Owning your own home isn’t just the American dream; it’s more of a universal goal that people share worldwide. However, continually dishing out cash to maintain and repair a home is less fun, especially if those repairs are expensive. But what about fixing a rotted door frame; is that a costly process?

The cost to fix a rotted door frame is usually between $75 and $400. The actual price depends on a number of factors, including the current cost of materials, the type of frame you’re working with (wood vs. metal), whether it’s an interior or exterior door, where you live, and who is replacing it.

In this article, we’ll discuss the relevance of each of these factors – and a few others – to fixing a rotted door frame. We’ll also talk a bit more about how to keep your costs as low as possible.

The Determining Factors of Fixing a Rotted Door Frame

The average cost for fixing a rotted door frame is between $75 and $400. However, that’s not a hard and fast rule, and depending on several factors, it could cost quite a bit more than that. These determinants include:

  • The current cost of lumber and other needed materials
  • Where you live
  • Whether you’re repairing/replacing a wooden or metal frame
  • Whether it’s an interior or exterior door
  • The type of door (French door, barn door, or a pre-hung door)
  • Whether you’re fixing it or paying someone else to fix it
  • The extent of the damage

Let’s examine these in more detail.

The Current Cost of Materials & Where You Live

One of the most unpredictable costs associated with repairing or replacing a door frame is the current cost of materials. Prices are constantly fluctuating, and sometimes, they go up in a big way.

For example, in the first half of 2021, the price of lumber increased exponentially. Building or repairing anything requiring wood during that time cost people significantly more than it would have a year earlier.

The costs associated with your door frame repair will depend heavily on the cost of materials whenever you start the repair process.

Where you live can also play a role in determining how much you’ll have to spend on repairing or replacing a door frame. Using Homewyse’s ‘Door Frame Installation Calculator,’ you can see that the associated costs of replacing a door frame in Holdenville, Oklahoma (zip code: 74848) are much lower than the costs of replacing one in New York City (zip code: 10001).

Door Features

Next on the list of determining cost factors are the door’s features. Is it an interior or exterior door? Exterior doors usually cost more to repair or replace than interior doors. Certain door types are also more expensive to repair than others.

Fixing French door frames, for instance, is more costly than fixing lower-tier pre-hung doors and frames, but high-end pre-hung doors and frames usually cost far more than even the nicest French doors.

Finally, the type of door and frame – i.e., metal or wood – will also factor into your final repair or replacement costs. And yes, metal doors can rot.

Who’s Fixing the Door

Perhaps one of the most considerable discrepancies in repair costs comes from who’s fixing the frame. If you can fix it yourself, you can potentially save a hundred or more dollars just on the cost of labor alone.

That’s especially true if the door frame is in horrible shape and must be replaced. A door frame installation usually costs between $250 and $400, and the cost breakdown looks like this:

  • The frame: $40 – $75
  • Labor: $180 – $300
  • Miscellaneous materials: $20 – $25

The biggest chunk of that money comes from labor, which you won’t have to pay if you fix it yourself.

The Extent of the Damage

We’ve already said that the cost of materials is the most unpredictable factor and that the person fixing the frame (you or a professional) accounts for the largest discrepancy in costs.

However, the most significant determining factor is the extent of damage to the frame.

Sometimes we get lucky and catch the rotting problem early enough that fixing it isn’t that hard or expensive.

For instance, if you notice that one section, such as the lower left-hand corner of the door frame, is rotting, you might be able to fix the problem without much trouble by simply repairing that section of the frame with Elmer’s Damaged Wood Repair System from Amazon and a half-pint of paint.

This video shows you how:

That kind of repair shouldn’t cost you more than $75 for the repair system, paint, and other miscellaneous tools and materials (assuming you already have a sander).

However, depending on the extent of the rot and the damage done to the frame, it may be cheaper to replace it than to repair it. In that case, you’re likely looking at expenses on the higher end of the spectrum.

Even doing it yourself, replacing an entire door frame can cost a couple of hundred dollars, and if you pay a professional to do it, you could be looking at $400, $500, or more!

Tips for Keeping Repair Costs Low

If you want to keep your door frame repair costs down, one of the best things you can do is to complete as much of the work as possible for yourself.

DIY work eliminates labor costs.

Additionally, try to catch and fix problems early. Check your home regularly for developing issues and deal with them right away. In the case of rotting door frames, check them every three to six months for signs of rot.

These include:

  • Peeling paint, especially at the bottom of the door
  • Cracks in the frame
  • Warping
  • Soft places in the wood
  • Developing mold, particularly if it comes back after a thorough cleaning

Finally, if there is a rot problem, don’t just fix or replace the door frame.

Determine the source of the rot. Rot occurs because of moisture, but discovering the root cause of why moisture is leaking into your wood can be trickier.

If your storm door is improperly installed, that could be your issue. Water can leak into improperly installed storm doors and get trapped between them and the wooden door, causing mold, rot, and other problems.

Additionally, the problem could also be overflowing gutters or a lack of overhang above your wooden door. Either way, you need to find the root of the problem and fix it before you repair the door; otherwise, you’ll be in the same rotten situation with your new frame before long.

Related: Best Products for Repairing Rotted Wood

Final Thoughts

Repairing a rotted door frame can be an economical and straightforward process, or it can be time-consuming, tedious, and expensive. Help keep costs low by regularly checking for signs of rot, repairing problems as soon as you notice them, and doing as many of the repairs as possible yourself.

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