Dog owners teach their puppies and dogs to go outside as part of the house training ritual. Since dogs and puppies can’t speak and say to us “hey, I need to go outside, so I don’t get in trouble for wetting on the floor”, they do the next best thing and scratch at the door. Pet owners are so proud of their smart little doggie for asking to go out rather than pooping on the rug.  Unfortunately, some puppies and dogs in an effort to please their owners scratch enthusiastically on the wood door and the molding around the door which leaves deep gouges in the wood. Over time and continued scratching, the woodwork and door looks worse and worse and eventually makes the room look shabby and unkempt.

Thankfully, some dogs learn to tap the door rather than drag their nails over the wood or howl or even bark when it’s time to use the outdoor facilities. Some owners may hang bells from the doorknob and teach their dog to ring the bells and not scratch and ruin the woodwork. Just remember before you get mad at your best friend for wrecking the woodwork and door, you asked him or her to do this. Now you will have to retrain him or her so you won’t have to make repairs every few weeks. Fixing the wood around the door and the door will restore the look to the room. You can repair the wood moldings and door rather than replace them to restore the visual appeal to your home.

Woodwork and Door Repair Preparation

Put on a pair of work gloves to protect your hands and fingers from splinters.

Rub your hand across the woodwork/door to brush away loose splinters.

Pick out any remaining splinters that are attached at one end with needle nosed pliers.

Wrap 180-grit sandpaper around a sanding block and sand flat woodwork and doors to remove any roughness at the edges of the scratches and gouges.

Fill a Zip-Loc bag with flour and zip the top closed. Place the bag into a second Zip-Loc bag and zip the top closed.

Wrap a piece of 180-grit sandpaper around the flour filled bags and sand curved moldings, striated woodwork or any other wood that has carvings or detail. Wrapping the sandpaper around the flour filled bags allows you to push the sandpaper into recesses and it also accommodates curves. Sand the molding to remove bits of loose wood and smooth the roughness around the edges of the scratches and gouges.

 Vacuum the woodwork and door with a shop vacuum to remove the sanding dust.

Fixing Woodwork and Door Scratches

If you have woodwork or wood doors that are stained, choose wood putty in a closely matching color. If you cannot find a good color match, choose wood putty in a color slightly lighter than the existing wood stain color.

If you have paint moldings or doors, choose a natural color wood putty. Try to match the color to the underlying wood. If you can’t find a good match try to match the color to the type of wood. For example if your existing woodwork is oak, choose a light oak wood putty.

Squeeze the wood putty tube and deposit the repair putty onto a disposable plastic plate or if you have a jar of wood putty, scoop some out with a popsicle stick or tongue depressor and put some on the disposable plate.

Dip a flexible plastic putty knife into the wood putty and pick some up on the edge of the knife.

Place the edge of the putty knife next to the scratch and gouge marks and move the knife over the damage while pressing the wood putty into the recesses. Fill the scratches and gouges with wood putty until the putty rests slightly higher than the surface of the woodwork/door.

Let the wood putty dry and harden for one to two hours. If the scratches were very deep, let the wood putty set for two to three hours.

 Wrap 180-grit sandpaper around a sanding block if the surface is flat or wrap 180-grit sandpaper around flour filled Zip-Loc bags if the molding is curved.

Sand the surface of the repair putty until it is smooth and even with the surrounding wood surface.

Wipe the door or woodwork with a tack rag to remove bits of sanding dust.

 Wrap 320-grit sandpaper around the sanding block or flour filled bags and sand over the repair and onto the existing woodwork.

Wipe the woodwork/door with a tack rag.

Wrap 400-grit sandpaper around the bags or sanding block and sand the wood surface a final time to make it smooth and blend seamlessly with the surrounding wood.

Wipe with a tack rag.

Finishing the woodwork/door Repair

If the woodwork or door is painted, apply a coat of interior grade latex primer over the repair. Let the primer dry for three to four hours. Apply a coat of matching color interior grade latex paint over the primer. The repairs will blend better if you paint the entire door or length of molding than if you just paint a small section.

If the woodwork or door is coated with stain and the repair putty is too light, dip a cotton swab into a matching color NEW MOHAWK M840-4004 LIQUID SCRATCH COVER (APPLIANCE ACCESSORIES OTH)liquid scratch cover. Apply a very light coat of scratch cover over the repair and let it dry. If the color is still too light, apply another light coat of scratch cover and let it dry. Continue to add very light coats of liquid scratch cover to slowly build up the color until it matches the surrounding wood color.

If the wood putty matches the color of the wood, dip a rag into paste wood wax and rub a coat over the repaired gouges and scratches in the woodwork or door.

Wood Repair Finishing Tip

Home improvement stores sell a protective vinyl coating that you can put over your wood moldings or doors to protect the surface from future damage.