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How to Repair a Rotten Door Frame

Most exterior door frames are made of wood, and this means that they are vulnerable to damage from the elements. You can prolong the life of your door frames by treating them with a weather proof paint or varnish periodically, but even frames that are well cared for will eventually start to rot or decay.

Usually, moisture damage occurs towards the bottom of the door frame. If you leave that rotten wood in place then the damage can spread to other parts of the frame and become a security threat. For this reason, it is important to replace damaged or rotten wood as soon as you notice the problem. You Will Need:
  • A screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • An old blanket
  • Some books or wooden blocks
  • Replacement wood
Fixing A Rotten Frame 1. Before you can fix a rotten door frame you must first identify exactly how much of the frame is damaged. You can do this by pressing against the wood with the end of your screwdriver. If the screwdriver sinks into the wood easily then it is rotten. Look for signs of mould or insect damage, and test the wood carefully. Once you have found the highest point that is damaged, mark a line two inches above that point. You should remove all wood below that line. 2. If you’re lucky, you will be able to replace the damaged wood with an identically designed frame from a local home improvement store. If your frame is an unusual design, you will need to order a like-for-like replacement from the builder. Obtain the replacement wood before you start taking the frame to pieces, and make sure that you have enough wood, and it’s a good fit. 3. To remove the frame, take the door off its hinges, and place it flat on the floor on top of your blanket. Do not store your door upright, because this can cause it to warp. If necessary, use a stack of old books to support the door so that the handles don’t get damaged. 4. If the latch plate for the door is screwed into a part of the frame that is damaged or rotten, remove it now and put it somewhere safe. 5. Cut into the door frame across the line that you made, and then carefully pry the rotten wood off the wall. Test the frame again to make sure that you have removed all of the rotten wood. 6. Measure the wood that you have removed, and cut the new frame to match that length. 7. Before fitting the replacement frame, apply a generous coat of waterproof primer to both sides of the wood, and the ends. Let it dry, and then fit it into place and secure it with nails or screws as appropriate. 8. Sand any flaking or peeling paint off the old frame, and paint the old and new frame so that they match each other. Apply wood putty to the area where the old and new frame meet, and sand and paint them so that the match is seamless, then re-hang the door once the frame has dried.