How to Fix a Hole In a Wood Door- In 5 Best DIY Wood Repair Tips

Wood doors are typically sturdy and aesthetically pleasing. However, significant holes and deep scratches make the surface look bad and cause structural damage over time. Therefore, a discussion on how to fix a hole in a wood door comes in handy to restore your door’s appealing look.

The easiest method is to utilize a quick expansion filler to fill the hole in a hollow-core door, sand it down, and paint it to match or complement existing colors. On the other hand, you can use string, glue, and putty for solid wood doors.

The good news is that the procedure to fix a hole in your door is short and straightforward. In addition, you only need a few inexpensive supplies and no special skills to make a seamless repair. Read on for more insight.

What Causes Holes On Wood Doors?

Temperature and humidity fluctuations cause lumber to expand and contract, leaving splits on the door’s surface. These cracks grow into huge crevices and holes and compromise the structure’s energy efficiency.

Therefore, it is prudent to spot these cracks and splits early, allowing you to fix them before they ruin the door’s surface. In addition, these flaws are easy to identify and repair, so you have no excuse.

Can You Use Wood Filler to Fix Holes On Wood Doors

Image of wood door finished with the Best Clear Finish for Exterior Wood DoorsIt is okay to use wood filler to fill large and irregular holes on doors. However, it is advisable to mix the paste with a hardener for a more durable result. Trowel the formula into the hole, leave it with a slightly concave center and allow it to dry.

Once the filler hardens, remove the C-clamp and the lumber on the other side of the door. Also, you can stain the wood filler, depending on the product type. Stainable wood fillers receive stain properly and ensure that the repaired area matches the rest of the surface.

Typically, you can also stain water-based wood fillers, but unlike other products in this category, they are more suitable for indoor applications. Main applications include filling dents and scratches in paneling, molding, and cabinetry.

Finally, we have heavy-duty solvent-based wood fillers suitable for outdoor use. They perform excellently on exterior trim and siding.

How Do You Use Wood Filler On a Door?

Hollow-core doors are famous because of their versatility and low-cost attributes, but sometimes, they develop holes. Fortunately, all you need to fill these blemishes are a few tools and some time. 

In addition, you will not need to remove the door from its hinges. And there are two different strategies to try for this job.

Remember that hollow-core doors come from lightweight lumber frames covered with composite veneer. Besides, they hold up to regular wear and tear, but they can develop holes after screwing or when struck by heavy objects.

So to fix a small hole in the door: First, protect the floors by sliding a drop cloth or tarp under the door. Then, cut off any rough edges around the hole using a sharp utility knife. Also, scrunch a small paper towel piece and lightly push it into the hollow part surrounding the hole’s perimeter. 

Choose a hue that compliments or matches the surface and apply the wood filler, allowing some to stick out. Work quickly and spread out the paste as it dries pretty fast. In addition, sand away the excess after confirming it is hard enough.

You can sand the wood again if the imperfection is still visible. Then, wipe it clean and paint the door with your preferred touch-up finish.

The other repair strategy involves using low-expansion aerosol foam insulation. Read the product package instructions before spreading the foam. Also, spray the high-expansion foam wood filler to avoid damaging the door.

Work from the hole’s back and spray the formula slowly. Please note that it starts as a liquid and later expands into foam. Next, confirm that the foam feels rubbery and soft and give it about 15 minutes.

Remove the excess foam with a utility knife and cover the hole with a lightweight auto-body filler. Then, smooth it with a putty knife, allow it to dry, and sand gently with 120-grit sandpaper.

Finally, cover the surface with a slim spackle layer, let it dry to the touch, sand again, wipe the sanding residue, and finish with matching paint.

Nonetheless, regardless of the chosen technique, there are primary tips to adhere to for a professional finish. For instance, you need the correct supplies:

Paper towels, sandpaper, wood filler, low-expansion aerosol foam insulation, door paint, spackle, spatula, putty knife, utility knife, cardboard, lightweight body filler, drop cloth or tarp, and a paintbrush.

Then, follow the steps below.

  • Start by sanding and cleaning the door area in need of repair. Remove loose chunks of flaking paint or wood chunks and smooth any rough edges adjacent to the damaged portion.
  • Wipe away all lingering debris and dust using a moistened tack cloth or a shop vacuum cleaner. If you use a wet cloth, wait for the surface to dry to the touch before proceeding to the next stage.
  • Wood filler is different from the lumber under repair, and the surface may be vulnerable to absorbing the paste’s color. So, protect the exposed wood parts by applying a wood-stained preconditioner.
  • Utilize a putty knife to apply the wood filler. Start with the damaged area’s edge and press the paste into the hole. In addition, overfill slightly as the filler shrinks after drying, and smooth the surface with a putty knife.
  • Allow the filled area to dry completely, following the manufacturer’s directives on the product’s drying time. But, generally, it ranges between 15 minutes to eight hours, depending on the depth of the application.
  • Work with a gentle hand to sand the filled area to ensure it is flush with the surrounding surface. You should only feel the slightest difference when running your hand over both freshly filled and undamaged parts.
  • Apply your preferred finish as the goal is to make the repair virtually unnoticeable. Also, concealing the fix is only a matter of painting over the area in the same color. So, you can even work on white baseboards.

