Door frames are the true entrances into homes and workspaces, as they house the actual doors and other entryway parts like jambs, hinges, and weather stripping. Because they house so many door parts, a lot of things can go wrong with a door frame, including cracking, rotting, burglary, and everyday wear-and-tear. Here are just some methods on how to fix a door frame after one or many forms of damage have occurred.

How to Fix a Door Frame Crack

When fixing a door frame with a large crack, pull the hardware out of the doorknob assembly to get to all parts of the frame that need attention. If the frame itself is repairable and doesn't need to be replaced, you should be able to reach everything you need to get to without removing the door.
  • After removing the doorknob, remove any wood fragments and splinters so the frame is completely clean and free of debris.
  • Next, open the door all the way so it's perpendicular to the frame. Now you're ready to apply wood filler or wood-safe glue to the crack or cracks.
  • Once filler or glue goes as deeply into the crack as possible, secure the frame with two to four wood clamps. The door will need to remain open while the clamps are in place.
  • Remove wood clamps 12–24 hours after applying the filler or glue (depending on how long it takes to dry according to individual instructions).
  • Now you can remove clamps and investigate where the crack was — you should barely be able to see where the crack was when this process is done correctly.
  • The next step will be to sand down and repaint or refinish door frame wood as needed. Use instructions based on the type of wood and finish you use, as sandpaper grades and other details will differ.

How to Fix a Rotting Door Frame

If rotting is only occurring on the door jamb, casing, and other surface-level places attached to the frame, you can pull off pieces and replace simply with new casing. However, for a seriously rotting door frame, the only appropriate fix is to replace — otherwise it will likely continue to rot and could later become a larger structural issue.

To replace a door frame, follow these steps:

Choose whether you want to build a new door frame or buy one that’s ready-made. In the case of the former, you’ll have to hand-make your frame from raw materials. While this can be a better choice for some homeowners, it’s generally simpler, faster, and in many cases cheaper to buy a door frame that’s ready to install.
  • If you have a one-of-a-kind or other expensive door, remove it from the existing frame that needs replacing due to wood rot. Set the door safely aside while you install the new door frame.
  • Because a door frame arrives as one-size-fits-all, be prepared to cut the frame at the base to fit the appropriate height. Where you make adjustments to height may not be the same on all sides if the floor is not level — in this case it’s up to you to make the floor of the door frame level.
  • Next, pull the frame out of the box it came in and remove any internal packing materials, including all of the packaging trim and other shipping hardware that won't have a place in the home.
  • Because the new frame will not likely be the exact same size as the last frame, you'll have to plumb and shim just as if it were new. After you are sure your existing door will fit in the new frame, slide it into place in the opening where the old frame was removed. If you can, slide the frame into the door opening. Look where the fit is too tight and carefully trim away drywall as needed.
  • Now you’re ready to install your existing door into the new frame; as you do this ensure when the door opens and closes on the hinges that it isn’t hitting the frame anywhere on the doorknob side.
  • As long as all else is well, you can now begin to fix any drywall and paint that was damaged during the installation.

How to Fix a Door Frame That’s Been Broken Into or Kicked In

Typically, when a door is kicked in, the frame sustains its share of damage, especially the side where the knob enters the wood. That said, a kicked-in door is hardly the end of its frame, and the following steps will help with this simple door repair.
  • While standing on the interior side of the door (in the bedroom, bathroom, etc. rather than the hallway or open area) insert the putty knife into the casing on the side of the frame the doorknob is closest to.
  • Pull away the door jamb from the door casing with the knife wherever it's still attached by nails or glue.
  • You may have to remove splinters and debris with your hands where it's still stuck to the door, especially if the door remains closed or locked to this point in the process.
  • Next, remove any nails in the way on all sides of the door carefully using pliers so as not to injure the hands.
  • If the striker plate is still in place and there is a crack underneath it, remove it from the door jamb.
  • Next, use your hands to pull the frame back into its original position and then clean away any newly uncovered splinters and wood debris. To clear away wood pieces that are small or out of reach using the tip of your putty knife or other small instrument.
  • Ensure any hardware in the door case or elsewhere on the frame is out of the way, then apply wood glue anywhere there is a crack making sure goes as deeply into the cracks as possible. Use wood clamps to close the cracks (now filled with glue).
  • Clean away all dripping glue or where glue is bulging out of the cracks after clamps have been closed. If you forget this step, you'll have large unsightly glue stains that stand up like ridges all down the edges of the jamb and casing.
  • 12–24 hours after applying glue, remove the wood clamps, then use the tip of your putty knife to scrape off any glue that may have been overlooked previously.
  • Before reapplying the strike plate, make sure mortise (the shallow indent in the door casing) hasn't been foreshortened or made too narrow by the damage or the repair.
  • If all looks well, use finish nails to hammer the door casing back in place unless the casing was also damaged. If this is the case, either measure the height of your door frame and have a new casing measured and cut at the hardware store or cut your own casing replacement at home. You can remove damaged casing by simply using a hammer and crowbar to pry the old casing off. This can save money if only one part of casing needs to be replaced.
  • Now you’re ready to open and close the door again to ensure everything meets up in all the right places. Fix any lingering issues and your job is done!