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Door Frame Dry Rot Help

I live in a 10 year old house with an exterior door frame that has dry rot at the base of the frame. We recently had our house painted and the contractor just painted over the frame and didn't notice the issue. Somehow, our new puppy started chewing on the door frame and was able to dig a huge chunk out of the frame.

I started investigating and saw that a huge portion of the lower frame had dry rot. My question is can it be repaired and how or should I replace the entire door/door frame?



Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

Any half way decent carpenter should be able to cut out the rot and install a dutchman.


Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

Replacing damaged portions of door jambs is normal practice.

Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

You can repair the jam or replace the the whole door but if you dont take care of what caused the dry rot you will have the same conundrum down the road. Dry rot is usually caused by water infiltration. The door may have been improperly flashed or a drainage issue where the jam wicks up water and or water is constantly splashing up on the door. good luck on your detective work and the repair. Please post back as to what you find and do to correct the issue.

Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

You need to replace your whole door because it may be structurally damaged by the rot and then you have to take steps regarding the prevention of dry rot. The most important way to prevent dry rot is eliminate excess of moisture from home.

Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

You probably don't need to replace the whole door, just the bottom part of the frame. The design of the door frames made today make them very hard to keep water out. I prefer a sill that goes all the way across and under the frame on each side, water is more likely to shed that way, but todays doors have the frame going all the way to the foundation and a metal sill that only goes to the frame on each side. Once water starts down that frame, it is going to get by the sill and all the way to the foundation.

You can cut away the rot and have pieces of wood cut to fit the cutouts, but it might be easier to just replace the frame. You can buy a pre manufactured frame that will be pre primed on all six sides. If you are hiring out this job, the pre manufactured frame will probably save you money in the long run.

Before installing the new frame, I would top coat all six sides of the frame as well, two coats on the inside and bottom, put the second coat on the outside after installation. Caulk at the bottom with a silicone caulk. While you re at it, you can reinforce the frame by gluing spacers between the frame and the frame of the house and then using 3.5" screws to hold the door frame in place. Done right, this can make kicking in the door a very painful experience for anyone who tries it.

The last step is protecting the door frame from water in the first place. since it got water damage in the past, I'm guessing that you have little to no overhang (eave) above the door. You need a good overhang, at least 3 feet, OR a good storm door. This will keep water off the frame and sill.

Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

I have an exterior door frame that the very bottom where my screen door bar attaches to the inside of the frame has pushed though--so I know it is rotted behind however, the wood seems solid above it. I believe that a portion of the frame can be cut out (my boyfriend wants to tear out the entire door).
Two questions:
1. It is winter here in Kansas, can it be done well in such cold weather?
2. Or should I just do a temporary fix by putting something behind the plate until it warms up?

A. Spruce
Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

Without seeing what you're talking about, it will be hard to offer a fix. You will need to host the image with an offsite host, then link the image here.

As for changing out a door in winter, yes, you can. An experienced tradesman can do it in about 1-2 hours, which is quite a long time to have a gaping hole in the side of your house when it's cold outside. What I would do is either remove the screen door for the time being, or install a thin block over the damaged spot to attach your closer rod. When the weather gets better/warmer, then address replacement.

If the damage is superficial, then you can patch it, however, until more is known, a course of repair cannot be suggested.

Re: Door Frame Dry Rot Help

A replacement of the frame and at the same a help from professional services would do. They can certainly do some changes for few hours and might give you more better ideas for door frames.


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