I've got a heavy solid-core door with hinge problems. The original
screws have loosened up and stripped out. Several of these were
replaced by what appears to be 3 inch decking screws. Now it appears
that even these decking screws have loosened up and lost traction.
What's the best way to restore solid hinge attachment to the door
frame? These doors are very heavy......
Depending on how chewed up the screw holes are, you can try the old
trick: get a bunch of small slivers of wood and some glue. Cover the
slivers in glue and drive them into the holes, let dry, then re-drill
pilot holes. Sometimes this will save the door. (Toothpicks will work in
some cases, and are especially good if they're the hardwood variety.)
Whatever you do, don't be tempted to use decking or drywall screws here.
Wrong hardware! They're hardened, which makes them much more brittle
(hence more likely to break) than the correct wood screws.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
For something less heavy, I would suggest wooden kitchen match sticks
in the hole (after burning off the sulfur).
For this, maybe round toothpicks. They seem harder than straight
toothpicks, but you can use those too. If the holes are 3 inches, you
probably only need one in the bottom of the hole and one in the top,
but maybe two in each location.
If the round sticks taper too much to suit you, break off the thin
ends and use more than two.
Part of the solution may be in the hinge sizing and number.
Some doors are 1 3/8 thick, some are 1 3/4.
Some doors are 6-8 tall, some are 7-0.
Fairly normal hinge sizes include 3x3, 3 1/2x3 1/2, 4 1/2x4 1/2.
Good commercial doors have hardwood stiles 1" or more thick, many
residential doors have pine stiles. The core of either can be
particle board which can do little to hold screws, so longer is
not helpful. The mortises should carry most of the load of the
A 3-0/7-0 x 1 3/4 solid core door requires 3 each 4 1/2x4 1/2 butt
I suspect the original screw holes were not predrilled and had the
hinge screws forced into pine stiles which split the wood. If the
original holes can be glued/filled/stabilized enough to hold
screws, great. Other solutions involve changing the door, half
mortise hinges, and continuous hinges.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
Most of what has been said is essentially on target, IME. I would
strongly recommend the wood dowel method over the toothpicks, and
certainly over the matches, which are made with too soft a wood. You
indicated that you had a very heavy door, so go with the hardwood
dowel; some are birch, some are oak (you may need to got to a
woodworkers' type store for those), others are of unknown wood. If the
dowel is strong, so will your bond. Make the dowel 3/8in to 1/2in in
diameter, no less, no more, if you can. Titebond II glue will do very
However, another issue is the quality of the screws; no deck screws,
no drywall screws, for sure. You can buy excellent screws at Mcfeely's
(web), but not-so-good screws at HD or Lowe's. Make sure that they
have nice sharp threads. Make sure you drill the dowel with a bit that
is a hair smaller than the shank of the screws, and you will have no
On Apr 12, 7:40 am, email@example.com wrote:
If you use a dowel and drill an oversize hole to fit the dowel, you'll
be screwing into end grain, which is not as strong of a connection,
but since the screw is called on to do most of the work when it is in
shear, it's not a big issue. If the original screw has stripped the
wood, then pretty much any wood glued in the existing hole will work,
whether it's matches, toothpicks, golf tees or pieces of wood shaved
off the corner of a board with a utility knife. As Dan noted, the
mortises do most of the work holding the door up and the screws are
just keeping the hinge leaves in the mortises. His comment about the
4.5" hinges is the textbook answer, and it is largely correct as it
allows a fourth screw per leaf. You can also use 4 hinges per door,
but that is really only an option on new door installations.
The decking screws are a lazy and uniformed way of tightening up a
door hinge. The idea is not bad - trying to hit the stud behind the
jamb - but it's the wrong type of screw and usually unnecessary. It
is worth noting that the correct 3" or 3.5" screw does increase
security a small amount, but it presents other issues with expansion
and contraction of the wood jamb and framing. People often confuse a
longer screw with being a more secure connection. This is only
If your mortises are cut tight, and use use the standard screws that
come with the hinge, there will rarely be problems except for periodic
tightening that is inherent in fasteners working loose in assemblies
subjected to repeated movement, vibration and slamming, all of which
will loosen the fastener's hold over time. The cheapest insurance, as
with anything else in construction, is periodic inspection and
maintenance. Go around the house with a screwdriver and tighten the
hinge screws. Do that a couple of times within a year and you'll
quickly determine which doors are problematic and will benefit from
the glued slivers trick.
I like Dan's response best. Since the original install failed, I
suspect strongly that the original hinges were not correct and or were
insufficient in number.
You need large heavy duty hinges and likely you need more of them than
were originally used. The other part of the question is where are the
hinges. The door frame often is re-enforced at the hinge points and may not
have solid wood behind it at other points. I would also suggest not using
the same locations for the hinges as you will be working with repaired wood
at best. It has already been compromised so consider moving them.
There are plenty of solid core doors with three 3.5" hinges that don't
have a problem. What usually happens is someone doesn't pick up on
the hinge screws being loose, then the screw threads scrape away the
supporting wood as the door is stresses/operated. Then the screws are
tightened, it strips the hole, and Mr. Fixit attempts to compensate by
overtightening the other screws.
As long as the door and frame are painted - otherwise it'll look
pretty bad when the door's open.
I like to "over design" things. Like instead of using 3 hinges, use 4. And
instead of using the screws provided with the hinges, use longer screws.
And also find the largest hinges which can be used which will then have
larger screw holes and you can then use larger screws.
I suppose you could even place 2 hinges near the top to give additional
Another option would be to router out an opening in the door where a 3 1/2
inch screw (screwed into the hinge) would end in the door. Then use a
machine screw and place a washer/lock washer/nut in the routered out
opening. Maybe two of these screws for the top hinge, then wood screws for
all the rest. (Depends on design or door. This could weaken certain doors or
may not be possible on some doors.)
"Elias D" wrote in message
Alot of the other responses cover everything pretty well, but one
item that I use to rework screw holes are golf tees. They are
made from a harder wood and are the perfect size to drive into
the old screw holes and then saw off flush. Covered in glue,
they are the best thing that I have found to solve this issue.
Another thing I consider when doing a repair or especially a
re-repair, that you don't say, is how long did it last originally and
how long did the repair last. I have things that are 50, 80 years old
and a little bit that is older. If the last repair worked for 20 or
30 years, I'll often do the same thing again. Especially if it's easy
and I can do it again 20 years from now.
Of course that doesn't changing nothing, especially when the threads
that once existed in the wood are partly or totally gone. Even a
minimum repair requires bigger screws or or adding wood to the hole.
The previous guy did one or the other of these things.
BTW, if you are not removing the whole hinge, you should do one screw
at a time, so the door stays in place. If the door is sagging, maybe
don't make the final tightening of the screws until you have a helper
to take the weight off the hinges, so the screws center. If you don't
take the door off, It may be easier to redo the screws in the upper
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