Fix a kicked-in door?
September 23, 2005 6:54 AM   Subscribe

I had to kick down a door in my apartment since it was locked from the inside. I'm not handy; step-by-step instructions for repairing damage to the door and frame?

The door to my bedroom has a twist-lock knob on the inside, and a keyhole knob (no pinhole release) on the outside--I've never had a key. The inevitable happened and the door got pulled shut with nobody inside. I've never been good at lockpicking, so I wound up kicking the door to get in.

The wood around the lock in the door is pretty splintered, but no pieces are missing. The bit in the frame is still in place too, but a little out-of-whack.

Instructions for fixing the damage?
posted by CaptApollo to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
How to. The cheap way or the right way.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:14 AM on September 23, 2005

How bad is it? I had a similar experience, only with a bathroom door with an ill-timed death of the door knob as someone was dieing inside so we had to kick it open. However, a bucket of paint and some wood filler later, landlords never even knew it happened. Any chance you could paint over splintered part and glue it back together in a manner that the landlords wouldn't notice on checkout?
posted by jmd82 at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2005

For like a hundred bucks you can buy a prehung hollow core door and pop it into place.

A fairly easy, though ugly IMO, way to fix a kicked in door is to buy a brass or stainless reinforcement plate to cover up the damage.

You'd still have to deal with the jamb. Depending on the damage a reinforced strike might be all you'd need.
posted by Mitheral at 9:12 AM on September 23, 2005

PS: While you've got the lockset out you can take it to any locksmith and they can make a key fairly cheap. Or just swap out the lockset for a bath/bed set and then swap it back when you move out.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2005

Sorry I missed the step-by-step.

To install a prehung door.
Tools: required: hammer, nailset, prybar (small and medium), Level or plumb bob. An extra person or two can be handy.

Supply: In addition to the new door you'll need some medium size finish nails, some small finishing nails and a few wedges.

1) Remove existing door:
Remove casing around door with pry bar. Remove lockset (two screws from inside) Drive pins out of door hinges and remove door. Pry or otherwise remove door jamb from rough openning.

2) Install new door:
Set new door in rough openning. Make sure if there is a screw or nail securing the handle side of the door to the jamb that you remove it at this time if you won't be able to get it out after. Use the wedges, one from each side and three places on each side, to level the door in the rough openning. The wedges should be placed at hinges and door latch locations. Check level both directions and at each side. Sometimes the wall will be so out of whack you won't be able to level it and still get it to line up with the wall, do the best that you can. Once you've got one side done (I always do the hinge side first) secure the door to the rough openning by nailing thru the jamb and the wedges with a single nail each. Don't set the nails until you've got all six driven in just in case you have to remove them. Make sure you don't squeeze the bottom of the door such that you can't open the door. Install lockset. Reinstall casing using the smaller finishing nails. It's the casing that really holds in interior door in place.

Installing the door reinforcement plate is buck easy. Remove the lockset. Place the reinforcer so that the large hole in the door and the plate line up. Screw the plate on. Install lockset.

Installing the jamb reinforcer isn't much harder but you'll need to work away with a chisel and hammer until you have sufficient clearance in the jamb to make the plate flush with the jamb.
posted by Mitheral at 10:33 AM on September 23, 2005

Response by poster: These are all great! I think a reinforced jamb will cover the damage on the doorframe. I'm noticing this has clearly happened before; there is a gouged-out, painted-over area above the current jamb.

The damage to the door doesn't seem bad enough to replace the whole thing (its actually a nice, solid wood, paneled number). It's just sort of pulled apart along the grain of the wood between the knob and edge of the door.

Maybe if I invest in some clamps I could slather it with wood glue along the edge, getting in between the fibers, then put a shingle (or something) on either side of the door and clamp those down to evenly apply pressure to the distressed area, and thus reshape it. A little filler, sanding, and a coat of paint... Does this sound wise?

Good advice on getting a key!
posted by CaptApollo at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2005

You can use a syringe to force glue into the cracks of the door. Use a decent wood glue like Weldbond or Titebond. If the bolt is secured by screws the screw holes are going to be all messed up. The best fix in a quick repair is after you have the door all glued together to drill out the screw holes and glue in a couple dowels. You then have good wood to screw into. The would probably be plenty strong for an interior door.

A shingle is kind of thin, I'd use a couple short pieces of 2X4s. Two 6" c-clamps should be all you need, three if your feeling generous or the crack is extensive.

A better repair would be to cut a shallow mortice, say 3/4" or 1" deep, 2/3rds the thickness of the door and then glue in a tenon/plug. You then need to redrill the hole for the bolt. This is a good way to repair a solid door but it is a swack load of chisel work and you need to be able to thickness the replacement piece. I'm guessing you don't have a block plane or jointer or table saw.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 PM on September 23, 2005

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