Aging Doors, Renewed Charm ─ How to Fix a Chipped Door Frame


Damage to doorframes can happen when moving furniture, because of pets, or just during everyday activities. The damage can detract from the look of the house, though, so it should be fixed. If you’d prefer to do it yourself instead of calling in professionals, it is possible to do.

Use the following information to learn how to repair small chips and dings in a door frame, as well as what to do if there are larger damaged areas.

Determine the Extent of the Damage

Take some time to review exactly how damaged the wood is and how much needs to be repaired. How deep are the chips? Are they large or small? Are there any other signs of issues, like cracks or rot damage?

Depending on the size and depth of the damage, different types of repairs may be needed. Put a piece of painter’s tape next to each spot that needs to be repaired so it’s easy to see everything that needs to be done. Take a look at for more information.

Gather Necessary Supplies for the Repair


Make sure you have everything necessary before beginning. To patch small dents or chips in the wood, you’ll need sandpaper, wood filler, and paint that matches the rest of the doorframe. It’s a good idea to have basic cleaning supplies like paper towels on hand to clean up small messes as you go and to clean the area before starting the repairs.

If the chip is deep or there are larger damaged areas, you’ll want to have other supplies on hand, like a wire mesh to fill in the hold and tools to chip away any rot or other damage before getting started.

Start by Cleaning the Area to Repair

The area that needs to be repaired should be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner. Cleaning it will remove any dust, debris, or other particles on the wood so the wood filler will stick to it properly. If the area needs to be sanded smooth before beginning, sand and then clean to make sure the area is prepped properly.

Cleaning doesn’t need to be extensive. Any cleaning product that won’t damage the wood can be sprayed onto a paper towel and wiped onto the damaged area of the doorframe. Let dry if needed before moving on to the next step.

Add Wood Filler and Let it Dry


Wood filler is like a putty that can be molded to fit into the damaged area of the wood. Start with a small piece and apply it to the doorframe as recommended by the wood filler’s manufacturer. Always follow their directions for the best results. Press the wood filler into the damaged area, ensuring it fills the area.

Add small amounts at a time if needed to fill the damaged area. The wood filler may be raised slightly above the surrounding area, but that is okay for now. Let the wood filler dry as long as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure it is ready for the next steps.

Sand, Clean, and Paint to Match

After the area is filled, it’s time to clean and paint. Take the time to sand the wood filler down so it matches the wood surrounding the patch. It should feel smooth to the touch with no bumps once it’s sanded properly.

Take the time to clean the area again to remove any dust from the sanding and to prep the area for the paint. Make sure the paint matches what is already there to avoid having to repaint the entire doorframe, and then paint over the damaged area. Feather the paint onto the surrounding areas to help it blend in and make the repair less noticeable.

What to Do About Larger Damage


Larger damaged areas may require more extensive repairs to fix them completely and restore the doorframe. Some of the repairs that may be needed include the following.

  • Larger holes in the wood ─ If there are larger holes in the wood, you’ll want to fill the hole with a wire mesh to avoid having to fill the entire space with wood filler. Once the mesh is in place, a smaller amount of wood filler can be used to cover the mesh and the hole. Follow the steps above to use the wood filler and cover up the damage once it’s dry.
  • Rot in the wood ─ If there is rot in the wood, use a chisel to remove it, keeping just the undamaged wood around the rot. It is important to do this repair as soon as possible to prevent the rot from getting worse over time. Use the above step to fill the larger hole in the wood. By removing the rot and filling in the hole, it’s possible to prevent it from spreading to more of the doorframe.
  • Loose wood on the door ─ If the wood on the doorframe is loose, use a nail gun and nails to reattach it to the wall. If needed, a small amount of glue can be used, too. Once it is reattached, use the above steps for filling in chips to cover up the nails, so they aren’t noticeable once the repairs are done.
  • Loose or damaged hardware ─ If there is any loose or damaged hardware, remove them from the doorframe. The wood is likely damaged here. It may be necessary to cut out a section of wood and replace it with a new one to avoid removing the entire doorframe. Once the new section of wood is installed, the new hardware can be installed following the manufacturer’s directions.

If there is any damage to the doorframe, you may want to fix it right away to restore the look of your home and prevent the damage from getting worse. Follow the steps here to make sure everything is done correctly and that the damage will be unnoticeable once you’ve finished the repairs. By taking your time and doing the repair properly, you can completely restore the damaged areas without having to replace the entire doorframe.