How to Fix Cracked Wooden Doors

When working on a DIY project, sometimes the quickest way isn’t always the best way.

Today I’m going to share how to fix the cracks in your wooden doors the right way. Follow along with me:

Filling Cracks in Wood Doors

  refinishing orange county

One thing that often comes up is how to fill cracks in wood – especially exterior wood. Wood expands and contracts. It’s a natural phenomenon and that’s what causes the breakdown of exterior finishes because the coating becomes brittle and weak over time by the sun and it’s UV rays. As you can see in this door, an open joint is exposed.

Add Glue to the Open Joint

refinish doors

The first step to fixing the open joint is to add glue to the area, making sure it does not seep out around the edges. Put tape down to minimize glue getting into the grain.

Repair with the Dutchman Method

The perpendicular angles are usually the most common cracks on doors and the best way to repair this is to use what the old school finish carpenters called a “Dutchan”. A Dutchman is actually a sliver of wood that is glued into the crack itself.


After applying glue, follow these steps to complete the Dutchman repair:


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how to fix woodtrim excess wood
The wood will expand and contract like the surrounding woods and the finish is less likely to fail at that place again. The issue of cracks usually is dealt with by just putting some putty in it and sanding and coating over it. Most of the time with smaller cracks, that’s never an issue; but cracks that are the result from two pieces of wood glued together at right angles and are wider than 1/16″ or so are more problematic because the wood is expanding and contracting contrary to one another rather than with each other. Putty or body filler doesn’t have this flexibility. This process is best for cracks in the panels too but more difficult to do because of the random nature of a crack itself.

After the glue dries, sand flush.

Final Result – Like New Door

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If done properly, the wood will blend in with the other wood and not be an obvious repair. Hope you enjoyed this quick how-to. If you’re interested in getting more advice or a quick consultation over the phone, please call me at (949) 939-2340.