The side door of my garage is a 32 x 80 wood door, and there's no storm
door to protect it from the weather. So the bottom has rotted out, and
in one picture you can see some ripples in the upper part which may just
be paint - not sure about that yet.
Anyway, I wondered if I could set my saw to a depth of maybe 3/16 inch
and saw across roughly where the tape residue is shown in the pictures,
and glue in a placement piece of wood. Then I would fill with some kind
of filler from the bottom to fill any void, then finish with another
strip of new wood on the bottom. Then finish off with heavy duty primer
and several coats of paint.
It appears the only practical alternative is a prehung metal door which
Home Despot will install for me for around $400. Of course they would
also sell me a replacment wood door, with all the routing done and holes
drilled per my measurements, for about $150 plus delivery, but, you know,
if I'm gonna install a new door, I think I'd rather it not be a wood
Well what guidance would you give me about this? Is it silly to try to
"repair" the existing door?
Thanks for any comments or suggestions.
It looks like you have a hollow core door that was
never meant for exterior use. It should be replaced
with something that is for exterior. A pine panel door
would be OK, but you have to watch out for those.
Some of the newer ones are glued up from scrap and
veneered on the surface. They don't hold up well.
You can probably get a 32x80 slab (no frame) for
| Well what guidance would you give me about this? Is it silly to try to
| "repair" the existing door?
Probably. Not because the idea is bad but because
you have nothing to repair. It's just junk veneer on
a junk frame. If it were actually wood you could glue
a new piece onto the bottom.
Is it a detached garage? Is the door visible to neighbors? How much do
you care about the appearance?
The door looks like a cheap door with a plywood veneer. It is possible
to do a patch job if you have the tools and time. Half a day you can
cut the bottom off and graft on a 2 x 10 and sheet of 1/4" plywood to
get by a few more years. It will probably be visible though.
If you want a really nice job, a new wood door will do it.
Ed Pawlowski says...
> Is it a detached garage? Is the door visible to
> neighbors? How much do you care about the appearance?
It's an attached garage. The door is on the side of the
house, behind a privacy fence, so it really doesn't matter
what it looks like.
> If you want a really nice job, a new wood door will do
Ok, so my assumption was wrong that the main problem is
that the existing door is wood. It appears from what
everyone is saying that an actual solid wood exterior door,
properly primed and painted, would hold up pretty well. The
existing door is just the wrong kind of door.
I just have major misgivings about changing out the entire
frame. On the outside there is stone half way up the door,
and above the stone is some particle board siding that's
pretty fragile. But the frame and hinges are still really
solid. So I'd hate to have to change out the frame when the
only reason for doing so is to allow me to use a steel door.
As someone mentioned, I think HD would sell me a solid wood
exterior door for around $80, but I don't have the gear (a
router, for example) or the experience to cut the hinge
mortises, or the holes for the hardware. But the guy gave
me a price of $150 for which they would do all the cuts. I
would just have to measure everything VERY carefully. Then
all that would be left for me to do is mount the hinges and
hardware, and hang the door, plus of course priming and
So with delivery that would probably cost me $200, which is
still half what they would charge to install a pre-hung
steel door for me, and it would leave the framing intact.
If that door would hold up to the weather, maybe that's the
best way to go. I assume there would be no veneer that
I guess the only remaining question is whether the solid
wood door would be too heavy. But you know, the existing
door is really heavy itself - maybe a lot of particle board
or plywood or whatever inside. So maybe the solid door
would even be lighter than the current one. I know that the
lid of my Yamaha grand piano, which is plywood, is a lot
heavier than the same size Steinway lid, which is made of
planks butted together. I guess all that glue is really heavy.
Thanks for everyone's comments.
If your door is heavy it is not likely that it is a hollow core door; more
likely, a solid core door with thin plywood skins on each side. You can
check by drilling a small hole maybe 5" from any edge. If that is the case
and if it is at least 1 3/8" thick it is code compliant for garage/home
separation which means you can repair it if you want to. And a repair is
1. Scrape/cut/sand off the lifted/loose areas of the plywood, including the
2. Skim coat those areas with auto body filler (Bondo).
3. Sand the filled areas flush and smooth
4. Prime & paint.
> If your door is heavy it is not likely that it is a
> hollow core door; more likely, a solid core door with
> thin plywood skins on each side. You can check by
> drilling a small hole maybe 5" from any edge. If that is
> the case and if it is at least 1 3/8" thick it is code
> compliant for garage/home separation which means you can
> repair it if you want to.
Well, it's not a garage/home separation door. It's an
exterior door to the garage. In any case, the door is
actually 1 5/8" thick, which may mean there's something
there to repair. Well, there's nothing to be lost, except a
little of my time, to remove the bad parts and see what's
> 2. Skim coat those areas with auto body filler (Bondo).
That's an interesting idea, and certainly cost effective.
Thanks very much.
Rather than using Bondo, consider MINWAX Wood Filler. It requires a
hardener like Bondo, but is intended for applications like yours. I'm
not sure but it may be less expensive than Bondo.
Also consider that wood rot is caused by an organism. As long as you
repair or replace with wood, the rot will return. Prior to priming, it
would help to treat the wood with something that will kill the organism.
One thing that is reported to work well is ethylene glycol automotive
coolant. I suggest treating the wooden frame as well.
My guess is that interior doors don't normally
get wet. So, they can use cheaper glue. Exterior
doors (like exterior plywood) need water proof
glue. Just a SWAG.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
As others have said, you've got an interior hollow-core door at an
exterior location. The veneer has failed (including the upper area,
that's glue failure and veneer lifting from the substrate you see) and
there's only a thin skin under the surface veneer and the rest is simply
a cardboard honeycomb inside. It's essentially not repairable for any
reasonable amount of repair.
You've got the alternatives; the door replacement of a prefab metal
isn't that much of a trick if you have at least some ability and the
minimum of tools.
My last home, built in 1971, had this exact same problem. An interior
hollow core door used as attached garage outside access door, which
was seldom actually used. In about 2001, I cutoff the bottom half
panel and replaced it with a piece of Masonite, glued and nailed in
place. Caulked the upper edge, and painted 2 coats. Still looked OK
ten years later when I sold house.
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