How Do I Fix a Crack in a Wood Door?
Norm Abram diagnoses a cracked entry door and suggests a solution
Our painted wood entry door has a horizontal crack running the entire length of one panel. It lets in a lot of cold air in the winter and a lot of hot air in the summer. Can it be repaired?
—Bob Martin, York, PA
A door panel is meant to be free to expand and contract within the grooves of its rails and stiles. The problem here is that at some point layers of dried paint cemented the edges of the panel to that grooved frame, and the wood pulled itself apart as it continued to move.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get paint out of the grooves and free up the panel edges. But you can fill a small crack like this with some flexible, paintable epoxy filler, which is sold in small quantities at home centers, hardware stores, and online.
Use a chisel or utility knife to make a shallow V on both sides of the panel at the crack to create a wider and better bonding surface for the epoxy. Once it cures, sand it flush to the panel face and paint.
Shown: The bottom panel of this wood door cracked because dried paint locked the panel’s edges in place, while the rest of the panel expanded and contracted.