How To Repair A Damaged Hollow Core Door

How To Repair A Damaged Hollow Core Door

A damaged hollow core door can lead to changing out the entire door if left unfixed. An accidental punch or kick can put a gaping hole in the face of the door. This looks awful, but it is fixable and can be a DIY project.

Hollow core doors are just like they sound. The door has minimal internal structure – just enough of a wood frame to adhere thin sheets of plywood, Masonite, or fiberglass on the exterior faces. These doors are inexpensive for a reason.

Because hollow core doors are lightweight and susceptible to damage, you should know what you can do to repair them. Here are what you need and the steps you can take to fix the door.

Tools and Materials Needed

These are the basic tools and materials you will need:

  • Drop cloth
  • Utility knife with retractable blade
  • Sheets of newspaper
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Spackle or wallboard compound
  • Plastic putty knife
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush or roller


1. Smooth out the hole or cracked area perimeter: Place the drop cloth down to catch the mess. Use the utility knife to cut away any splintered wo

od fragments to form a clean opening.

2. Fill the hole: Take the newspaper and crumple it to fit inside the hole. You can use paper towels or a brown paper bag if you don’t have newspaper. Just push the bunched-up paper into the hole until it is filled but not bulging beyond the face of the door.

3. Spray the foam insulation inside the hole: Using the long nozzle attachment, aim the can of foam inside the hole and start spraying. The foam will expand and quickly fill the space, so take your time doing this step.

4. Allow the insulation to dry: At this point, you can take a break. The insulation needs to dry so you can trim or sand. That is best done overnight.

5. Trim the excess foam: Once the foam has dried and hardened, use the utility knife to cut away any foam that is protruding beyond the face of the door. You are looking for the foam to be just inside the hole and almost level with the veneer or face panel.

6. Cover the repair with spackle: Using the putty knife, scoop out the spackle and spread it over the repair area. Working in long straight strokes, gently smooth the spackle over the area to achieve a uniform and flat finish.

Note: You can use auto-body filler in place of spackle for a more durable finish.

7. Allow the spackle to dry: It’s time for another break. The spackle needs to completely dry. Give it at least 60 minutes.

8. Sand the surface of the door: Once the spackle has dried, use the sandpaper to smooth out the spackle so that it doesn’t have any bumps or dimples. The repair should look similar to the rest of the door surface.

9. Paint the door: You are likely going to want to paint the entire door so that it looks like new. You can do this with a paintbrush or roller.

You are finished and now the door looks like new.