Introduction: 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.

Step 1: 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.

Using your 3/8" drill bit, drill out the old screw holes.

Step 3: Dry Fit Your Dowels to Make Sure They Fit.

I dry fitted the dowels to make sure the holes fit right before I added glue to the mix.  They fit perfectly.  Snug, but not overly tight.  In other words, they didn't wiggle around, but there's room for glue in there.  

Don't push them in all the way, or you won't get them back out to add glue.  :)  If you did push them in too far, since this is a hollow core door, you could in theory push them all the way in, and they'd fall into the cavity inside the door if all else failed, and you'd just have to go cut yourself some new dowels.

Step 4: Add Glue.

Add glue to the holes.  Use your shop brush to spread the glue evenly all around the insides of the holes.

Add glue to the dowels, using the brush to spread it evenly around the surface.

Step 5: Insert Dowels.

Push your dowels in, just until they are flush with the surface of the wood.  You don't want them to be inset, or sticking out too far.  They need to be flush so your hinge sits in the opening right and the screws have plenty of wood to hold onto once you reattach them.

After pushing in you'll have a gluey mess left over.  Use a damp washcloth to clean up the mess, being careful not to shove the dowels in too far in the process.

Step 6: The Way-aiting Is the Hardest Part.

At this point I read my glue bottle to see how long I have to wait before reattaching the hinge.  It says not to stress the joint for 24 hours.  Your glue might differ.  Just read your bottle, chill out, and listen to some Tom Petty.  Take photos of stuff and post it to Instructables to kill the time.  Looks like I won't be moving on to the next step until tomorrow.

You can also go ahead and clean up any mess you made up until now.  Wash out your shop brush if you ever want to use it again.  I bought my brushes in a big bag at a store called Harbor Freight for next to nothing, but I still like to take care of them.

Step 7: Mark and Drill New Pilot Holes.

Ok, so you've waited until your glue has fully cured, right?  Me too.  

Now you either need to prop your door up so that it stands up correctly while you work on it, or it might be easier to have a helper hold it up for you if you have someone handy. 

Hold the hinge in place and mark the hole locations.

Use your drill and a small drill bit to drill new pilot holes for your screws.  I am not sure what size bit I used - I eyeballed it.  I just held the bit up to the screws to find one that was slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw shaft.  If you drill a hole too big at this point, you'll be right back where you started. 

Step 8: Reattach the Screws.

Using a screwdriver, reattach the screws.  I'd probably recommend against a driver bit in your power drill, just to make sure you don't use too much force and strip the screws back out again.

Test out the door, and enjoy pooping in private.

See you next time, when Monkey Boy and Disaster Girl strike again!