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How To Repair A Hole In An Exterior Door

Do you have an unwanted hole in an exterior door (Figure 1) because you changed a lock, deadbolt, door knobs or handles? You do not have to replace the door, it can be repaired!

holes in exterior door
Figure 1 - Holes in exterior door

It is not uncommon to end up with an unwanted hole in an exterior door because you have replaced the handles or a lock and the holes needed for the new lock or handle set do not match up with the old set.

Depending on where the hole is and what type of aesthetics you are looking for, there are methods to available to repair, hide or cover up that unwanted hole in your exterior door.

trim rosette for door lock
Figure 2 - Trim rosette
door reinforcer
Figure 3 - Door reinforcer
door push plate
Figure 4 - Door push plate

Covering Or Hiding A Hole In An Exterior Door:

In cases where you have a partial unwanted hole due to different positioning of a latch, you may find that a trim rosette, as shown in Figure 2, will cover the unwanted hole portion. Trim rosettes are available in many finishes, sizes and shapes and will actually enhance the overall look of your door.

If the unwanted hole is relatively close to the new lock set you can use a door reinforcer or edge guard as shown in Figure 3. The door reinforcers are made for a the most common door thicknesses, (make sure you purchase the door reinforcer that matches the thickness of your door), with different depths and heights. They also come in a variety of sizes and in a variety of finishes.

You can also use a door push plate, as shown in Figure 4. You will have to use a push plate on both sides of the door in order to cover the unwanted hole. The door lock can be mounted through the push plate if you believe you would end up with a better overall appearance. Door push plates come in a variety of sizes and finishes. Although these are generally sold at the big box home improvement centers you will find a better selection if you go to company that specializes in door hardware.

Note: I recommend that you place some fiberglass insulation or a piece of foam insulation in the hole before you hide or cover it up.

Repairing A Hole In An Exterior Door:

If you cannot conveniently cover or hide the hole, then you are left with little alternative but to plug and/or patch the hole.

Exterior doors can be wood, fiberglass or steel or a combination of those materials.

Repairing A Hole In Exterior Wood Doors:

For wood doors that are solid or when the unwanted hole is in an area of the door that is solid the most effective technique to repair the unwanted hole is to cut a piece of dowel that is the same diameter of the unwanted hole, slightly longer, about 1/32 inch, than the thickness of the door. Use an exterior epoxy to cement the piece of dowel in the hole. The dowel should protrude about 1/64 inch on either side of the door. Once the epoxy sets, sand the dowel and epoxy flush with the door and paint.

Repairing A Hole In Exterior Metal or Fiberglass Doors:

If your exterior door is made of metal or fiberglass the best repair product to use is auto body filler. Auto body fillers are designed to take a lot of punishment and if applied properly, will last as long as the door. Body filler also accepts paint extremely well. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper installation of their product.