How do you repair a crack in a wooden door? Wooden doors, after their long-term exposure to different factors, can eventually suffer some cracks here and there. The constant change in temperatures and humidity causes the wood fibres to shrink and expand, mostly width-wise, which puts stress on the door. Wooden door panels are strategically designed to withstand this pressure by allowing it to freely slide through its frame. However, other factors such as dirt and grime or even the refinishing processes done on these doors can leave the panels stuck. This will lead to the stretching of the panels, which will most likely end up in cracking your wooden door.

Repairing it can be a handful but is always possible. Antique wooden doors are made from strong wood that is of better quality than some recently made ones, and so restoring it is a better solution. If you’re looking to repair them yourself, there are two workarounds you can do on your own.

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Temporary fix

If you are simply bothered by the light or draught that enters through the cracks, then a temporary fix can be very simple and suitable for your needs. For this one, you would need either wood putty or filler to do the trick. 

  1. Why wood filler? A wood filler is recommended to match your door because it hardens when dried, as opposed to a wood putty that does not. However, this is suggested if you plan on hiding the crack from plain sight. This would also require some sanding and finishing after it dries up but would blend well with the door.
  2. Why wood putty? If you would like for this repair to last longer and are a little less concerned with the aesthetic, you can choose a wood putty which can come in the closest shade to your door. As this is more flexible, this is more recommended for external doors which are more exposed to sunlight and extreme temperatures.

More permanent fix

Panels will still expand and contract and if they remain stuck and unable to move, cracks can still develop over time. The best way to repair these cracks is to force the panels back together. Some panels are propped into place by a mould, similar to a picture frame. If that is so, gently remove the frame and then the panel. Clean the frame, and the panel itself. Glue the two separate pieces together and put them back together in reverse order of their removal. You can mark the pieces to make sure they can be put back together correctly. 

Some panels are inserted into the door through a groove where it can slide right in. If this is the case, it is impossible to remove the panels without doing some damage. Because of that, it is better to slide the panels back and forth to release it. Clean the grooves with a razor blade if necessary, and if the cracked edges have dirt stuck in it as well, it should be sanded. You can also choose to strip it off of the finish. Once the two halves of the panel can slide freely, glue the two sides back together.

These are some of the ways you can repair a crack in your wooden door. However, if you are not confident in getting them fixed on your own, a specialist can help you restore your door for the best finish!

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Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of The Wooden Door Company by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.