Unfortunately, stained wood doors are trickier to handle, especially when getting the best possible match. So, it is prudent to dab some wood filler on scrap wood and then assess how it looks on the surface.

Lastly, depending on the test results, choose to thin out the stain or use a different color. Then, proceed to apply the formula to the door. Also, determine your desired finish and use the most suitable grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

How Do You Fill Holes In Wood Without Wood Filler?

You will have to make repairs like filling holes from poor craftsmanship or rot when working with old wood. In addition, there are simple hole repair products regardless of whether you’ve got an advanced woodworking job or repairing a few old screw holes.

Here is how to fill holes in your wood without wood filler.

Wood Putty

This product repairs holes in lumber and comes as a powder or ready-made foam. Moreover, it has a hue similar to wood. Therefore, it is a perfect blend when the surface is visible in a room.

Although most woodworkers prefer to buy an off-the-shelf wood filler putty, you can make putty from fine sanding dust and drywall compounds. You are also good to go with the steps below.

  • Clean the hole of all dirt and debris and get a chisel for deep holes. This way, you ensure that the formula fills the area thoroughly. Also, mix the product according to the package instructions to form a thick paste.
  • Use a putty knife with light pressure and back and forth motion to fill the hole. In addition, smooth the putty surface and scrape it off the wood. Then, give it about 24 hours to dry completely before sanding with an electric sander or fine-grit sandpaper.

Two-Part Epoxy Products

There are multiple strategies to use when filling holes with epoxy. However, the best method depends on the hole’s shape and size. Therefore, it is advisable to assess the project and select the best way to go.

Epoxy works well because it fills and adheres to the lumber pores and fibers. Besides, epoxy kits are convenient as they include a resin hardener, creating a waterproof and durable filler.

Use a putty ball or knife for small holes to deliver an accurate outcome. Then, sand down the dry paste until it’s flush with the other surface. Conversely, you can consider mixing wood shavings and sawdust for larger holes.

Wood Glue with Toothpicks

This product is a fast-drying adhesive suitable for bonding two wood pieces. Moreover, it is excellent for filling in wood cracks and holes as it dries clear to deliver a practically invisible repair.

Wood glue and toothpicks are viable options for wood with large and deep holes. However, it is prudent to know how to apply the paste.

  • Clean the hole thoroughly and use a screwdriver to scrape off any debris. Then, apply the glue by dripping it until it fills the gap. In addition, put the toothpicks inside the hole until it seals.
  • Let the wood glue dry for about one to 24 hours and sand the glued area. Also, use some fine-grit sandpaper to ensure the repaired area is flush with the surrounding wood surface.

Wax Candle

Start by trimming the candle’s wick to about a quarter inch for better precision. Moreover, you do not want a long wick as the flame may make the wax too hot and drip wax all over the wood.

Melt the candle’s end by sliding it between your forefinger and thumb, but avoid using too much heat. In addition, drip the wax into the hole and allow it to cool before adding other wax layers.

Finally, buff the surface and use sandpaper to deliver a smooth area. Then, apply your preferred stain, and the job is complete.

Wood Plugs + Wood Dowels

These accessories are an advanced technique for repairing large wood holes. They also feature a flat base to help level the fixed surface. Besides, wood plugs fill gaps in other wood pieces and are available at any hardware.

Find the hole needing repair as its size determines the size of the wood plug, then cut a rectangle or square with a chisel or knife around the hole.

Also, remember that the plug’s depth should be slightly shorter than the hole’s depth for a satisfactory outcome. Therefore, shave off the excess until the pin is at the correct depth.

The other step is to hammer the wood plug into the hole as it should be flush with the lumber’s surface. Then, utilize a drill to make a hole at its center and fasten a screw with wood glue.


Sawdust and glue are other strategies to fill wood holes. Blend the supplies until you deliver a thick paste. Then, apply it to the spot and let it dry to the touch before resuming use.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

You can also get vinegar and baking soda for repairing holes in your door. Mix the formulas until you get a thick paste. Then, apply it to the spot and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Here’s How to Fill Holes On Wood:

How Do You Make Screw Holes In Wood Disappear?

A poorly placed fastener can take away the beauty of your lumber. But not to worry! You can easily cover these screw holes using readily-available and inexpensive solutions. Your best bet is to patch the gap using wood filler in the case of screws bored straight into the wood.

On the other hand, consider slipping in a pre-cut lumber plug for countersunk pocket holes. In addition, you can repair the surface using an ordinary drill press or wooden dowel with a pocket hole plug cutter attachment.

