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The Home Depot

Affordable Ways to Fix a Broken Front Door

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Door & Window > Affordable Ways to Fix a Broken Front Door
Affordable Ways to Fix a Broken Front Door

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 131,704,730 housing units throughout the nation, and at one time or another, the entry doors of each one will have some sort of an issue. Whether it's a lock that doesn't operate properly, a hinge that squeaks, or a door that sticks, homeowners having entry door problems are hardly alone in their plight.


Unlike some other issues, a malfunctioning or otherwise broken front door can affect every member of a household multiple times a day. Additionally, the front door is the very first thing that family and friends see when they visit. A broken front door can take many forms, and each can be a real nuisance. There are, however, several fixes for ailing front doors that can get them functioning again affordably and quickly, too.

  1. 1.Doors that Stick

    Doors that are operating properly and show no signs of warping can still be drafty due to old weather-stripping that is no longer functioning as it should.

    There are a ton of reasons why a front door sticks, but they all boil down to one simple diagnosis: friction between the door and its surroundings. This friction may be due to expansion caused by warm temperatures or high moisture levels. It may also be caused by hinges that have loosened, house frames that have settled, top or bottom rails that are rubbing, or any number of other scenarios. In a nutshell, though, something on the door is rubbing against something else. To identify where the offending rub is occurring, take a piece of cardboard and run it around the perimeter of the closed door. When the cardboard sticks, you'll have found your offending area.


    Once you know where the door is rubbing, the fix is finding a way to eliminate the friction in that area. Often, securing hinges tightly, sanding and sealing areas of friction, or screwing in jambs, thresholds, casings, or frames more securely will fix the problem for next to nothing.

  2. 2.Knobs that Won't Turn or Are Very Difficult to Turn

    Knobs that stick aren't just a nuisance; they can also be a safety issue. Many times – especially when dealing with mechanisms that are a few years old – locks and latches are simply lacking the lubricant necessary to function smoothly. A screwdriver and a can of spray lubricant can often fix the problem in a matter of minutes.

  3. 3.Cracked Wood Doors

    After years of exposure, older wooden doors – like any wood left exposed to the elements – can develop cracks along the grain. Here, a filler that can be sanded (wood putty or even auto-body filler) can be used to fill in the crack. Once it dries, it can be sanded down and painted over, leaving little to no trace.

  4. 4.Drafty Doors

    Doors that are operating properly and show no signs of warping can still be drafty due to old weather-stripping that is no longer functioning as it should. Ten bucks will buy you a roll of cell-closed vinyl foam tape that is easy to apply and will work wonders on gaps that are one quarter inch or smaller.

  5. 5.Replacing Warped Doors

    Okay, this one's not cheap. However, once a door becomes severely warped by age, moisture fluctuations, and changing temperatures, there's really no other good alternative. Pre-hung doors are readily available at any home-improvement center, and the options available today contain units that are of much higher quality than those available years ago. For many homeowners, though, the function and curb appeal that can be brought by a higher-end entry door is worth spending a little more money on. An experienced craftsman who specializes in doors is not likely to come cheap, but the finished product will be a front door that will last as long as the house itself and look good doing it as well.

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