How to Repair Hollow Doors

Doesn’t it seem as if holes in hollow doors are inevitable?

Growing up, we’ve probably all had an experience where we’ve either made a hole in the door or just lived with a hole of mystery origins.

Where do these holes come from?

  • Falls – Falls are big culprits. And if you are a parent to siblings who like to roughhouse, you know this one to be true. The game gets a little too intense and someone ends up putting an elbow through one side of the door.
  • Flying objects – If you throw the wrong object with the right intensity, you’ll find out exactly how easy it is to put a hole into a hollow door.

Fortunately, these things are usually easy repairs. But there are times when you may need to replace the door instead.

When to replace instead of repair your door

In all honesty, most holes can be repaired. But before you even begin the process of patching, you’ll want to evaluate whether your door should instead be replaced.

In most cases, it comes down to the structural integrity of the door. Take a close look at the hole. Does it have cracks that extend more than an inch or two beyond the hole? If so, it’s probably best to replace instead of repair this door.

And if the hole itself is more than an inch or two in diameter, you’re probably going to want to replace the entire door.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how to repair those smaller holes.

A small hole in a hollow door can be patched in one of three ways, depending on the door and the supplies available.

We’re going to cover each of these ways, but first, let’s prepare the door itself. Regardless of the method you use for patching, the prep phase is the same.

How to prepare your hollow door for repair

With a sharp utility knife or chisel, cut away any splinters you see to form a solid edge. This step is crucial to ensure your patch attaches firmly to the door.

Feel free to keep the shape freeform because these types of patterns are often less noticeable when patched. An easily recognizable pattern like a square can stand out quite a bit.

Three ways to repair a hole in a hollow door

Are you ready for some simple repair work that will make a major difference in the look of your room? You can patch that small hole in one of three ways. Choose one of the following and get to work!

Spray Foam Insulation

The first method that can be used is to fill the hole with spray foam insulation. The insulation will slowly expand inside of the hole and then cure into a solid substance. The floor should be protected with a drop cloth or newspaper since the spray insulation is likely to leak at some point. Any cured insulation that is sticking out of the hole can be scraped away with a knife or chisel. The surface can then be sanded down until it is level with the door.

Metal Drywall Patches

Another option is to purchase metal drywall patches that are self-adhesive. These are fine metal meshes. The mesh can be cut so that it is just a little larger than the hole in the door. The patch is applied and allowed to cure. The patch will create a good base for a final coat of wood putty.

Using Putty to Hide the Repair

Both spray insulation and drywall patches can be hidden by applying a layer of stainable wood putty. The putty should be spread across the patch and allowed to cure before being sanded flat. The putty can then be stained or primed and painted. This is an effective way to hide the repair so that it is less noticeable.

Veneer Patches

Veneer doors can be patched differently. It is possible to carefully cut away a small portion of the veneer around the prepared hole. A template can be made of the shape. A patch is then cut from a new piece of matching veneer. The patch can be glued into place with wood glue. The door patch can be sanded around the edges and then stained to match the finish of the door.

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