Here are simple guidelines to follow for a successful project.

Sand Down the Surface

Sand rough edges around the screw hole to facilitate a more leveled surface. Sometimes, screw fasteners damage the wood surface. Therefore, use medium- or high-grit sandpaper and rub the area using gentle and circular strokes.

The accessory will help remove loose chunks, splinters, and other irregularities. However, it is advisable to use 100- and 120- grit sandpaper to offer the proper smoothness and abrasion balance.

Clean the Wood

Use a paper towel or damp rag to clean the surface. Wet a sturdy paper towel or clean, lint-free rag and squeeze out the excess water. Then, run the accessory over the screw hole and surrounding surface.

You want to ensure that the lumber is free of dirt, dust, and debris that would otherwise compromise a consistent finish. In addition, it is advisable to avoid cheap paper towels as they shed tiny paper bits, leaving the surface in a worse shape.

Apply the Wood Filler

Use the putty knife’s tip to transfer a generous filler amount into the hole, then smooth it with the blade’s flat part. Ideally, the smoothed wood filler should settle just above the lumber.

The key to delivering a seamless finish is to use more paste than you think you need. This way, your project won’t shrink after drying. Moreover, it is easy to scrape off the excess compound with your putty knife.

Select a suitable wood filler when planning to stain the wood, or you’ll have difficulty getting the desired finish. Alternatively, you can make your homemade wood filler by mixing equal sawdust and wood glue parts. But ensure that the compounds deliver a color similar to your surface.

Allow the Filler to Dry

Give the paste about 30 to 60 minutes to dry. In addition, avoid touching or making additional adjustments to the repaired area as it dries. Or you’ll leave behind a visible depression, ruining your hard work.

Most wood fillers harden within an hour, but drying times usually vary between products. Thus, going through the product label is advisable to get more specific instructions.

Nonetheless, heat and moisture can extend the surface’s drying time. So, you can cut down your overall project duration by applying the paste in a dry, climate-controlled interior space.

Smooth the Filled Hole

Use high-grit sandpaper for sanding the filled area and surrounding wood. Glide the accessory over the spot with fluid, circular strokes. But only use moderate pressure as overdoing the rubbing may ruin the project.

Your goal in this step is to blend the filler into the surface. So, consider a 150- to 220- grit sandpaper sheet to even out the filled area without leaving scratches or other visible imperfections.

Stain or Paint the Patched Area

Here, you are free to add one or more coats of your preferred finish as it helps enhance the wood’s appearance. However, please do not forget to apply a suitable wood conditioner or primer to prepare the filler and improve adhesion.

Alternatively, you can leave the surface as is when the unfinished wood has a lovely natural appearance. But keep in mind that the patch will not be completely invisible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most notorious questions on the subject of discussion

  • How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Hole in a Door?

Sometimes professionally repairing a wooden door can cost you more than replacing the entire structure. For instance, you will pay around $150 to $600 to fix a hole in a door, depending on the material, type, and hole size.

A small hole in an interior wooden door is easy to patch cheaply and quickly. In contrast, a large exterior door or garage hole needs a complete panel replacement, which can be much more time-consuming and expensive.

However, you only need to pay for the supplies when repairing the patch yourself. The only caveat is ensuring that you follow the correct application procedure.

  • How Do I Cover a Hole in a Door?

You can use a wood hardener to cover a hole in your door. Start by scraping out the damaged area with a utility knife and then use a hot gun to dry the area. Next, fill the patch with a wood filler and let it harden before sanding and repainting.

The other method involves wood fitting and works for hollow wooden doors. Scrape loose plywood on the hole edges with a utility knife. Then, shape the spot into a square or rectangle.

Curve out two plywood pieces with the hole’s exact dimensions and apply an adhesive. Then, fit them into the gaps, ensuring that they sit without any spaces in-between, and allow the glue to set before painting.

You can utilize a wallpaper covering that looks like the entire door or the affected area. The only caution is to ensure that you cover all the door’s sides. In addition, the strategy works well when there is not much touching of the structure.

Furniture or portrait coverings will also work if the door is in the home’s interior features or the hole is in an interior part of the door. You could have your portraits or a mirror over the gap to cover it up.

Finally, you can opt for drywall cement when going for a temporal fix to the problem. Scrap loose plywood on the hole edges with a utility knife. Then, position a gauze over the spot and apply drywall cement.

Allow the formula to set and sand over the repaired area softly to facilitate a smoother and even surface. Also, you can consider painting over the patch to match or compliment the surrounding area.


Wooden doors are lightweight, easier to hang, and affordable. However, it is possible to make a hole in the lumber by accidentally knocking something heavy on the surface. In such a case, do not worry as this article handles:

How to Fix a Hole In a Wood Door

You start by removing any loose wood chunks and lingering debris. Then, apply a wood filler and allow it to dry thoroughly. In addition, smooth the hardened paste and add a top coat for a more complementary or matching look.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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