How to Fix a Wooden Door Frame When the Screws Do Not Work

Written by jonra springs
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How to Fix a Wooden Door Frame When the Screws Do Not Work
Rusted door hinges can mean loose screws. (old joint image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

The screws that go into a door frame hold the door on by the hinges. There are a number of problems that occur when the door hinges aren't fastened properly. Drafts can result around an exterior door due to the door meeting the frame improperly. An exterior or interior door may not close or latch due to misalignment. There's usually a problem in the wood whenever screws don't work in a door frame. Reinforce the wood, and the screws will hold securely.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Eye protection
  • Power drill
  • 1/8 inch drill bit
  • Helper
  • Screw gun
  • Wooden matchsticks or dowels
  • Wood glue
  • Chisel

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  1. 1

    Remove the screws holding the hinges with a screw gun set to reverse. Ask a helper to hold a heavy exterior door as you remove the hinge screws. Take out all the screws from all hinges and remove the door.

  2. 2

    Fill the holes that do not hold screws with wood glue and matchsticks or small wood dowels. Allow at least three hours for glue to dry.

  3. 3

    Chisel off any wood sticking out of the hole. Chip away all glue and wood until the area around the holes is flush with the wood that seats the hinge.

  4. 4

    Put on goggles or safety glasses and drill pilot holes into the filled screw holes with a power drill and a 1/8-inch drill bit. Make the holes slightly less deep than the screws will penetrate.

  5. 5

    Replace the door and seat the middle hinge. Ask a helper to keep an exterior door in position as you replace the screws. It may be possible to keep a lighter interior door steady for this procedure yourself. Set the screw gun to forward and replace the screws. Replace the screws for the other door hinges. The repair should hold for years to come.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace the screws that held the hinges with 2 1/2-inch wood screws for more stability. Screws of this length will burrow into the wood of the house frame behind the door frame. Drill deeper pilot holes to accommodate longer screws.

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