How To Repair a Rotten Door Frame

Repairing a Rotten Door Frame:

The strength and security of a door are only as solid as the frame it is in. One of the most common causes for an entrance requiring a new door is due to rotten wood. This occurs wherever the frame is constantly in contact with water. Obviously it is therefore most common at the bottom of the frame where standing water may collect due to drainage issues. However, it does occur where drain pipes are poorly directed or overflow regularly so that other areas of the frame are constantly damp or wet; all causing the problem of the rotten door frame.

rotten door frameMany people believe that once a door frame has rotted it should be replaced in its entirety but if the rot is caught early enough this isn't necessarily the case (therefore freeing up some cash to spend on a lovely new oak door!).

Where the frame has suffered rot it will be too damaged for any treatment and must be cut out of the frame and new wood put in its place to prevent the rot spreading. Of course it is paramount that the door and door frame should be properly treated and maintained at installation using the correct treatment products such as Hardwax Oils from Treatex or Impranol treatments for external doors but if you have a rotten door frame where the from rot is in small patches then we have a step by step guide to help remove the rot.

Rotten door frame repair - Things you will need:- hammer, screwdriver, suitable replacement wood, sandpaper, nails or screws, tape measure, wood primer, chosen exterior wood coating to match frame, wood putty, pencil.

Step 1 – Discover the Source of the Water Causing the Problem

There's no point fixing the rotten door frame unless you address the issues causing the water to affect the door in the first place. If the door frame is over ten years old then the rot may be due to a lack of maintenance rather than a specific drainage problem.

Step 2 – Inspect the Frame

Carefully assess how much of the frame has been affected. Press into the wood to look for 'give' which will show problems deeper inside the wood that are not apparent on the surface. Draw a pencil line two inches above the top of the rot (if addressing rot at the base of the frame which is most common). This ensures all rotten wood will be removed from affected area plus a small 'safety barrier' of healthy door frame.

Step 3 – Remove Rotten Wood

After removing the door if affected area is on the hinge side, carefully cut along the line previously marked. If further rotten wood is discovered when cutting the frame then repeat steps 3 and 4 until all rotten wood has been removed plus a further 2 inches of frame from the rot. Carefully pry out the cut section and measure the size of the gap with the tape measure. Then mark out the exact size on the replacement frame material and cut out precisely. Then treat the replacement frame part with wood primer and also the exposed wood on the frame where the old rotten part was removed.

Step 4 – Fit New Frame Part

Depending on the thickness of the original frame use either wood glue to stick new frame part in place or screws. Wood glue should be applied to the old frame on the lower face that comes in to contact with the upper face of the new frame part (basically where old and new parts meet). In order to seal up any gaps use wood putty and then finish the job by applying the matching paint or waxes or oils to suit the original look of the frame. Sand down and retreat areas to help get a better match between old and new sections of frame.

Hopefully this step by step guide will allow you to prolong the life of your frame and save you some cash. However, if you do feel that it is past saving (or if DIY really isn't your thing) then consider purchasing a solid oak door frame as a replacement that is sure to last for a very long time.

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