Make an invisible dent repair in a steel door the same way you do it on your car, using the same auto body filler. Even a novice can master the simple techniques.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:February 2007
Remove paint around the dent with a wire wheel. Roughen the bare metal with
Fill a dent or hole in a steel door the
same way a body shop would fix
your car. You can do this with the
door in place, but it will be easier with the
door lying flat on sawhorses. Remove an
area of paint a couple of inches larger
than the damaged spot (Photo 1). Sand
away the paint with 60- or 80-grit paper,
or do the job faster with a small wire
wheel in a drill.
Tip: If the damage is near the bottom
of the door, you can skip the repair
and cover it with a metal kick plate
(find at home centers and hardware
stores). Kick plates are about 8 in.
wide and come in lengths to match
Mix auto body filler and fill the dent
using a wide putty knife. Avoid leaving
humps or ridges. If necessary, add
more filler after the first layer hardens.
Next, fill the wound
with auto body filler (find at hardware
stores and home centers). To mix the
filler, place a scoop of resin on a scrap of
plywood or hardboard. Then add the
hardener. Mix the two components thoroughly;
unmixed resin won't harden and
you'll be left with a sticky mess. A plastic
putty knife makes a good mixing
Apply the filler with a metal putty knife
that's wider than the damaged spot
(Photo 2). The filler will start to harden
in just a couple of minutes, so you have to
work fast. Fill the repair flush with the
surrounding surface. Don't overfill it and
don't try to smooth out imperfections
after the filler begins to harden. Adding
another coat of filler is easier than sanding
Sand the filler smooth with 100-grit
paper. Use a sanding block to ensure
a flat surface. Prime the repair and paint
the entire door.
When the filler has hardened
completely (about 30 minutes),
sand it smooth (Photo 3). After priming
the repair, you could paint over the
primer only. But the new paint won't perfectly
match the older paint, so it's best to
repaint the entire door.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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