How to Replace a Broken Slat on a Louvered Door

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Kitchen pantries, closets and other doors and panels throughout the home may feature louvered doors. These doors provide ventilation in closets and allow partial visibility from one room to another. The louvers are generally made of very thin slats of wood and can break when placed under stress. There are several methods to replace the slats when they get broken. You do not need carpentry skills or specialized tools. The slat replacement can be typically completed in an hour with the right tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Narrow-blade wood chisel
  • Mallet
  • Spray paint
  • Screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Replacement slat
  • Nail
  • Open the closet door and brace it from behind with your foot.

  • Work from the back of the door and place a narrow-blade wood chisel at the top of the slot that the broken slat slides into. Gently tap the wood chisel with a mallet to cut the slot open all the way. Repeat the process on the other end of the louver.

  • Remove the broken slat by tapping it with a screwdriver and mallet from the front side of the door.

  • Take the broken louver slat to your local home improvement center and match it up with a wood lattice strip of the same width and thickness. Lattice boards are only available in certain pre-cut lengths. You will need to cut the lattice board at home to custom-fit it to the louvered door.

  • Match the color of the broken lattice to a can of spray paint of the same color.

  • Use a jigsaw to cut the lattice strip to the correct length and sand it with coarse-grain sandpaper to smooth the cut edge. Spray-paint the lattice board and wait for it to dry.

  • Slide the lattice strip into the slots in the door where the broken louver was removed.

  • Drill a small diameter hole into the door frame behind the lattice strip. Gently tap a small nail into the hole to form a barrier to hold the replacement slat in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use a smear of wood glue in the slot that the slat slides into instead of a nail although it will be difficult to remove the slat if it gets broken again.
  • Purchase two lattice strips to replace the broken one. If the replacement slat is damaged during the repair, you still have a backup. If it isn't broken, keep the backup to replace any slats in the future.
  • Do not use spray paint in an enclosed area or near an open flame.
  • Make certain that the painted slat is dry before inserting it into the slot. If it is wet at all, the slat will stick to the slot and be very difficult to remove.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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