How to repair stripped screw holes for a door hinge.

Picture of How to repair stripped screw holes for a door hinge.
I am the father of 2 young kids, henceforth known as "Monkey Boy" and "Disaster Girl." As they break stuff around the house, I try to fix it. 

This is how I fixed my bathroom door.  

One day, Monkey Boy decided to swing with his full weight, hanging from the door handle of the bathroom door.  Not surprisingly, the screws holding the hinge to the 30-year old bathroom door decided that they'd had enough, and gave up.  The screws pulled out of the door and the holes were permanently stripped.  

Like most ordinary folks, we enjoy privacy during bathroom time, so I needed to fix it.

I had tried the toothpick and glue method shown here in the past on another door in the house when something similar happened involving a gaggle of giggling teenagers.  It did not work well for me, so I decided to try a more robust method.  

I'll be drilling out the stripped holes and gluing in dowels to fill the holes.
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of What you'll need:
You'll need:

A drill
A wooden dowel (I used a 4ft long 3/8" poplar dowel - $0.84 at a local store)
A saw of some kind if you need to cut your dowel
A 3/8" drill bit (I used a Forstner bit)
Wood glue
Shop brush
A smaller drill bit (to drill new pilot holes after you've patched the old holes)
A screwdriver

The dowel I bought was 48" long, so I cut off three pieces that were around 1.5" long.  I didn't measure, and used a little hand coping saw to cut them to size.  I had some 80 grit sandpaper nearby so I used that to smooth and square off the rough looking cuts I made.  

Step 2: Drill out the old holes.

Picture of Drill out the old holes.
Using your 3/8" drill bit, drill out the old screw holes.
artworker1 year ago
Master stroke! Perfect by the book instructable!
FloydimusPrime (author)  artworker10 months ago
Thanks! :)

I ended up using slightly wider and longer screws to fix my door. I just drilled the hole a bit deeper. The guy at Home Depot kept telling me to use this technique but I found it much simple to use my method. Not sure if I am missing something. I'm sure this method works as well but just seems over-complicated.

randijoward2 months ago

Hey Thanks for posting!! What a great Idea! I have two doors that I need to fix (because I have 2 small kids that like to do the same thing to does).

I have to admit I was skeptical when I read this....I was convinced that as soon as I started screwing in new screws, the dowels were going to pop in and I would be out of luck. But I did give it a try, and am happy to report that it worked like a charm! I did hold off and let it dry for more than 24 hours, as suggested, so would recommend anyone else doing it to also be patient. Thanks for saving me from having to buy a new door!

theburack made it!3 months ago

Thanks for these instructions, worked like a charm. The whole door frame needs to be replaced for now I have a bathroom door that closes!

djscott791 year ago
wonderful idea I'll remember this in years to come when my doors fall off I caught my 4yo swinging in her door handle th other day and I remember doing the same thing when I was young so it gonna happen lol I'm guessing the same can be done on the door frame side of things, when I last took my doors off to paint I'm sure there were a few screws that went in but didn't tighten up
FloydimusPrime (author)  djscott7910 months ago
I've seen my kids swinging on more doors since then. I'm surprised I haven't had to fix more doors yet! :)
Great Ible, One suggestion though, rather than trying to hold the door up, or have someone else try to hold it. Hardware stores sell packs of wood shims for dirt cheap just for this purpose.
FloydimusPrime (author)  TANZMEISTER10 months ago
Good suggestion! I actually propped the door up with a book. :)
MorNuN1 year ago
this is a great ible, a brilliant idea! but may I ask why wouldn't you use some longer screws?
it seems to me that they would hold longer and don't strip so easily.
FloydimusPrime (author)  MorNuN10 months ago
You're right, longer screws would be good. This is a hollow core door and the wood along the edge of the door is not very thick anyway. But you're right, the screws that I took out of the door are pretty short.
fredfx made it!10 months ago

I just used this technique for a door and one of the things that I added was a 3" piece of 1x1 that was cut off flat on one end that I used to tap the dowels flush. Other than that, I followed your instructions and it worked great.
Also, I went to the hardware store and the screws I used were #10 x 1.5" brass screws.

This hinge is VERY solid now. Well done my friend.

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FloydimusPrime (author)  fredfx10 months ago
Great! I'm glad to hear this was helpful. My door is still holding strong. Great suggestion on the 1x1 scrap to tap in the dowels!
fredfx11 months ago

I just did this and it was super easy.
Way to go! Perfect intractable.....

Our house was built in 1913 and there are a TON of hinged windows......I can see more of this in my future!


fredfx12 months ago

You rock. This is a great idea. I'm all over it!

pfred21 year ago
People usually make a fuss over gluing wood cross grain. I'm also not usually a fan of putting fasteners into end grain myself. But your method seems sound enough to me.
ardnon1 year ago
Nicely done. Great illustration of this technique that works in lots of situations.
Nice idea. I've used cheapo chopsticks left over from chinese take out with good results.
jshroyer1 year ago
Nice work.
aaahotdog1 year ago
I have used toothpicks with poor results, various rock hard fillers with mixed results, will have to try this. Thanks for sharing.
neo716651 year ago
Wooden golf tees fit in most striped door hinge holes without having to drill them out bigger.
Yeah -I do the same with wooden matches.