Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
A significant part of owning a dog is learning to live with it. Animals have anxiety, training issues, and sometimes plain destructive curiosity, and nothing suffers from this more than your furniture and doors. While it is easier to fix claw marks on your wooden table, fixing bite marks in door frames can be overwhelming.
To fix a door frame chewed by a dog, you should assess the damage for depth and area, sand the surface, apply the appropriate filler (drywall joint compound, wood-filler, or floor repair spray). Once the hole is filled, feather out the unevenness with a putty knife and paint over the repair job.
In this article, you will learn the following about fixing pet-related damage to your door frames:
- How to assess the damage and figure out the best solution
- Which filler to use in which situations
- Whether you should paint over the repair job or not
Assess the Damage to the Frame
Depending on your pet’s bite strength, the frequency of damage, and the kind of door frame, the level of repair required may vary. For surface-level scratches, you will be able to use light wood filler, and some marks may just require sanding. Other kinds of damage can often require extensive repair with drywall joint compound or spackle.
When assessing the damage, look for the following factors to determine the best method.
- The depth: If your canine has a deep bite and the door frame is old enough, you may have a hole that requires a strong filler. The difference between using wood fillers and other varieties lies in the strength they lend to the structure and how they can be applied.
- The area: While assessing the depth is necessary, the area of damage helps you determine which solution is the most cost-effective. Shallow bites across a large area can be fixed by a drywall joint compound and hardener as well as a wood filler. You will decide between the two based on availability and cost.
Opt for a Filler
The second step in fixing the bite on your door frame is shopping for the right filler. While this step may overwhelm some individuals, you cannot go wrong with any paintable filler. As long as you can apply the filler and cover it with the same coats of primer and paint as your door frame, there will not be any visible difference. Our recommendations for the best of each type are covered in the detailed breakdowns of the best methods below.
How to Use Wood-Filler to Fix Your Door
Whether the damage is on the door’s jamb or the door itself, a wood-filler is a great way to fix surface-level damage as long as the holes are not too pronounced or deep. Follow these steps if you opt for the wood-filler solution.
- Clean the area that you wish to fix. It is ideal to use some basic sanitizing and dusting to make sure the area is ready.
- Sand the surface to remove irregularities that may interfere with healing.
- Apply a stainable wood-filler with a putty knife so that all dents and holes are covered.
- Wipe off the excess using the putty-knife so there are no bumps on the frame. By the time you finish, the substance should fill the holes and be on the same level as the rest of the door frame.
- Wait for the filler to dry. That may take thirty minutes but could take more or less depending on the variety of filler you are using. Look at the packaging for more clarity regarding the waiting time.
- Once the filler has dried, you can cover it with the same coat of primers and paint or stain it so that the filler is uniform in surface and appearance.
When to Use a Wood Filler
It might not be evident for homeowners to decide whether a wood filler will work for the repair-job. The following two conditions will help clarify that.
- If your door is wooden and bite marks do not exceed one inch in-depth, you can use a wood-filler to finish the repair.
- If the door can be stained and you plan to paint over it, you can opt for a paintable wood filler.
How to Use a Drywall Joint Compound to Fix Your Door
A drywall joint compound is applied similarly to a wood-filler because both substances come out as putties that need to be feathered out upon application. However, there are enough specifics you must tweak, so the following steps will come in handy.
- Sand the surface. Unlike a wood-filler, drywall mud can cement itself in smooth holes. As a result, the best way to use it as a wood-filler replacement is to mimic a hole in the wall. Sand the surface much more than you would if you were using a wood filler.
- Use a putty knife and apply batches of drywall joint compound to the door frame. The method here is similar to applying wood-filler, except that your pressure and application effort will vary because of the compound’s thickness.
- Use a sanding block to even out the surface. Drywall mud tends to form small mounds and create a rougher surface. While this may not be pronounced right away, it becomes obvious when you try to paint over it. That is why you must sand the filler to even out the surface more precisely.
- Paint the frame. Unless the frame is white, the filler will stand out as a white patch. That is why it is essential to apply a coat of paint that evens out the look.
When to Use Drywall Joint Compound
In case you are wondering about the applicability of this method to your specific door frame, look below and see whether these descriptors apply to your door frame.
- If your door frame is made of anything but natural wood with a lot of teeth, you are best off using a drywall joint compound as it is pretty close to all-purpose in this context.
- If your door frames are white, you are in luck as the filler will finish to the same color.
How to Use a Floor Repair Spray to Fix Scratches on a Door
While it seems obvious that a canine’s bite would damage the door enough to require heavy-duty fillers, this is not always the case. If your door is thick enough and your pet belongs to a smaller breed, chances are your door’s jamb is only lightly damaged, and using a drywall compound joint may be overkill. Follow these steps in order to repair minor damage to your doors.
- Get a floor-repair spray meant for hardwood and laminate floors.
- Apply the spray to the damaged area till there is no visible unevenness.
- Wait for the material to dry out. Floor-repair sprays have a quick drying time, but you should check the spray package to get a better idea.
- Apply furniture stain evenly across the frame to cover-up the fixed region.
The long term solution for chewed up doors is training your dog. But in the short-term, you can use one of the three methods listed to fix the door frame. Here is a recap of the post.
- Look into the damage and check for depth and breadth of bite marks.
- Select the right filler for the damage.
- Clean and sand the damaged portion.
- Apply the filler with a spackle knife.
- Paint over the damage once the filler has dried.
- SF Gate: How to Fill in Wood Imperfections on Door Frames
- Hunker: Can Drywall Mud Be Applied on Wood?
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