How to Fix Cracks in Door Panels - An Easy RepairHow to Fix Cracks in Door Panels without Taking the Door Apart

Wooden doors will develop cracks over time, especially if the panels aren’t free to expand and contract. Most of the time, years of paint or caulking the seams around the panels will cause the wood to stick and not allow the panel to expand and contract with the weather. The result is a big vertical crack along the wood grain. Today I’m going to show you how to repair the crack without taking the door apart!

You may remember right before I purchased the Saving Etta house, I discovered a discarded door by the dumpster behind our local grocery store. It had a big crack in the panel and was very dirty. But, otherwise, it appeared to be structurally sound. Pretty Handsome Guy and I salvaged the door on a late night rescue mission, and had a good laugh about it afterwards.

The door sat in the garage until the addition was framed and rough openings were created at the Saving Etta house. With the windows set to arrive, I knew I had to take a day out of my busy schedule to repair the cracked door and prepare it for installation.

Dirty Front Door found in the Trash

First the door got a good cleaning with soapy water.

Cleaning Front Door with sponge and soapy water Looking better already!

Cleaned front doo

Now it was time to fix the door. Let’s learn how to repair a cracked door panel without taking the door apart.

Materials:

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Instructions:

Lay the door on a flat surface like a workbench or saw horses.

burgundy side of dumpster found door

Using the Dremel with a cut off wheel, clean up the crack and open it to the width of your wood spline.

Open door panel crack with dremel cutting wheel

Sand smooth any jagged edges along the crack and any dings on the rest of the door.

Sanding door smooth

Test fit the spline into the crack. Make any adjustments to the crack as needed or cut a narrower spline on a table saw.

Insert wood spline into door crack

The spline should fit snuggly in the crack.

Test fit wood spline in door crack

Remove the spline and apply a liberal amount of wood glue into the crack.

Add lots of wood glue to door crack

Insert the spline and clamp the door until the glue hardens.

Clamp door repair overnight.

Chisel off the excess spline (you don’t need to get it perfect, but you’ll want to remove as much of the spline that protrudes beyond the door panel.)

Chisel off excess wood spline

Sand the repaired crack until the spline is even with the rest of the door panel.

Sand fixed door crack smooth

There will probably still be some minor cracks or voids, but these can be repaired with putty. Mix up a small amount of Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty (just add water!) Apply along the repaired crack and fill in any small holes or dings on the door. Let the putty cure.

Use Durham wood hardener to smooth imperfections

Flip the door over and repeat the process of removing the excess spline material and adding the wood putty.

Add Durham Wood Hardener on back side of door repair

After the putty has dried, sand until smooth. Start with a 120 grit sandpaper and work your way up to 220 grit.

Sand cracked door panel repair smooth

Clean the door of any sanding dust. Tape off the window edges (if applicable). Prime the door on both sides (allowing one side to dry before priming the other side.)

Prime repaired door with KILZ 2 primer

Paint your door any color you like!

Paint repaired door with Magnolia Home Magnolia Green paint

Want to Stain Your Door Instead?

If you prefer the natural wood look on your door, be sure to choose a spline that matches your door’s wood species and skip the wood putty step.

Installing the Door:

Back at the house, my framers had some fun with the house wrap at the front door.

After I added an exterior door frame kit to my repaired door, the framers hung it in the rough opening.

Because I didn’t paint the exterior of the door yet, you can barely see the repair above. But, after a fresh coat of paint, I challenge you to spot the repaired crack!

Do you like the color I painted the door? You might remember my decision making process when selecting the exterior color scheme. Ultimately I chose Magnolia Green and Locally Sown in the Magnolia Paint line.

Magnolia Green Door with Locally Sown Magnolia Home Paint on Siding

And just in case you thought I was only good at saving doors, apparently now I’m also a house saver! The Saving Etta house received her plaque denoting her name as it’s registered in the list of National Historic Properties.

Saving Etta: 1900 Home Saved from Demolition and restored into a beautiful Triple A construction modern farmhouse.

Hopefully she’ll last another one hundred plus years!

