How To Fix Stripped Screw Hole In Wood Cabinet [Causes and Solutions]

Stripped screw holes can affect the tightness of the doors on our wooden cabinets and storage compartments. If your closet door loosens up, you should look into fixing the stripped screw hole in the wood cabinet.

A loose door on a wooden closet and cabinet can raise concerns about the security of our personal belongings. Simply having a partial door opening may allow people, pests, and dust particles to access our items.

Nonetheless, the usual culprit for this problem is a loosely-fastened screw due to a damaged screw hole. The factors that lead to this can be a natural overwearing or misuse of tools in fastening the door hinges.

As simple as this problem may be, the consequences can be bothersome for us. Nonetheless, there are simple, do-it-yourself procedures in repairing these screw holes and tightening the storage doors.

We have listed these procedures down for you to follow. Scroll down to learn more!

What Causes a Stripped Screw Hole In a Wood Cabinet?

Like any other door mechanism, wooden cabinet doors are attached to the door frame through hinges on their stiles. These allow the opening and closing of the doors of the cabinet.

Attaching and fastening these hinges require screws inserted to drilled holes on the door and door frame. The sizes of these screws should be appropriate to the pre-drilled holes of these hinges.

However, the strength of these wooden cabinet doors may deteriorate over time. This can happen when wooden screw holes behind these hinges are stripped that they cannot hold the screw threads properly.

As a result, the screws may loosen up from the hole, and the closet door may get sagged. You may find it difficult to shut the door properly.

What are the factors that contribute to this problem? Listed below are some reasons for the stripping of screw holes in our wooden cabinet doors.

Natural Wear

The natural wearing and tearing of wooden screw holes usually go hand-in-hand with the constant use of closet doors each day. Over time, these holes will become larger than they used to be and may not support the screws attached to them.

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Continuous Vibration or Use

Wooden screw holes can only hold so much force and pressure when we often open and close the cabinet doors every day. This is especially the case for cabinets and storage in busy areas such as the kitchen.

To give you a perspective, Americans tended to prepare meals for about 37 minutes every day on average in 2016. Meanwhile, more than half of Americans said that they became more active in cooking at the start of the Pandemic.

We can assume that heightened activity in the kitchen includes opening and closing cabinet doors repeatedly each day. These may lead to the wearing and tearing of screw holes and hinges over time.

Improper Installation

Exerting too much pressure into the fastening of screws can result in stripped screw holes. You may end up damaging the wooden spots and fibers, making them incapable of holding screws through their threads.

Low-Quality Materials

Screws, hinges, and low-quality wood can also contribute to the wearing and tearing of screw holes. Materials that are of poor quality may not withstand extreme pressure.

For instance, mechanical fasteners such as screws vary in tensile strength. Screws classified as SAE Grades 4 and lower have lower tensile strength than those with Grades 5 and above.

Certain wooden materials such as melamine are also known to have weaker strength against certain amounts of pressure during installation.

Nonetheless, you can minimize and avoid further damages brought by stripped screw holes. Listed below are some procedures for fixing damaged screw holes in wooden cabinets.

Ways To Fix Stripped Screw Hole In Wood Cabinet

1. Use a Larger Screw Size

One method that you can do is to replace the worn-out screw with a larger one. Depending on the hole’s current size, you may opt to use screws with higher diameter measurements and rougher threads.

However, a professional argued that larger screws might be incompatible with door hinges suitable for screws of specific sizes.

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Yet, according to The Spruce Crafts, screw replacements should be one or two gauge levels higher than the size of the old screw. You should also be careful in forcefully installing larger screws to avoid adding more damage to an already stripped screw.

2. Buy a Screw Repair Kit

Screw repair kits come in many variants, ranging from plastic anchors or stainless steel strips to a comprehensive set of screw repair tools. Just a quick search on any online shopping site, and you’ll find a lot of these kits for you to choose from.

Depending on the kit you’re using, it’s important to remember that these are only band-aid solutions. These may not work in conditions that require intensive repairs.

3. Use an Epoxy and Hardwood Filler

Hardwood fillers and epoxy putties are common in filling up cracks and small holes on the wooden floor. However, these can also be used to refill stripped screw holes.

For this, you’ll need some amounts of hardwood fillers and a bunch of toothpicks. Immerse the toothpicks on the filler, and insert them on the damaged screw hole.

Once the filler has dried up on the hole, cut off the toothpick parts exposed from the hole. Try to drill the hole, insert the screws and attach the hinges on the screw hole.

However, not all wood fillers are intended for drilling. Low-quality simple wood fillers made from sawdust and chalk are not for inserting a power drill and screw.

4. Try The Matchstick/Toothpick Fix

Similar to the process above, you can also use matchsticks, toothpicks, and pieces of hardwood dowels to fill the hole. This might require the use of wood glue and sandpaper as well.

Put some tiny amounts of wood glue into the hole before filling it with sticks. Ensure that the posts cover all parts of the spot and leave no gaps.

After filling the hole, break all exposed parts of the sticks. Smooth the surface with sandpaper before re-drilling and attaching the screw.

