How to Repair a Hole in a Wood Door

Updated February 21, 2017

Doors mark the entry or exit points throughout a home. Wood doors are available as solid wood or hollow core. Hollow-core doors are wood frames with a thin veneer covering. They are less expensive than solid wood doors, but are much more prone to damage. Solid wood doors may have a hole due to drilling for a handle or a no longer necessary or wanted peephole. Hollow-core doors may have holes from either accidental damage or purposeful drilling.

Remove the door from its hinges and lay it across two sawhorses. Face the damage upward if the hole does not penetrate through the entire door.

Sand any rough edges with medium-grit sandpaper. Remove larger splinters carefully by hand.

Cover a sturdy piece of thin wood with waxed paper and a light coat of petroleum jelly. Tape it on the underside of the door to cover the hole. Place a piece of wood from the ground to the wood to brace it and hold it firmly in place.

Fill the hole with wood putty, using a flexible putty knife and pressing it deeply into the hole. Use a thick dowel to pack and compress the wood putty. Continue to add wood putty to the hole, building it up slightly higher than the surface of the door. The wax paper--covered wood will hold the wood putty and keep it from falling out the other side.

Allow the wood putty to dry thoroughly. This may take four to six hours due to the thickness of the putty.

Sand the wood putty smooth with a sanding block equipped with fine-grit sandpaper.

Remove the brace from the underside of the door and turn the door over. Remove the wax paper--covered wood. Wipe the petroleum jelly off the surface and lightly sand. If the putty has a depression, add more wood putty, building it up just above flush with the surface. Allow the putty to dry and sand it smooth.

Remove splintered pieces of the door by hand.

Cut corrugated cardboard into strips 2 inches larger than the width of the hole. Apply construction adhesive to the ends of the cardboard. Begin at the end and apply lines of adhesive 1 inch long.

Place the strip into the hole with the adhesive facing you, and pull the cardboard firmly toward you. Hold the cardboard in place for five to 10 minutes. The cardboard will adhere to the inside of the door. Construction adhesive dries quickly, generally within 5 to 10 minutes. Add cardboard as necessary to cover the hole from the inside.

Apply wood putty with a flexible putty knife over the cardboard strips. Build the wood putty up slightly higher than the door's surface. Allow the wood putty to dry, typically one to two hours.

Sand the surface of the wood putty with fine-grit sandpaper to blend it in with the existing surface.


Choose wood-tone wood putty to match stained or natural-coloured doors.

Things You'll Need

  • Sawhorses
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Wood sheet
  • Waxed paper
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Wood brace
  • Wood putty
  • Flexible putty knife
  • Dowel
  • Sanding block
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Cardboard
  • Construction adhesive
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.