Keep your door a welcoming, unmarred entrance to your home.

How to Repair A Crack Down the Side of a Wooden Front Door

by Eric Jonas

While a wooden door can add elegance, character and charm to the entranceway of your home, an unsightly crack can mar the visual appeal quickly and stand out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately, cracks in wood can be a very common occurrence, but with a little patience and elbow grease, you can restore the door to its former glory so it can greet your guests with its old-fashioned style once again.

Locate and identify the type of screw heads that are used to secure the door to the hinges. Remove the screws with the corresponding screwdriver. Place the screws in a safe location to keep them out of little hands and ready for later.

Place the door on a workbench or sawhorses in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Put on a dust mask and sand the door with medium-grit sandpaper or an orbital sander to remove the paint or stain on the entire section of the door with the crack. For example, if the crack is on the side of the door’s face, the entire face of the door must be sanded. If the crack runs down the side of the door that holds the hinges, then the entire hinge side needs to be sanded.

Vacuum all of the dust and debris off of the door.

Sand the area inside as gently as you can. The goal is to remove any surface rot or dirt to allow glue to adhere without removing any more wood than necessary. Vacuum the area and dust it with a lint-free rag.

Apply wood glue into the crack to fill the crack most of the way. Apply clamps on either side of the door against the direction of the crack to force the cracked wood back together. Wipe off any glue that protrudes from the wood, pressing down firmly to allow a small opening for wood filler to go on top without sticking out of the wood. Allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions -- generally 24 hours.

Spread a little wood filler into the opening and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use wood filler that is the same wood species as the door. For example, if the door is made from maple, use maple wood filler.

Sand the wood filler down until it is flush with the door and there are no visible signs of the crack.

Apply the paint or stain and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use the same paint or stain that has been applied to the rest of the door to blend in your repair project.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver
  • Workbench or sawhorses
  • Dust mask
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital sander (optional)
  • Vacuum
  • Lint-free rag
  • Wood glue
  • Wood clamps
  • Wood filler
  • Wood paint or stain


  • Be careful when sanding with an orbital sander because it can sand unevenly if even coverage and pressure is not maintained. Also, the power sanders can end up damaging the cracked area, so always pay close attention when using them.
  • For exterior doors, be sure that the paint or stain is suitable for outdoor use.


  • If using power tools such as an orbital sander outdoors, make sure that you are using a GFCI outlet or GFCI protected electrical cord.


  • Understanding Wood: A Craftsman's Guide to Wood Technology; R. Bruce Hoadley
  • Wood Finishing 101: The Step-by-Step Guide; Bob Flexner

About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images