Loose Hinges and Screws

No, I am not talking about mine. I am talking about your doors and how to fix them.

Doors that now hit the door jam when you close them, or flop around at the hinge, are normally caused by our dear children hanging and swinging on door knobs or by piles of clothing by the wall or behind the door. When they open the door and push it against the clothes the door acts like a teeter-tooter and pulls the bottom hinge and screws out of the door jam. Replacing the screws with longer ones only work if they can grab the board behind the door jam. Often screw holes are to close to the edge of the door jam and longer screws only go into the dry wall next to the door. The board behind the door jam is narrower than the jam so the dry wall can butt up close to the jam and piece of trim that covers this.


Filling the screw holes with wood putty is not recommended. This not strong enough! For the best and fastest fix I recommend cutting large slivers off the corner end of a pine board. A scrap piece of 2X4 works well. A box cutter or sharp knife will do the job; Start your cut about an inch to an inch and a half from the end of the board, at a corner so you are cutting away from yourself, an angle cut slightly into the board so you will end up with a sliver that is large enough to fill the hole. The piece should be pointed at one end and triangular at the other, about 3/16 to 1/4 thick at the thickest part of your sliver.

Now just hammer this into the hole. Hammer it flush with the surface. If your sliver went into easy, just add another smaller one, if your sliver is to big just cut the excess off. Filling the hole tightly makes a good repair. Set your hinge into its slot and install your screw. If you have to drill a pilot hole use a drill bit no thicker that your screws body, the thickness of a screw with out the threads. Eye ball check here is fine if in doubt use a slightly smaller drill bit.

I have had this kind of repair last for years. Thanks for reading.

Leo the Repair Guy

February 24, 20090 found this helpful

Go to hardware store buy a dowel rod to fit the hole. Push rod in the hole then break off clean at the hole entrance put screw back in for a tight fit. This way there is no danger of cutting yourself.

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February 24, 20090 found this helpful

You can also use tooth picks to fix a loose hinge. Fill the hole with wood tooth picks, then cut or break them off to fit the hole. It works very well, good luck.

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February 24, 20090 found this helpful

It never hurts to add a few drops of glue to whatever wooden fillers you use to close the screw hole. Let the glue set up before drilling a new pilot hole.

If that doesn't work, relocate the bad hinge. There's plenty of room on the jamb to do that. It's not really that hard to do either. And -- nobody except a carpenter will ever notice.

50 years in the trade have taught me a few things.

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February 24, 20090 found this helpful

Thats a good idea "Repair Guy" . . . . but from a "Fix-it" MoM, I have been fixing loose screws with match sticks and toothpicks for years! Putting a knife to wood is not a good idea for me! Would cost me way to much in Band-aids and trips to the Dr's office! But my husband thinks your way is great - must be a guy thing! Thanks

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February 27, 20090 found this helpful

My Dad always used wooden golf tees for this repair. They work really well and you can skip the step that requires cutting a piece of triangular shaped wood.

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February 27, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks for posting that one- that's exactly what I've done in the past to repair hinge issues, with the exception that instead of cutting wood bits off of scrap wood, I've used the flat-style toothpicks (they don't work very well for their intended use, so why not?) This technique also works well for wooden knobs on dressers, which my little darlings seem intent on stripping out for good! ;)

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March 19, 20090 found this helpful

Another possibility would be to temporarily take out the hinge pins and separate the door from the hinges. Then put the loose screws back in with a powerful epoxy like JB Weld, with or without filler. Once that cures, reinstall the door. Those screws will never come out again except with a jack hammer.

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Fixing Loose Door Hinges
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