Tuesday, 18 December 2012

How to Fix a Stripped Screw Hole

For a while now our bathroom door has not been latching closed properly, which is a pain when you need to lock the cats out while you pee!  Today my hubby decided to take the strike plate off to see what the problem was - turns out the wood it was screwed into was well and truly stripped, and from the looks of things we are not the first tenants to attempt to fix it.  Unfortunately a lot of things in our house are like this - which comes from living in government housing where none of the tenants (except us) seem to actually care about the place!
The top screw hole is totally stripped, and the
bottom one is headed that way

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be an uncommon problem - it's the second time I've come across it in places I've lived in.  Here is what the wood looks like behind the strike plate.  As you can see, the top hole has been absolutely stripped bare, and there is no way short of using a screw too big for the strike plate that you can get anything to hold in this hole!

When hubby's attempts to fix the problem only made things worse (don't ask!), I ended up taking over.  My way may be a bit of a quick and dirty solution, but hey - it works!  I have even used it to fix a stripped weight-bearing top hinge on the front door of the last place I lived with total success, and no recurrence of the problem in the two or more years since then.  I do sometimes get annoyed at him being the man of the house, but me being the one who knows how to fix things and who is good with the contents of a tool box - but hey, I guess at least one of us knows how to fix the place. 

  • wood glue
  • matches or toothpicks
  • hammer
  • stanley knife or cutting pliers

Thoroughly coat one end of several match sticks in wood glue (as many as you can jam into the stripped hole).  Push each match stick glue side first into the hole, tapping them securely in with the hammer.  Once you have filled the hole and jammed everything in tight, use the knife or pliers to cut off any excess stick hanging out of the hole.  A bit of a gap left is ok, but do try to get as many sticks jammed in there as you can.

Stripped hole partially filled with match sticks

Ideally, allow the wood glue to dry before doing anything else (or do what I did which is get impatient and just do it straight away).  Then mark out carefully where the screw needs to be so that the strike plate is in the right spot for the door latch, and rescrew in place.  If you have a self-tapping screw you won't need to drill a guide hole.

All fixed!

Voila - a quick and dirty fix for a stripped screw hole - but one that works well and stays fixed!  Enjoy your working door latch :)