How to Refinish a Scratched Door Frame & Window Ledge


Door frames and window ledges can take a lot of abuse from passing traffic, pets and other household hazards. Repairing this damage is typically simple. The procedure for repair depends on the type of finish on the woodwork. Matching the color and sheen of the finish on the woodwork is essential to making the repair as close to invisible as possible. Wood-grain finishes will require solvent-based filler and stain. Painted finishes can be patched with body filler putty and paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Wax filler crayon
  • Solvent-based wood filler
  • Stain
  • Putty knife
  • Artist's brushes
  • Clear nail polish
  • Clear finish
  • Auto body filler
  • Paint
  • Oil-binding primer

Stained Ledge or Door Frame Scratch Repair

  • Touch up light scratches with a coat of finish in a matching color. Cover the touch-up with a coat of clear nail polish to restore the gloss.

  • Fill slightly indented scratches with a colored wax filler crayon. Use the color that best matches the stain. Add a coat of clear nail polish over the repair.

  • Smooth off any rough edges surrounding deep scratches with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. Fill the damaged area with the appropriate color of solvent-based professional wood filler. These fillers dry harder and take stain better than typical water-based fillers.

  • Sand the filler down to smooth the surface. Sand window ledge edges and door frame details carefully so that they match the original profile. Brush on a coat of matching stain with an artist's paintbrush. Allow the stain to dry and apply a coat of clear finish with the artist's brush.

Painted Ledge or Door Frame Scratch Repair

  • Apply a touch-up coat of paint in a matching color and sheen if the scratch has not gone below the paint layer. Use paint samples to determine the correct color. Use an artist's brush to apply the paint.

  • Fill deeper scratches with auto body filler putty. Mix gray putty with red activator, nine parts putty to one part activator. Mix it on a disposable scrap of plywood or lumber with a flexible metal putty knife. Use the putty knife to apply the filler. Overfill the scratch slightly and allow the putty to harden, typically 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Sand the putty down until it is even with surrounding surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe the area with a damp rag to remove the dust before painting. Sand window ledge edges and door frame details carefully so that they match the original profile.

  • Apply a coat of oil-binding primer to damaged areas more than an inch wide; smaller areas do not require priming. Brush on two coats of matching paint with a soft-bristle artist's brush, working to avoid runs and drips.

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  • Photo Credit putty knife image by Jim Mills from
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