Door frames form an integral part of the structure of your door, and like the rest of the door, face damage due to a variety of reasons. These reasons could be wear and tear, water damage like wood rot, surface cracks, and damage to the door jambs.

A door jamb is the vertical part of the door frame, often called the legs of the door (the word jamb itself is derived from the French word for leg, “jambe”). These are often the most damaged areas of a door frame, considering they house a lot of the door’s hardware.

Very often, door jambs or the entire frames themselves tend to become loose. In most cases, these frames can be fit back into place, unless the damage has been extensive. In the case of the latter, you may need to replace the damaged frame or at least a part of it. 

However, even though a single door jamb may be damaged and not the entire frame, it is advisable to replace the whole door frame, since all the parts are bought as a set, and replacing the entire frame will ensure you do not have to replace anything else for a long time.

In this short read, we’re going to discuss how to fix a loose wooden door frame and other DIY door frame fixes.

How to remove your door

wood door frame

Even minor repairs such as fixing a loose door frame can require you to remove your door from the door frame. Let’s look at the process to remove your door frame.

  1. Always begin this process with the door closed, so that the door itself will not fall off when the hinge pins are removed.
  2. Tap the hinge pins lightly with a hammer and nail to loosen them.
  3. Once loosened, gently remove the hinge pins before gently opening the door a little, to ensure it does not fall off.
  4. Remove the door entirely and begin your repairs on the door frame or jambs.  

How to fix a loose wooden door frame

  1. First, measure the thickness of your door frame and from your local hardware store, purchase screws with wall plugs that are at least 6 inches longer in-depth than the frame measure.
  2. To keep your door open, press the frame tightly against the wall, making sure the frame is level with the ground and the door.
  3. Drill three holes into the door jamb such that the holes run the down the jamb, through the frame, and into the supporting wall. The holes should be evenly spaced, and the drill bit you use to drill the holes must be smaller than the size of the screws you’re using.
  4. Screw in the screws and wall plugs that you bought, making sure they are secured tightly into the door jamb.
  5. Reinstall the door into the door frame.
  6. Open and close the door a few times to ensure the door frame is no longer loose. 

How to fix a warped door frame

wood door frame fix
  1. Remove the door as instructed above and mark the location of the door trims on the frame.
  2. Starting from the bottom and working your way upwards, remove the door molding from the frame by tapping it gently using a hammer and chisel.
  3. Remove the shims from between the wall and the door frame.
  4. Use a mallet and a flat piece of wood to gently hammer the frame back into its intended shape, If the warp isn’t very bad, this process should help you level out the frame. 
  5. This is a good time to replace door shims if the existing ones are worn out.
  6. Reinstall the door and check the adjustments you just made. If everything seems to be alright, replace the shims as well as the door molding. 

How to deal with minor wood rot

Rotting wood is one of the results of water damage. While wood rot can eat away entire door frames and leave you with no choice but to replace the entire frame, and in some cases, the door itself, here’s how to deal with minor wood rot.

  1. Begin by removing the door and then measuring the area that has been affected by wood rot.
  2. Use a straight oscillating tool or a chisel and remove all the areas affected by rot. Remember that if more than a third of the frame has been damaged, it makes more sense to replace the door jambs and the frame.
  3. Minor wood rot can be repaired by screwing in the wire mesh of the same size and then using epoxy fillers to cover the mesh. The filler can be applied using a putty knife or a utility knife.
  4. Let this dry overnight and then sand the filler until it is smooth.
  5. Apply a coat of primer and two coats of paint to finish the repaired area. 

How to repair a split door jamb

  1. The first two steps are the same as fixing a warped door frame.
  2. Mark the areas six inches above and below the affected area.
  3. Carefully cut away the marked area using a hand saw.
  4. Cut a piece of timber (preferably of the same type as the existing jamb) the size of the cutaway portion. 
  5. Place the new piece of timber into the door frame using wood glue to hold it in place.
  6. Secure the new piece in place with two nails at the top and two at the bottom.
  7. Fill in the divot with spackling compound and then sand the area for a smooth finish.
  8. Use wood filler to fill the gaps and fortify the area some more before sanding the filler until you have a smooth surface.
  9. Apply primer and paint to finish the repairs, and then replace the door molding.

Know when repairs just won’t work

So far, we’ve discussed how to repair minor damages to the door frame. However, if the wood is severely warped, if the water damage has caused severe wood, or if more than one-third of the door frame has been damaged, it means there is no point in trying to repair the frame. You may need to replace the frame or even invest in a new door altogether.

Read more: Prehung vs slab door

How to fix a loose wooden door frame? was last modified: November 17th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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