5. Use Threaded Inserts

If all of your attempts fail to secure a fixed wooden closet door, you can use threaded inserts to do the trick. Also known as “tee nuts,” tube-shaped inserts with interior and exterior screw thread designs.

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These inserts provide added grip to the attached screws and bolts. In this case, these are very helpful if the hole is already worn out and won’t bite the screw threads anymore.

If you wish to use threaded inserts for the stripped screw hole, you should look into the appropriate insert type. Type E and Type D are the common threaded insert variants for wooden surfaces.

Type D inserts are usually for near-surface installation, while Type E nuts are for screw attachments below the wooden surface.

Assembling inserts requires a power drill and drill bit, hex keys and drivers, and wood glue. Screws should have the appropriate size relative to the size of the threaded insert you’ll be using.

Listed below is the process of applying threaded inserts on wood screw holes.

  1. Remove the door hinges and screws. Carefully drill a hole on the part of the frame where the screw hole is positioned.

Tip: Be mindful of the drill bit that you’re using. Ensure that you’re using an appropriate drill bit for the threaded insert.

  1. Apply tiny amounts of wood glue to the insert. Using a hex key, screw the insert on the hole you just drilled.
  2. Leave it as is for the next 24 hours for the glue to dry up. After that, re-install the screws and door hinges.

Tips To Prevent Your Cabinet Screw Holes From Stripping

Prevention is always better than cure — or repairs, in this case.

The screw holes in wooden cabinets and closets will strip from constant use over time. Even if you’re careful enough, time will tell whether you need to check the screw holes for potential damage.

Nonetheless, you can avoid abrupt stripping of screws and loosening of screw holes through these preventive measures:

Put Wood Glue to the Screw

Before any installation, apply small amounts of wood glue to the screw. Carefully insert it on the screw hole and avoid tightening it too much.

Provide Friction for the Screw Using Small Sticks

For added grip, fill the hole toothpicks, matchsticks, and similar items before inserting the screw. Apply a locking glue to tighten the screw further.

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Avoid Putting Pressure on Screws and Hinges

One of the reasons for the damage in screw holes is too much force in installing screws and hinges. Overtightening the screws also brings harm to the wood fibers inside the hole.

Because of this, you should practice installing the screws and hinges properly. This includes carefully inserting the screws without excessive force.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How Do You Fill Stripped Screw Holes In Wood Cabinets?

Like punctures in wooden cabinets, damaged screw holes can be filled using hardwood fillers and wood putty. Here’s the procedure for applying these substances in screw holes.

  1. Remove old screws and used hinges on the cabinet hole that needs to be filled.
  2. Fill appropriate amounts of filler or putty into the hole.

Depending on the quality and appearance of the cabinet, wood fillers may create a stain on the cabinet. If this is the case, apply the hole with putty instead.

  1. Remove excess amounts of fillers from the hole you just filled. Ensure that the layered filler is even to the surface of the cabinet.
  2. Let the filler dry up for a couple of hours, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Repeat the preceding steps if you notice bubbles on the area with wood filler or putty.
  4. Use sandpaper to make the area smooth.
  5. Depending on the cabinet, you might want to apply paint on the area with putty or filler.

Can You Drill Screws Into Wood Filler?

Wood fillers come in distinct variants, such as:

  1. Simple Wood Filler – These are made from sawdust, linseed, or chalk, complemented with carpenter’s glue.
  2. Two-Part Epoxy Wood Filler – This kind of wood filler requires a two-step application: creating an undercoat first before adding another layer of stuffing.
  3. Exterior Wood Fillers – These are waterproof fillers that can withstand outdoor conditions. This is applicable for filling holes and cracks in pieces of wood that are exposed to nature.
  4. Multi-Purpose Wood Fillers – The most powerful of all wood fillers on this list has the combined exterior features and two-part wood fillers.
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Given these, everything but the simple wood filler can handle pressure from drilling. Fillers that were put correctly in holes and cracks will also withstand drilling.

Wood Putty And Wood Filler: What Are The Differences?

Wood putty and filler are helpful in the application of wooden holes and cracks. However, they differ in their material and intended use.

For instance, wood putty is produced with plastic and oil-based compounds. These are ideal for outdoor wood installations as they can withstand various weather conditions.

Meanwhile, as the name suggests, wood filler is made from wood mixed with binder material particles. Unlike putty, these are perfect for wooden equipment and appliances inside houses and indoor halls.

Make The Most Of Your Carpentry Installations

Stripped screw holes are a problem that needs immediate fixing. Fortunately, there are ways on how to fix stripped screw holes in the wood cabinet.

Wooden materials require adequate care during woodwork and maintenance. Unlike metal sheets and steel bars, wood can be damaged when excessive pressure is applied.

Even on regular days, wooden furniture and equipment can loosen up after months or years of use. Because of this, you should remind yourself of the proper ways of maintaining wooden cabinet doors and similar furniture.

The best way to avoid damage with the things you use is prevention, maintenance, and correct usage of your furniture.

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