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In a rented flat, I saw the that a door wasn't closing properly, and noticed that the hinge screws were loose and not centered.

So I decided to unscrew them, and set them back in properly.

Sadly, by unscrewing them, the screw bases which were probably already broken just came out in pieces (I think they are called anchors, or dowels, by googling, not sure though).

The door is wooden, and it has a crack along the holes, which was most likely formed after the door was set in place.

Below are 3 images that show exactly what I'm talking about:

  1. How the hinge looks
  2. How the holes look, also, the crack
  3. What I found when I unscrewed the hinge

What should I do?

Q1: What exactly are the plastic things called, the yellow thing in image 3? I'm asking so I know what to ask for in a hardware store.

Q2: Should I just buy and replace the anchors?

Q3: Concerning the crack, it seems pretty stable. I'm sure for long-term it's probably a good idea to replace the door altogether. Meanwhile, while googling I've found there's some clays which I could pour in the crack to stabilize it. Should I consider this as well?

How the hinge looks How the holes look What was in there

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While Chris Cudmore is right about the real fix, you could work out a temporary fix as follows:

Brace the door

  • Get two screws per hinge that are about the same thickness as the ones shown in the picture and about 1/4 shorther than the thickness of the door.
  • drill a pilot hole on the inside face of the door toward the outside spaced midway between the current screw holes. (Note that these are not on the same face of the door as the hinge screws). The hole should be thinner than the screws selected and stop about halfway through the door.
  • force some carpenters glue or white glue in the cracks at the edge of the door that is under the hinges. (you can force it in all the cracks if you have several clamps).
  • clamp the door to pull the crack together.
  • set the screws in the pilot holes.

Rebuild the hinge holes

  • lightly coat dowels or other thin wooden rods (you can use chopsticks) with glue
  • force those rods into the screw holes for the hinges. Add slivers of wood to fill any gaps.
  • after the glues have dried (next day), remove the clamps and trim the dowels flush with the recessed hinge area.

Reset the hinge screws

  • drill new pilot holes for the hinge screws
  • screw the hinge screws into the new pilot holes.

Quite a bit of fuss, but the only real cost is a few decent clamps. You need screw types, not spring clamps.

Or you could ask your landlord to fix /replace the door.

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Also see @Chris Cudmore's advice about screw size. The matchstick trick works, and I have used it often, but for badly damaged holes like these, I like harder wood. If using chopsticks, only the bamboo type, not the very soft wood type. –  bib Feb 7 '13 at 21:06
    
Besides being the wrong size, the screws are hardened Grabber type screws which are too brittle for hinge duty. Use the old fashioned tapered shank wood screws. You probably do not want to spend much money on someone else's property, but the screws aren't so much too big as the hinges are too small. –  bcworkz Feb 7 '13 at 21:41
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I think it's time for a new door.

The yellow thing is a wall anchor, and it's not intended to be used here. They're for screwing into plaster or drywall.

The door is cracked through the screw holes, and any attempt to repair it is just going to make the problem worse.

Had the door not been cracked, you could drill out the holes and glue in a dowel. But in this case, you will split the door further when you screw in again.

You could salvage the door by removing it, gluing and clamping the crack overnight and then re-mounting the hinge at a different location. But any attempt to reuse that mount point will simply re-split the door.

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I generally agree with you, that anchor doesn't look right for wood, even tho I don't have much experience with this kind of stuff. Nevertheless, this is a flat rented for a short period and it has several of these extremely strange quirks, so I wouldn't want to replace the entire door, given that I was not the one to crack it. :( –  Mydiyac Feb 7 '13 at 16:39
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I won't put this in an answer, because Tester101 will abuse me. Stuff the holes with matchsticks and glue. Let dry, and sand flush. Also, get proper hinge screws. Those heads are too big for the hinges, and the heads interfere with each other. –  Chris Cudmore Feb 7 '13 at 18:46
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