Author Topic: Best way to fix cracked door panels?  (Read 2521 times)

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Offline Deke

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Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:22 AM »
I hope this is okay to ask. While I can manage this, I thought "why not ask the experts?" since so many of you are pros.

Our house has a number of 130 year old interior 5 panel doors where one or two of the panels have cracked. See the pic below please - crack is visible on both sides on most doors.

What is the best way to repair these? A friend told me about a trick where you stuff the crack with string, then putty it up. That sounds pretty clever, but what's the best product to use? not the string  ;)  Or what would you do?

From the pic it looks like someone tried to fix something and failed. Also, it seems only the doors leading to poorly insulated rooms are cracked. Working on that too...

« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 07:28 AM by Deke »

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Offline kcufstoidi

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 08:02 AM »
Take the door off and lay flat, tape the crack then flip over and fill with a fast cure West System epoxy for good penetration. The fast cure will give 15-20 minutes of working time in my experience. It may need a top up depending on how much it settles. The crack shouldn't be a problem after that. Sand and repaint.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 10:09 AM »
Of course you can ask about project stuff.


       I have no experience with this but the string and putty method seems like it might not be permanent enough or might still end up being visible.  But I don't really know.

    The epoxy method seems like a better one to try. Probably need pretty thin epoxy to get it into those cracks.

Seth

Offline Alex

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 10:52 AM »
Use a polyester 2 part filler. Very good adhesion and it stays flexible so the cracks won't appear again. Use a non-flexible product and the cracks are back after 2 months.

There are also flexible epoxies, but they tend to be 4 or 5 times as expensive.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 11:13 AM »
The real issue here is that your panel no longer floats in the frame.  It has a crack because as it expands and contracts it is "connected" at the edges of the panel on the top and bottom.  That could be caused by glue or even a hard paint surface with numerous coats - an oil based finish versus a flexible one like a latex.  Curing that issue at the intersection could help prevent this in the future.

Personally, if this were my situation, I would go for trying to cut the paint films at the intersection of the panel and the rails and stiles and then using epoxy to fill the crack.  To get the epoxy in the crack it might taking a beater shop vac to create minor section from the back side.  Of course laying the door flat would be helpful.

Just my 1.5 cents.

Peter

Offline Deke

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 09:04 AM »
Thanks everyone. All good ideas. Any recommendations for polyester fillers?

Peter, I understand your much more thorough approach. We have over 25 of these doors. The only ones that have cracks (4 or so) are on rooms (closets, mudrooms...) with very poor insulation and there is a big differential in temp. I think it's safe to conclude that is the main cause, but I will try to break the 120 year old paint at the edge of the panels! I like that vac tip. Never would have thought of that. Certainly not my Festool, but I have two Home depot junkers I could try.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 09:20 AM »
I don't know if you have a multi-tool like a Fein Multimaster or a similar product from any other manufacturer.  If you decide to try and break the paint bond (realistically you can only try and break a paint bond - you aren't going to try and break your door apart and see if glue is an issue), then - and this pains me - you might even want to look at a multi-tool from Harbor Freight Tools.  A hard finish and a utility knife usually leads to frustration.

Most polyester fillers are adequately flexible - auto sheet metal does expand and contract - just find one in an auto parts store in a reasonable size package.

Peter

Offline tomp

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Re: Best way to fix cracked door panels?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 10:12 AM »
I can recommend the Bondo 2-part product

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007ZG9T4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It has worked very well for me on repairs on my exterior door jambs. It sets up fairly quickly so follow the instructions on the can. A hint - don't use the same mixing stick for successive batches as it will contaminate the new batch and really cut down on the working time. I found the best way was to buy a bag of "popsicle sticks" at a craft store and use the lids off coffee cans - once set up, the dried epoxy can be popped off the  lid and the lid reused.