Monday, July 7, 2014

DIY Front Door Repair

My latest summer DIY project was our front door. (Originally, I wanted it to be our kitchen floor, but there may be asbestos issues, i.e., $$$ and we're still paying for the new porch.)

Instead, the front door started falling apart, and it became our fix-it-quick-before-it's-ruined project. Our front door is as old as our house. Almost 100 or 80 years depending on who you believe--the records aren't accurate. And the panels of the door had begun separating. Getting a new door wasn't really much of an option since it would mean serious money because our door is not standard.

So my husband Cal and I enlisted my dad's help. And these. Cinching straps and really long screws--6 inches long. They used the cinching straps and brute strength to pull the door together. Then they drilled an opening for the screws (not the full 6 inches, of course) and countersunk it. Afterwards, they put in the screws to secure it. (Thanks, Dad!)

After the door was secure, we used fiberglass filler to patch cracks in the door. Cal sanded the fiberglass. That takes more muscle than I've got, and he can do it before I can find and plug in the sander.

Here's the door primed.

(Sorry, no photo of the door in its original state. I always forget to take "before" photos. Just imagine a door warped and separated and you'll get the idea.)

We filled the screw holes with dowels and then covered those with more fiberglass patch. Here's what the side of the door looked like before sanding, priming and painting.

Pink stuff is the fiberglass patch.
Then, I painted. Here's the finished product, which went from medium gray to red.

Now, back to editing. 


  1. what an undertaking! a beautiful old house like that would require extreme diy care! the door is gorgeous! surely you could be featured on a diy show - great work!

    and thanks for commenting on my broken branch falls blog tour!

  2. Awesome restoration work. Definitely not a "standard" door. I can only imagine how expensive a custom replacement would be--eek. The curved top is so charming, though! I love it when homeowners are able to keep original historic details. We've tried to restore some to one of the rooms in our house (also build sometime between 1900-1915; the records are unclear) that previous owners had stripped of its wood trim and bull's eye molding. My hubby was even able to find an antique cast-iron cover for the heating duct. Those little touches make a big difference.

  3. Thanks, Misha, Tara, and Laurel.

    I really do love restoration work. I think of all the years the house has survived and the lives lived in its sheltering walls. It makes me feel connected to the past.

  4. Oh, it's beautiful!!! I love the shape, and OH! That color! Just beautiful.

  5. so beautiful door
    You asked for comments and follow my blog

  6. Oh, I love the door! Red doors are my favorites :) Our poor old house has had its share of abuse over the years, so I know how great the feeling is when you can restore something!

  7. What a nice DIY accomplishment! Your newly-restored door brings a fresh feeling to your entire house. I like its color! You really did a great fantastic job! Thanks for sharing!

    Helene Raymond @ Trade Squad

  8. As the only son in the family, I used to be tagged for these sort of repairs. The sanding always seems to take forever, but hand-sanding is better than having dust all over the house. Using dowels to cover the screws was a great idea, and I will keep it in mind if I ever have to repair another door.