How to repair pulled out screws in particleboard

Written by steve hamilton
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How to repair pulled out screws in particleboard
Stripped screw holes are common in particleboard. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Particleboard is a term used to describe a wide variety of products made from wood particles or fibres mixed with various types of adhesive. Particleboard comes in many different grades, some of which are quite strong and durable. Because of its stability, cabinet and furniture makers frequently use particleboard laminated with hardwood veneers. Stripped screw holes are common in particleboard, however, which is why many manufacturers no longer use simple wood screws for assembly. A pulled out screw can usually be fixed in particleboard as easily as in solid wood.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • For Threaded Insert:
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Threaded insert for particleboard
  • Wood glue
  • Large screwdriver
  • T-handle (optional)
  • For Quick Repair:
  • Masking tape
  • Putty knife
  • Fast-setting auto-body filler
  • Toothpicks
  • Utility knife
  • Sandpaper

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    Threaded Insert

  1. 1

    Select a drill bit for the threaded insert pilot hole according to the instructions provided with the inserts. Drill a pilot hole to the specified depth. Keep the drill straight up and down as you drill the hole.

  2. 2

    Squeeze a drop of wood glue into the pilot hole, but be careful not to fill the hole. Start the insert carefully into the pilot hole by hand.

  3. 3

    Use a large screwdriver or T-handle to drive the insert into the pilot hole. Drive the insert to 1/16-inch below the surface of the wood. Don't drive the insert in too far. Assemble the repaired piece using the screw provided with the insert.

    Quick Repair

  1. 1

    Tape off any areas surrounding the screw hole that might be damaged or discoloured by contact with the auto-body filler.

  2. 2

    Mix the filler according to package instructions. Pack the stripped screw hole with filler using a putty knife. Insert three or four toothpicks into the screw hole before the body filler sets up. The toothpicks should reinforce the repair, not fill the hole.

  3. 3

    Cut off the protruding toothpicks once the body filler has set. Sand the repair smooth. Remove the masking tape. Assemble the piece using the original screw.

Tips and warnings

  • If the stripped screw hole isn't too large, it can be fixed by inserting into the hole a toothpick, matchstick, or sliver of scrap wood dipped in wood glue. The piece can then be reassembled immediately using the original screw.
  • Using a screw much larger than the original can split the particleboard.

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