A funny story about the green door: Originally I was going to hang the door with the handle on the opposite side, but made a last minute change. The interior of the door was supposed to get painted gray to match the rest of the doors in the house (minus the salvaged 1900 doors shown above. They were left raw to show off the original wood grain and square peg construction.)

Many of you loved the green color and voted on Instagram to keep the front door green on both sides. Which is why Etta has a green front door inside and out!

Saving Etta: 1900 Home Saved from Demolition and restored into a beautiful Triple A construction modern farmhouse.

What do you think? Do you like the double-sided green door? Do you have a cracked door panel in need of repair? I know you can fix it.

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 3 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes.  Have you ever tightened a screw 1,485 times before you finally admit that the hole is stripped? Procrastinate fixing that stripped hole no more!

Grab some wood glue and tooth picks and we’ll fix that hole in a jiffy.

Day 3. Fixing a Stripped Screw Hole

Remove the screw. Squeeze some wood glue into the hole. Add a little more on the end of a toothpick.

How to Fix Stripped Holes in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Shove as many toothpicks as you can into the stripped hole.

How to Fix Stripped Holes in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

After the wood glue has dried, snap or cut the toothpicks off with a hand saw.

How to Fix Stripped Holes in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Drive your screw into your newly fixed hole!
PHGFancySign

Also check out other participants in Nester’s 31 Days Challenge.
31 Day Writing Challenge

For the entire month of October I’ll be bringing you tips and fixes you can do to protect your home, save money and save time. Stick around to learn more tips tomorrow. Sign up to get all the tips in your email:


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Other tips in the 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes series:


Benjamin Moore Yellow Highlighter Painted Interior Doors | Pretty Handy Girl

I painted my interior front doors Benjamin Moore’s Yellow Highlighter. It’s my way to start my day off on the right foot. When I get up in the morning and head downstairs, I see my front doors and immediately Good Day Sunshine starts to play in my head!

Let me tell you how this happened. Remember when I was in the middle of the DIY project from HELL?! I tried to paint our front doors on the outside and the paint was peeling off. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I wanted to run down the street screaming. Instead, what did I do? I decided to create a cheerful view when I go downstairs every morning. I put stripping the outside of the doors on hold for a day or two and focused my efforts inside.

Benjamin Moore Yellow Highlighter Painted Interior Doors | Pretty Handy Girl

The solid wood doors are original to our house and had cracks in them.

Benjamin Moore Yellow Highlighter Painted Interior Doors | Pretty Handy Girl

Instead of replacing the doors, I fixed them by scraping the edges until they were smooth and devoid of bumps. Read more

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: Read more

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

One of my favorite places to thrift shop is the Habitat ReStore. I mean, where else can you find cool $2 cabinet doors?

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

This fine cast off door is just screaming to be upcycled into a beautiful tray. Especially when the same thrifting adventure yielded VERY COOL door hardware! Simply combine the two and you have yourself a unique serving tray to give as a gift (or keep for yourself.)

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

  • Cabinet door
  • Door handle or cabinet handle
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Rubber bumpers

Optional: Rub n’ Buff Gold Leaf

The steps are super simple. Read more

Beach-themed Succulent Garden | Pretty Handy Girl

You like the beach right? Who doesn’t?! Come December I long for the feeling of burying my toes in the warm sand. Bring back those memories by having a Beach-Themed Desktop Succulent Garden nearby. The idea for this garden came as I sat looking at all the shells I’ve collected that were hidden away in the attic. I chose a big conch shell that had few holes and decided it would make a great little planter.

Material:

  • Succulents
  • Conch shell
  • Smaller shells, beach glass or colored glass filler
  • Play sand
  • Potting soil
  • Plant tray

Optional: Hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, felt pads

Instructions: Read more

Patch and Level a Concrete Subfloor

We are well on our way to putting Humpty Dumpty back together when it comes to our mudroom and laundry room. The kitchen, it’s still a blank canvas.

After the water leak, the linoleum flooring had to be removed. What was left was a plethora of problem areas. Cracks, crumbled concrete and an uneven surface resembling the moon.

