue until the surface of the door and the door hole are completely smooth.

7. Time to Paint

With a level surface, it's time to paint. Ensure you have the exact match for your door; otherwise, you'll have to repaint the entire door.

After letting the paint dry, you can return the door to its hinges. At this point, the hole should be a distant memory! However, if the damage occurred because of something in the door's permanent environment — like a doorstop or doorknob — there's a chance you're going to have the same problem again in the future. You can purchase a wall guard and place it on the back of the door at the impact point. This will provide extra protection and prevent you from having to fix a hole in the door again down the line.

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Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about fixing a hole in a door:

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Hole in a Door?

To have the hole in a door professionally repaired can sometimes cost you more than replacing the entire door. If you're going to perform the patch yourself, you'll only need to pay for the supplies.

Can You Patch a Hollow Door?

Patching the hole in a hollow-core door is a common and simple procedure. It takes minimal skill and the right materials and can be fixed in a couple of hours.

How Do You Repair a Solid Wood Door?

Fixing a solid-core door is a slightly different process that requires additional materials. You'll need a wooden dowel, C-clamps, carpenter's glue, drywall compound and a handsaw in addition to the materials required for a hollow-core door repair.

Here’s what to do:

1. Begin the same way as you did with the hollow-core door and remove the solid wood door from its hinges.

2. Find a wooden dowel with roughly the same diameter as the hole in the door. Cut the dowel to almost the same width as your door.

3. Coat the dowel in carpenter's glue and use your hammer to guide it through the hole until it's flush with the surface of the door on both sides. Once the glue dries, you may need to use the handsaw to cut one side down so it's level with the rest of the door.

4. Apply wood filler over both sides. Sand it down once it dries.

5. Prime and paint.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.