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How to Repair a Wooden Room Divider

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How to Repair a Wooden Room Divider

You can repair a room divider to look as good as new.

Photo © Jami Delia

I absolutely love decorating rooms with room dividers for more than just dividing sections of a room. Room dividers can add texture and your own personal style to a back wall or in front of a large window. If you're lucky to come across a wooden room divider on the side of the road or pick up one for a great price at a garage sale or thrift store, you may notice it needs some repair. Unfortunately, most room dividers are a bit fragile and can become easily damaged. Instead of tossing it back out to the trash, you can repair a room divider to look just as good as new.

Repairing Tears in the Screen

Depending on the screen's material, you can either spot repair tears and small holes or replace the entire screen.

  • If your screen is made of rice paper, you can repair the small tear or hole with glue or cut out small sections of new rice paper and adhere over the damaged areas. However, if you choose to repair the screen with the later, you will most likely be able to notice the contrast of the old rice paper and the new rice paper.

  • If your screen has multiple unrepairable tears and/or holes, replace the entire screen with new rice paper. You can find rolls of rice paper at your local fabric or interior decorating shop or from many online retailers.

Repairing a Broken Hinge

Most folding room dividers fold and bend because of the hinges in place between each panel. However, these hinges can sometimes break from repeated used. If you have a broken hinge, place your screen on a large, clean surface.

  1. Unscrew the broken hinge from the screen panel and take it with you to your local home improvement store and look for a similar hinge.

  2. Screw in the new hinge and carefully stand the room divider back up.
If the old hinge ripped out of the panel causing damage, remove the hinge as carefully as possible and apply wood putty/filler to reshape the section of the panel. Let the putty/filler dry for a day or two and replace with the existing hinge or a new one if the original hinge was also damaged.

Repairing a Split, Cracked and Chipped Wood Panel

If your room divider panels are made of wood, there's a chance the wood can split, crack or even chip off when moving or from constant contact with other objects, such as a chair or vacuum.

  • For small cracks and chips, apply wood putty/filler to the area with a putty knife and let dry for at least 24 hours. To smooth the surface, sand down with high grit sandpaper until the area is even. Since the putty/filler may dry a lighter color than the original wood, apply a coat of paint to the repaired area to match the rest of the panel.

  • For splits and large cracks, apply a generous amount of wood glue in between the split area and attach a vice grip, or remove the entire panel and gently place in a vice. This keeps the damaged area together while the glue dries.

    Make sure the grip is not too tight, though, to prevent any further damage to the wood. Let the glue dry at least 24 hours. If the split or crack does not look seamless, apply a layer of wood putty/filler and let dry another 24 hours. Sand with high grit sandpaper and apply a coat of paint to the repaired area to match the rest of the panel.
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