How To Fix A Cracked Interior Door Panel

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    In this How To we will look at the option of repairing verses replacing an interior hollow core door that looks like it was cracked at the door lock area when someone decided to force it open.

    You know things happen in houses. You lock your pants or the cat in the bathroom and instead of thinking sanely about finding a door push key you force the door open and then pay the price.

    The price here might be that a door needs to be replaced. The next time I doubt someone will act so quickly instead of trying to find a paper clip or a Pin Key to open the door.

    To repair the door you will need to remove the lock and handle completely.

    The next thing you want to do is take the door off the hinges if you can. By taking it off the hinges you will be able to apply glue deeper inside the crack. If you don’t get good coverage this repair will fail because of the pressure on the door while in use.

    Fill the entire crack with a Wood Glue not a normal white glue but one designed for wood. Some people might suggest using construction adhesive but you will never get it deep enough into the crack.



    You will then need a good set of clamps and some scrap wood to place over the sides of the door where you will attach the clamps.

    The wood pieces should be at least 2 feet long and about 5 inches wide. You want the pressure of the clamp to be distributed throughout the face of the scrap piece of wood to provide pressure in a larger area.

    Whenever I clamp something of this type I normally use every clamp I have that will fit on the piece. At minimum you will probably need 3 clamps that are strong enough to completely close that crack while the glue sets. Steel Clamps should probably work well.

    Once the clamps are applied you don’t want to move the door or remove the clamps for at the minimum 12 hours but you will have better results if you can wait a whole day.

    Long clamping time is required because of the placement of the crack. The Locking mechanism and door handle will cause quite a bit of pressure on this repair so it must be the best that you can do.

    If you can not get the crack to completely close during the clamping you may have a door that can not be repaired.

    Hollow core doors have a pine frame around the outside of the door and then a thin sheet of wood material is attached to form the inside and outside faces of the door.

    If the thickness of the door is wider at the lock after gluing then the door will not shut well.

    Because it is a hollow core door you can not just simply shave or sand the door flush because you will be removing heavy wood grain texture in the face material.

    Final Note

    The questioner did not provide why this happened but forcing the door is definitely how it happened. It may have happened at a party or in an emergency or just without thinking. However this repair is not optimal.

    The only reason to attempt to repair the door instead of replacing it is because this door will match all the other doors in the house. Even if you can find a similar door at the store the likelihood of it being an exact match is pretty rare because contractors do not use retail door suppliers when ordering large volumes of doors.

    If this was an exterior door you would have no choice but to replace it. You should never try to repair an exterior door or one used for security if its frame has been damaged.

    Hopefully this will workout but next time I can bet this home owner will think twice before making this mistake again.


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