When removing a door from its frame in a bid to get rid of it or replace it, those hinge holes are anything but inevitable. They seem untidy and unbalanced if left on the doorway, making the whole doorframe look irregular. When using the door hinge slots is not an option, you need to fill them up. We are going to touch on the types of fillers, the size of each slot, and the aesthetic appeal they project.
- Wood filler
- Plastic wood
- Low expansion foam
- Auto-body filler
Using Wood Filler
Wood filler is a unique mixture made from wooden products, such as sawdust, suspended in a solution that dries out to form a rock-solid element. It comes in three forms. A water-based option that dries quickly with a crumbly appearance.
It is ideal for unfinished and porous woods but unfit for finished wood. The other option is a petroleum-based filler that has a smooth consistency and is suitable for wood exposed affected by moisture. All you need to do is apply the filler inside the hole.
Pat it around with a spatula and ensure it covers the entirety of the hole. You ought to be generous with the filler and have some excess sticking out to allow yourself a bit of allowance for when you will be sanding. Once your bases are covered and the filler has dried out, use a sander to level out the surface.
You may apply paint on the area, preferably a color matching the doorframe. It should look good as new. When dealing with large holes, you must use epoxy wood filler. In a semi-solid state, the filler can be poured to take the shape of your hinge slot.
It is also ideal when cracks are present as if they flow in them and fill the gaps. Since it does not shrink, you can sand it as soon as it cures.
Shims come in different materials, but the most recommended ones are wooden or plastic. They are ideal when used on hinge holes that are deeper and more prevalent. They come in handy when making alignments and adjustments on your door.
Shims can be purchased pretty much at any hardware store near you. You can also make them at home. Before using them, you need to have a few tools and items that make your installation process much more manageable. They include:
- Wood glue,
- Utility knife
- Wood filler,
Align your shim with the part of the door you want to cover. Mark out the length of the shim required to cover the hole. Precision is paramount to avoid an irregular cut that would ultimately not be a good fit. Once you have you have that, cut the shim to fit.
Apply wood glue on one side of the piece. Even out the glue before putting the shim into place. Gently press it in, and then cover the element with tape.
Allow the glue to dry before applying the wood filler. Make sure you cover the entire crack with the stuffing. It will usually take 30 minutes to dry out, but experts advise you to wait an hour to ensure firmness. Proceed to sand out the filler to an even level, and then apply a coat of matching paint.
Use quality glue and wood filler to determine how well the shim stays in place. Bad-quality glue or wood filler cracks, and this leaves the shim exposed. Over time it can fall, scratch the current door, or even push hinges, ruining the door’s ability to lock.
Using Plastic Wood
Plastic wood is another way to fix hinge holes that are not too deep. When used, it leaves a fine finish on the affected area, making it a perfect solution for finished wood.
Plastic wood mixtures come in different forms. Some can be paste-like and ready-to-apply material, while some require a manual mix before making the application. Some mixtures in powder form require water to form a paste. Ensure you do not add too much water to the mixture to avoid dripping, thereby defying its purpose. Use a stirring stick to measure thickness and viscosity.
Once your gap is filled with the plastic putty, take a spatula and glide it down, taking off the excess putty to form a fine finish. Plastic putty hardens much faster than wood filler, so you must be time conscious. The best thing about plastic wood filler is that it does not shrink. It can also be cut and shaped to fit any size, making it ideal even for unequal spaces.
Using Gypsum Fillers
Gypsum fillers come in two varieties. The first option, spackle, is made from gypsum as the main ingredient, glue, and other compounded substances. It is used for repairing small hinge slots as it dries fast and can be used for a few minutes before painting or sanding. Depending on the brand, some have the ability to change color when dry. This is a perfect indicator when you are new in the woodwork field. The other option is known as a joint compound. Many confuse spackle with joint compounds since they are all made from gypsum, but the two are different in every form and way. A joint compound or mud is used when working on large surfaces. It is also made of gypsum, but it also contains water. It is sometimes sold in powder form, and you must make a pre-mix before using it.
Using Low Expansion Foam Insulation
Another excellent way to get rid of that hinge slot is by spraying low-expansion foam spray. This substance expands to almost thirty times its current size, making it perfect for DIY door hinge repairs.
Since it is sold in cans, you can easily purchase the quantity you need at that particular moment. After making the purchase, attach the nozzle, and direct it onto your hinge hole. Spraying the foam-like substance over the hole, starting inwards and working your way out. Ensure you have the area covered and leave some sticking out. Observe company guidelines on how much time it takes the foam to develop. Some put it at almost 24 hours wait time.
Check on it later and use your utility knife to cut out the unnecessary edges that stick out. Level out your surface using sandpaper and paint as desired. Spray foam is as dangerous as it is helpful. Wear protective gear when using it. Additionally, check the expiration date. Expired expansion foam does not expand as expected and dries out with cracks.
Remember to clean up any foam while it is still foamy. Once it dries up, it becomes tough to handle. Also, avoid having flames nearby when working with this element due to its highly explosive nature.
Caulk is made from latex or silicone. However, some firms combine both. Before picking a tube of caulk, you need to know the size of your hinge slot. This helps you determine the type of caulk to use. For small door hinges such as those on cabinets and wardrobe doors, use one with a high silicone content.
It dries fast and does not require sanding. When dealing with large slots, use caulk that has a high stretching factor. When used a little goes a long way as it increases its quantity coverage by above 500%. Consider water-resistant caulk when doors are exposed to moisture, such as in bathrooms and kitchens.
The product is formulated to repel water, mold, and humidity. Caulk shrinks, and you must go over it repeatedly to fill the gaps. A downside is that the layers might not appear smooth and their adhesion is not always guaranteed.
Using Auto-Body Filler
While this may be unconventional, many experts have admitted to using auto-body filler when fixing door hinge seals. Automotive body filler is a paste-like substance used to repair vehicles involved in minor accidents. It is applied to the affected areas and works perfectly with steel. However, it is known to do wonders for wood.
It cures fast and can be sanded within minutes after application. It also has a perfect adhesion rate and surfaces, making it an ideal option when filling up door hinge slots. It also fills gaps, cracks, and holes and can have your door looking as good as new.
This filler requires a bit of mixing that allows the meshing of resin with a hardener. Apply the mixture on the intended surface. Cover all the bases and level them out with a spatula. You can cover the finished area with some tape and wait for it to dry.
The downside of using the auto filler is that only experts or experienced wood experts can achieve perfect results. It hardens fast and when you are not fast enough, consider that project a failure.
Filling up hinge slots offers a neat profile to your door and gives a sturdiness of sorts on the entire frame area. It is important to note that most methods illustrated above use many hazardous substances, and their damage might be irreversible. Ensure you get the right gear and tools to avoid handling accidents and errors.
Read instructions and follow them to the letter. They were written down for a reason. When quality and safety is an issue, consider working with an expert.
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