How to Repair an Entry Door Frame
You don’t have to be reselling your home to create an eye-catching curb appeal. The face of your home resides in your entry door, and many homeowners overlook this small feature but it speaks volumes for the rest of the home. Your front door sets the tone of your home’s personality, but if it’s crumbling and falling apart, then your message to anyone walking by is that your home is on the side of unkempt and aging.
Common issues with entry doors involve the door frame itself, which can be prone to rotting, breaking and damage, especially on the exterior because of the continued exposure to moisture. Stepping across the threshold to the inside of your home, you may not notice wood rot and water damage on the exterior frame, but once you do, it’s hard to not take note of it every time you pass through the entry door.
Your future self and your home will thank you when you get around to accomplishing this simple do-it-yourself project. You’ll come to find that simple care for the entry door frame can go a long way: increasing the value of your home, your curb appeal, and when the time comes, making reselling your home a much easier process.
When you plan ahead for this project, your final bill shouldn’t be much more than $100, which is certainly not bad for renovating a door frame that’ll transform the look of your entryway.
The area of focus will likely be at the bottom of the exterior door’s frame due to this section being a convenient spot for moisture to gather and linger, infusing into the wood over time. If you find that your entry door has rot in this location, it’s probably due to the failure of the caulking seam. In this project, you’ll be adding a new seam of caulking to secure the frame against moisture.
A door frame has four parts: left jamb, right jamb, header, and sill. The door jambs are fastened to the sill, but if the door frame is looking worse for wear, they probably aren’t secured. First, address the wood rot.
It probably doesn’t look that bad, but grab your wood chisel or a flat-head screwdriver and begin digging in the rotted spot. You’ll discover here that looks can be deceiving, and you might end up having to dig out a good portion of wood to clear the way.
For Serious Wood Rot and Jamb Replacement
If the moisture has seeped into the jamb and you find that wood filler or Bondo won’t cut it to fill in the large hole, then you might have to replace the jamb entirely. If this scenario applies to you, then you’ll want to start by ripping out the old weather stripping. If you’ve never replaced the weather stripping on your door before, it’s probably about time to do so anyway.
Get out an a utility knife and slice any caulking seams that are in the way. Next, you’ll make a mark several inches above the rotted section to indicate where to cut with your saw blade. Take note of any nail heads that might be in this section of the jamb or you could damage your tools.
Use an oscillating multi-tool with a saw blade attachment to cut the door jamb, making several straight-in cuts where you marked on the jamb with your pencil. You don’t have to be a master woodcutter here. Your tool will be generous with your movements so your cuts don’t have to be totally precise.
Clean Up Around the Entry Frame
Now, it’s time for a bit of cleanup. If you have an older home, there may be some rusty staples that will require your needle nose pliers to yank out. Use your wood chisel or screwdriver to scrape away any additional wood rot that may still exist. Vacuum the surface to remove any debris from the wood rot removal so you have a clear area to work with.
Check the condition of the wood brickmolding, the exterior casing that encompasses the door on the outside. There’s a high chance that if you have wood rot on your door jamb, there will also be a presence on the brickmolding, too. You’ll have to take out the rotted brickmolding in order to install a new jamb splice anyway.
This step can be done before sawing out the damaged door jamb section and for some scenarios, it can make it easier to wriggle out the door jamb piece. Brickmolding can be pried off with a claw hammer or any tool you have with some leverage to it.
Get New Door Jambs
Most houses, fortunately, have standard size door jambs and you can find kits sold at your local hardware store that sell a three-piece set with the left and right jambs plus the header. You’ll notice that exterior jambs are beveled slightly, as this is to accommodate for the slope of the sill plate. This is something to pay attention to so you don’t grab the wrong jamb for whatever side of the door frame you’re repairing.
Use a miter saw to make a precise cut off of the end of the new door jamb. Because door jambs are shimmed during their original installation in order to align the frame correctly, your new repair piece will initially look out of place when it’s installed. You can use a wedge shape shim or self-stick flashing tape to shim your new jamb section. Now, secure the jamb splice with a few brad nails or finishing nails.
Smooth Out the Entry Door Frame
Your final touches will require you to grab a sanding block to smooth out the repaired piece, blending it into the rest of the jamb. It’s still going to look like a noticeable repair, but that’s okay because now you can use an expanding foam product to fill in the gaps. You should pick up an expanding foam that is designed for windows and doors because it’s minimally expanding and won’t over-flow on your hard work.
Your new brickmolding should be relatively easy to replace. You can purchase new lengths at your hardware store and cut them to fit your door frame by using a compound miter saw. Make it easy on yourself and use the old pieces of brickmolding as your guide. Use brad nails to secure the new brickmolding into place on the door frame’s exterior.
Now You Know How to Repair an Entry Door Frame
If there’s one thing you’ve learned while doing door frame repair on your entry door, it’s that moisture is often to blame for all of this damage you’ve had to dig out and replace. A big reason why moisture seeps in and rots the wood frame is because the caulking seal failed.
So, when re-caulking the door frame, make sure you purchase caulking rated for exterior purposes to ensure durability against outer elements and resistance against moisture. Caulk between the sill and the jamb, and then caulk the length of the new brickmolding you have installed.
Finally, all you have left to do is to install new weather stripping. Pick up a weather stripping kit at your hardware store, including door corner seals and cut them to length for your entry door frame.
When it’s all said and done, your entry door’s frame will look brand new!
Replace Your Entry Door
Similar to your vehicle, your entry door ages and depreciates. Once you notice that your entry door does a poor job with keeping out the weather then it’s time for a replacement. Consider Feldco, we have a variety of styles and finishes available.