Removing Stripped Screws From Door Hinges

Have you noticed a door that feels loose at the hinges? The screws and the holes they’re drilled into may be stripped. By stripped, we mean that the drilled holes and screws are unable to efficiently hold the weight of the door. This can create wear on the door jamb and cause the door to improperly shut, so the screws don’t fit snugly anymore. What should you do about this problem? Luckily, it’s a relatively cheap and easy fix! Here is a step by step guide to making these repairs by plugging the holes and using new screws.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A screwdriver
  • A power drill
  • A drill bit
  • A wooden dowel (should be same size as drill bit) or wooden golf tee
  • Wood saw (handheld or mechanical)
  • Wood glue (Preferably Gorilla Glue)
  • New screws

You probably have most of these items on hand, except for the dowel or golf tee. Now that you have an idea of what you’ll need for this task, we can get started.

  1. Strip Out the Old Screws from the Door Hinge: Depending on how stripped the holes are, the screws may easily pull out. Otherwise, screw them out and discard properly. You can leave the hinge attached to the door if those holes are in good condition. If not, remove those too. Unless your door has three hinges, you’ll need to pop the pins of the hinge to remove the door.
  2. Drill New Holes: Next, you’ll take your power drill and create new holes. Doing this not only cleans up the existing hole but prepares it for the wooden plug. The drill bit should only be 3/8” or ½” so as to not go beyond the perimeters of your hinge. Drill in about an inch. Blow off residual dust.
  3. Plugging the Holes: If you’re using a wooden dowel, if must be the same size as the drill bit you used. Otherwise, you won’t get the tight fit that’s needed! Insert the dowel into the first hole and measure how far it goes in with a pencil. Pull it out and cut it with a saw into a small bit. This should be about an inch. You’ll do the rest of the holes just like this, so you end up with a bunch of little dowel pieces. These will give the holes some sturdy backing. Using a wood glue, you’ll coat the dowel pieces and slot them into the newly drilled holes. We recommend that you use Gorilla Glue, as it does a great job of expanding in the hole. They should fit very snugly, and you may have to hammer them in if you can’t push them all the way in. Allow the glue to dry for roughly 30 minutes. Choosing to not wait could move the pieces around in the hole, which isn’t what we want when drilling into them.

    *We have also seen many folks using wooden golf tees. This is also a valid avenue to take. Simply insert the tees into the holes after coating them in wood glue, and then hammer them all the way in. Take your hand and break off the top of the tee. Quickly sand the jagged top with a file or sandpaper and allow it to set.

  4. Pre-Drill the Holes and Put in New Screws: Once the glue is dried, pre-drill the new holes about half an inch so you can start the screws by hand. You can mark the wood through the openings in the hinge for accuracy. Line the hinge back up with the holes and start the new screws. The important thing to remember here is to not overtighten! You’ll just end up stripping the hole again. Get the screws just tight enough with the screwdriver to where the hinge doesn’t budge.
  5. Finishing Up: Repeat this process for the second hinge (and third if applicable) to fully repair the stripped holes. You should end up with a very sturdy result! This repair will also work for striker plates.

During this removal and repair process, you may wish to go ahead and replace your door hinges. Maybe the ones you’re working with are old or simply not aligned with your home’s color scheme. At Hardware Source, we offer hundreds of beautiful hinges for doors. You’ll find traditional, modern, European, and so many more styles in the colors you need. Whether you need butt, spring, or heavy-duty hinges, we’ve got them! We even carry a wide range of screws, so you can get the perfectly matching ones for your new hinges. It’ll be easy to find the right measurements and, best of all, we ship the next business day. Whether you’re a contractor, homebuilder, or homeowner, we’re your source for high-quality hardware at an affordable price.