Fixing a bowed front-door... age old problem

5 Nov 2013
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United Kingdom
Hi. I live in a 1895 Victorian house and I believe the front door is original, but unfortunately it is warped. At some point the hinge at the door's lower right (in pic) has been moved out away from the door stop so that the door sits 8mm proud. But even so, the top left of the door is still ~30mm proud. The lower left and top right corners are flush. There is no single member that is badly warped; everything thing seems to be a little off which culminates in ~40mm across the door's diagonal.

On the outside the door is sheltered so very rarely gets wet. The paint is in good condition. I've done a lot of research but never seen a satisfactory resolution. People talk about using weights or damp towels to straighten the door but it seems if the bow is ever rectified it is temporary.

I was thinking about doing something more invasive. The door is 50mm thick so I thought about cutting out channels all around the door (30mm wide * 50mm deep) and gluing in hardwood. If this is done when the door is flat I think it may have a chance of staying that way. Has anyone tried such a thing? Or anything else that has worked in the longterm? I'm happy to attempt to re-engineer the door to some extent. I'm trying to avoid replacing the whole door and transferring over the glass.


Lower right hinge, door 8mm proud

top left, door 30mm proud
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Party? What party?
15 Nov 2005
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Cook Islands
I have racked dozens of old panelled doors back to straight, it is very easy. Indoor ones are easier as they are not so solidly made. They can be done without taking them off the hinges, with one foot and one hand.

As yours has glass in it you had better take that out first.

You bend it back a bit further that straight, because it will spring back. It will make frightening cracking noises. This is just old paint cracking out.

The old paint in the joints will be glueing it into its current shape, if you are thinking of stripping and repainting it, do that first, especially cleaning out round the edges of the panels.

Or, if you can find a skilled joiner, he could take it apart, remake, glue and wedge all the joints. In that case you might take all the old paint and filler off first. A M&T door is a very simple piece of construction. It would pain me to cut one about and add reinforcing strips.

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