Restore Old Doors – How to Repair Damage and Install Modern Hardware

CreekLineHouse .
by CreekLineHouse .
8 Materials
2 Hours

We recently updated the door hardware and even some of the doors in our home and it’s made an amazing difference. This project gave me the chance to save a few old doors, too. They turned out so good Courtenay asked me to share a few tips on how to restore old doors.

Here’s how you can easily restore old doors and make them functional again by repairing damaged areas and adding modern hardware.

As you can see, the area on the end near the latch looked pretty rough and the mortise-style lock set would be difficult to repair or replace. You can also see a small crack in the closest panel as well. Time to get to work...

To get started on the restoration of this old door we need to remove the old lockset. 

In order to fit a new, modern style knob set into this door we need to layout the position of the new lock and cut a new main bore hole and make any adjustments to latch hole. 

With the holes drilled out, check fit and function of your new holes. Make sure the latch lines up with where our repaired edge will be when we’re complete.

Now, it’s time to measure and cut our wood patch. I used a piece of pine cut from a regular 2×4 because pine is easy to work with. The downside with pine is that it’s soft and may damage again easily but with a patch this small and a quality paint to cover it, I wasn’t too concerned.

Apply a coat of primer to the areas that were repaired and give the entire door a new coat of paint. When the paint has dried, completely install your new knob set, faceplate and strike plate...

Looks pretty great, right?!

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  3 questions
  • Diana Mann Diana Mann on Jun 15, 2019

    Looks really sharp! Man! I have that exact same door I think. LOL. Would you mind sharing where you got the hardware? It looks amazing. I boiled my door's old hardware, and planned to spray paint it, but I am loving your new/old look!

  • Ann Ann on Jun 16, 2020

    How to clean old hardware from a door or a cabinet . Old crockpot, vinegar, and dawn dish soap, over nite. You can then give good scrub, rinse dry. I have used this method instead of buying new.

  • Cynshops Cynshops on Jun 23, 2021

    What did you use to patch the holes and fix the crack, please?

    By the way, the door looks FANTASTIC!

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5 of 20 comments
  • Jan Jan on Jun 16, 2020

    We just soaked off our hardware from a 140 year old door. Followed the recipe off of Youtube. Baking soda & water simmered in an old pot for 30-45 minutes. Paint peels off like a breeze. Highly recommend!

    • See 2 previous
    • Donna Donna on Oct 13, 2021

      Or Ms. Jan, could do robe/towel hook 🪝 attached on a beautiful shelf possibly or any one of dozens of decor ideas. But, I’m glad she left the original doorknobs. She could hit an antique store or a thrift store, possibly finding a doorknob or two exactly like her current one(s). If not identical, close or something which would coordinate nicely, would be lovely as well! 😊

  • Donna Donna on Jan 02, 2021

    I thought I invented the idea and process of replacing doorknobs along with all the hardware in OLD SOLID wood doors.

    Including, being ever so crafty, by making a block of wood, look like an original part of that door.

    I would much rather update an old solid wood door, than to go buy new. It’s not about the money, it’s about the sense of pride I take in my home. I moved to my current home

    4 1/2 years ago, and I do not feel at home. I haven’t made it mine, by ripping up and replacing floors. Or replacing doors (doesn’t need 😕), painted walls (my bad 🤭) but in my defense... the house is HUGE. Taxes break my bank and I have taken on an entire barnyard of animals and eleven cats. They keep me hopping.

    Can you tell I’m going covid stir crazy, during down time?! 😜