Repairing Summerhouse Doors

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
7 Oct 2010
Reaction score
Exmouth Devon
Hello chaps,

I have a summerhouse in the garden and unfortunately, the bottoms of the doors (all 4 of them) have gone rotten.

Having browsed the internet, it would seem that replacing them will be quite an expensive outlay. I have tried to come up with what I hope might just be a viable solution and not too expensive too! I have looked all over the summerhouse to see if I can find a nameplate of the manufacturer but cannot see anything.

I have attached a couple of images and wonder if anyone might be able to spare a moment to have a look at them and to let me know if they think that my idea would work, or not. I have the equipment to do the work but, my main concern is if the finished job will be strong enough to stand the opening and closing of the doors. They don't take too much of a battering in the general scheme of things and they will be waterproof treated.

My idea is to cut off the rotting part of each of the doors, say about 300mm up and to replace it with new timber. I have mentioned in my hand drawing, (please excuse the primitiveness of the drawing) that the joints could be by way of mortice and tenons, 10mm dowells x 6, or, a series of biscuits (6?). I will go with whichever it is felt would give the best and strongest outcome. The dowells or biscuits would be the easiest route for me but, I would be able to use the mortice and tenon method at a push if that would be best. I have also attached a drawing of an alternative way of doing the repair, which came to mind whilst I was watching TV. This alternative is in respect of the upright sections of each door and would involve using what I would refer to as a half lap joint. I'm not sure that that is the correct terminology but I'm sure you will know what I mean. This method would also be easier for me than going down the mortice and tenon route. Having said that, I do have a Trend Mortice and Tenon Jig but have only ever used it once.

I would also remove the whole of the centre panel from each of the doors and replace each one with a single sheet of say 6mm plywood, suitably treated.

The top half (glazed sections) of each door are pretty good and just need a bit of work to tidy up.

My drawing shows the left-hand side of a door upright of which there will be four and equally so of the right-hand side.

Thanks again for looking, and for any suggestions that may be offered.


  • Summerhouse Doors_1.jpg
    Summerhouse Doors_1.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 0
  • Summerhouse Doors possible solution.pdf
    180.3 KB · Views: 0
  • Summerhouse Doors possible alternative solution.pdf
    153.4 KB · Views: 0
I've done something similar in the past, but it was only one rotten patch to an otherwise good door.

The half lap type joint is better than the butt joint IMHO, (Actually more of a Z type joint) as it gives more surface area for the glue. I would also use several glued dowels, and screws to secure it as well as glue.
The trickiest part (For me) was matching the look of the original door to the new elements. More sanding was probably the answer.
Somebody has already repaired those bottom corners to a level higher than the existing rails. If you do attempt to join bits onto the bottom of the rails definitely use the second method but it will only be a stopgap measure till they go again.
Sorry for the bad news but they really are just a mess of rotten wood which you will discover when you start to probe, the bottoms of the t&g planks will have gone as well.
And sorry more bad news I suspect when you start to dig you will find the front bottom "skirting" will have gone, as well as the main frame behind. I think the problem is the eaves aren’t protecting it from rain and a generally bad design to start with.
Piano hinges suggests that they were homemade btw.
Sorry to be blunt. Ian
Last edited:
You will have to make a new bottom for each door, with a bottom rail tenoned into two new sections of stile.. The height at which you attach the splice should be different on each stile to rule out introducing a fault line across the door. The splices themselves can be whatever type you choose. If you are going for a simple lap it would be well worth incorporating an angle at the top, so water is shed downward. and also gluing and screwing from behind.

It will be a lot easier to carry out this work with the doors removed and on a bench. If this is not possible, then at least do all the new work in the workshop including the splices on the new wood.

I can't quite tell, but the doors don't look to be grooved to take the panels. It may well be that the panels are held in by bead from both sides, which will make your job a whole lot easier.

Best of luck, Niall
Thank you chaps for your valued input, much appreciated. I'm keen to carry out some sort of repair mainly because the summerhouse is otherwise in excellent condition. I put a new roof on it a few years ago and the sides and the floor are in excellent condition. I lined and insulated the inside and I installed power and lighting and so it is very cozy in there. I'm 83 now and I expect that we will be downsizing to a flat of some sort in the next couple of years or so, therefore a repair that's likely to see us through until then will be fine.
@Cabinetman, I think you'r right that the doors have been repaired previously and it is at that point that they are breaking down again.
@niall Y, the panels are not grooved-in, they are as you say, beaded both sides. Yes, I will be able to remove the doors enabling me to work on them in my workshop (garage).

The doors are 425mm wide and I was just wondering. What about the idea of some sort of galvanised plate on the inside? I am thinking, cut off the bottom back to sound wood, say 300mm, carrying out the repairs as suggested, and then adding a plate that is say 400mm wide by 500mm long. This would straddle the new joint by 200mm or thereabouts. The plate could be about 3mm thick, drilled and countersunk at 100mm spacing up the stiles and across the bottom rail. Surely this would add considerable strength to the repair and could be painted the same as the inside of the summerhouse.
Or instead of a metal plate, anothere piece of 5mm plywood?

Thanks again for the help thus far.
Last edited:
I suspect the rot has been caused by two things.

The beading creates a groove so when water runs down the door it's getting trapped between the face of the boarding and the back of the bead, it's better if the boarding runs over the front of the bottom rail so there isn't a water trap.

I suspect the doors have probably sagged a bit and are sitting on the floor with no gap under so will be soaking water up and never really dry out.

A lap joint is the way to go for the stiles then maybe use a piece of 18mm ply for the panel, this could be screwed in place and it would help hold it all together, should be good for a couple of years.

Latest posts