Patch and Level a Concrete Subfloor

Before putting down any new flooring, we had to have a smooth and level surface. Adding a self leveler was the best answer to the problem. We purchased most of the supplies from Lowe’s and borrowed a large drill. And here’s how we did it: Read more

 

I’m back to work on the bonus room makeover, and I couldn’t be happier with the results of the project.

I had to prep the back wall for a little something special. And it required removing the baseboards. I saved them to re-install afterwards. Read more

I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

After years of painting rooms, I have perfected the process and can tell you that 80% of a professional paint job is in the preparation. Today’s post will be about properly prepping your room before painting. Then I’ll post next week on how to paint your room like a pro.

Start by removing everything from your room that isn’t bolted down to the floor (notice how I said “floor”.) You will be removing anything that is attached to the wall. That includes towel bars, TP holders, pictures, outlet covers and switch plate covers. I will allow you to leave a light fixture if it is a sconce style. But, otherwise, get it out of there, ALL of it!

painting like a pro outlets

But, how do you remove those toilet paper holders and towel rods if you can’t see the screw?

painting like pro towel rods

Here is the top secret, hidden location of those wall mounted accessories. Get down on your hands and knees and look up. Underneath there is a teeny tiny hole.

painting like pro diy tip

And inside that hole is usually either a hex screw or a flat head screw. You will need a little hex wrenches or flat head screwdriver to undo the screw. A flashlight may also be helpful. Turn the screw until you can pull the fixture off the mounting bracket.

painting like pro fixtures

Once your room has been emptied, bring in the tarps, towels, newspapers or plastic. Cover anything that is left in the room. Painter’s drop cloths work the best, but they can be expensive. I usually use plastic drop cloths, then put a folded towel in the entrance of the room to wipe my feet on should I step in any drips.

Even the neatest painter will drip paint! And if you are a klutz like me, you may even step in the paint tray. (Not a good thing.)

pro painting floors

Are you paying attention? This next task is the most important to truly achieve a professional paint job (in my opinion.) Have you assessed the condition of your walls. Do you have any holes or dimples in it?

patch dywall holes for painting

You will need to patch any and all holes (unless it is a picture hanger and you are going to use the same hanger after painting), HERE is the tutorial for patching all types of holes.

Okay, no holes now, but do you really know how smooth your walls are? Well, turn off the lights to find out!

smooth pro painting tip

And don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Aim your flashlight parallel to the walls and let the light beam skim the surface. Suddenly you will see all the imperfections. The bigger ones need to have some spackle or joint compound added to smooth them out. Any hills or bumps need to be sanded down.

Soon your walls will look like this!

pro painting tips spackle smooth

Yikes, looks like some kind of pox virus.

After your spackle or joint compound is dry, be sure to sand it smooth.

pro painting sand smooth

Then use a damp sponge and a pail of fresh water to remove any and all dust. You will probably need to rinse out your sponge frequently. (Especially if you patched as much as I did.)

painting tips clean patches

Time to tape!  Start by taping any light fixtures or permanent fixtures in the room. If you are re-painting your entire room (ceilings, trim and doors) I’d wait to tape the molding and door or window trim. For our downstair’s bathroom I knew I was going to repaint the trim too, so I left it exposed to be sure I got the wall color all the way down to the trim and even onto it. Tomorrow I’ll show you why I do this.

painting molding

If you don’t need to paint your trim, you can use a handy dandy tape dispenser like the one below, but honestly, I can tape off the trim just as fast by hand (after years of practice).

painters tape tips

Here is another little painting secret, if you want to keep the paint from bleeding under the tape, you can seal it with matte medium (available at artist supply stores.)

painter tape tricks

Simply pour a small amount into a cup and then brush it on the edge of your tape where it meets the surface you are going to paint.

sealing painter tape

This puts an invisible seal over your tape edge. It won’t work ALL of the time, but it will really cut down on any seepage and therefore any touch ups you have to do later.

Other Steps in this Series:

Step 2. paint and sheen

Step 3. painting your room and finishing touches

pretty handy girl painting like a pro