Hanging seasonal decorations with nails can mar doors.

How to Repair Nail Damage to a Wooden Door

by Maria Magher

Your front door is the perfect place to hang a wreath or a piece of art work that one of your kids brought home from school. Yet when you decide to take these items down, you can end up with unsightly holes from the nails or hooks that you used. Repairing these holes is very easy, and you can restore the natural wood finish of your door. Then you can start using adhesive hooks or other non-damaging hanging solutions to protect the door's finish.

Sand the area around the nail hole with a medium-grit sandpaper to remove debris and to even out the surface.

Fill the nail hole with a wood filler. Apply it in thin layers with a putty knife to avoid overfilling the hole and creating a raised area.

Sand the area once the wood filler has completely dried. Use a medium-grit sandpaper to remove excess filler and to flatten raised areas before using a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. Work with the grain of the wood.

Apply a matching wood stain or paint over the filled area. Keep the stain or paint localized to the area of the repair to avoid overlap with the surrounding stain or paint. If the door is an exterior door, make sure you use exterior stain or paint for the repair.

Items you will need

  • Medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Matching stain or paint


  • Buy a wood filler that most closely resembles the stain of your wood so that you won't have to work as hard to match the color when you are staining or painting.


  • For larger areas that need repair, you will need to remove the damaged wood or other debris and fill it with a more sturdy material, such as an epoxy filler.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images