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Dented Steel Door

Fix it the same you'd fix a dented fender

Ask This Old House Crew
Photo by Matt Kalinowski

How would you go about repairing a small dent in a steel entry door?
— Vincent, Fraser, MI


Tom Silva replies: I'd do it the same way I repair a dented fender — with a two-part auto-body filler such as Bondo. First, sand the dent and 2 to 3 inches of the surrounding area using 40-grit paper. When you're down to raw metal, clean it with denatured alcohol. Now mix up the filler and apply a thin layer with a plastic spreader. Once it cures, apply at least one more layer slightly higher than the door surface. When that layer cures — in about 25 minutes — use 80-grit sandpaper to make the repair flush, then sand the patch and feather the edges with a series of progressively finer grits, up to about 220. After 90 minutes prime the area, then paint it. Sanding this filler releases fine dust, so be sure to wear a dust mask and take any other safety precautions called for on the label.


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