I have a wood door in one of my rooms where the top screws no longer hold the hinge to the wall because the screw holes have worn loose. I have tried slightly larger screws and filling with wood toothpicks, which usually lasts about a year.

I would like a permanent fix.

  • Short answer: use a screws which are just a little big longer and thicker. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 7:43
  • 1
    I just had this problem. I bought a hinge with a different hole pattern and drilled new holes Commented May 6, 2017 at 0:15

8 Answers 8


A few suggestions:

  • Are you using a wood glue such as Elmer's to hold the toothpicks in place? The top hinge on my front door used to pull loose; I repaired it with toothpicks and wood glue (pretty much filling the screw hole) and haven't had any problems in several years.

  • How long were the original screws, and what did you replace them with? When I installed a new interior door a few months ago, I replaced the 1/2" screws that came with the door with 2 1/2" or 3" (I forget which) screws of the same thickness. Assuming normal framing, you have two 2x4s, possibly some shims and the jamb itself, so there's plenty of wood there for a long screw to grip onto.

  • Take the hinge plate off the jamb (support the door so it doesn't pull the other hinges out of the jamb) and drill out the screw holes that are giving you problems; the hole should be as deep as the existing screw. Glue a dowel of the same thickness as your drill bit into the hole. Before you replace the hinge screw, drill a pilot hole to ensure that the screw goes in straight.

  • 4
    when possible, let the glue set up a bit before screwing into it. A 2 1/2/ or 3 in screw is an excellent idea, works 90% of the time. Follow Niall's advice and you will be all set. Commented Apr 16, 2011 at 10:48
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    Definitely go for a longer screw. Besides supporting the hinge better, it ties the door into the framing in the wall rather than just the visible wood trim. I've used deck screws myself. This can also help fix a sagging door, just don't over correct any problems by over tightening.
    – BMitch
    Commented Apr 16, 2011 at 11:11
  • I have the same issue and this will help me a lot. I hadn't tried these ideas and thought I might have to replace the jambs and I wanted to avoid that.
    – MichaelF
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 12:32
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    If you're going to use long screws to go into the studs, tap in a couple shims, small ends facing each other, lengthwise to the casement till they're tight. Not so much it forces the casement away from the studs, but snug. Then you can tighten these longer screws down without warping the casement and pulling the pin axis on the door hinges out of plumb. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 3:11
  • The toothpick in a stripped wood hole is one of the greatest all time fixes. I keep a certain shape of toothpick around the house just for this purpose.
    – Evil Elf
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 13:19

Remove the top hinge from the frame side (don't take if off the door side).

Then remove the door at the other hinges.

Drill a 3/8" inch hole centered on each screw hole and plug and glue these with a wooden dowel.

After the glue dries, if not flush, shave the dowels down with a wood chisel to make them flush with the surface. Putty, patch or sand if necessary.

Then replace the door on the hinges and hold the top hinge in place and re-drill the hinge screw holes and insert the screws.


Somewhat late to the party but a good solution I've just used goes as follows:

Buy some reasonably thick dowel (say, 10mm) and cut a length for each existing screw hole. I'd suggest the length of the screw you are using (plus about 25% extra if your door is not solid wood). Sand one end back square - this is the end that will be exposed when the dowel is inserted into the hole you are about to drill.

In your door (or frame), drill out the old holes to the same diameter as the dowel. Check the dowels for fit - there needs to be enough room for some glue around the dowel, but not too much. Sand the dowel down a bit if need be.

Now using a good strong glue (I had some 24 hour epoxy left over from a previous job), plug the holes with the dowels, being careful to push them in until they are level with the surrounding surface.

Leave to dry, for at least as long as the glue manufacturer recommends, and ideally for a bit longer - just to be sure that everything is properly set.

Now you can use your hinge as a guide to mark and drill new pilot holes in your door (or frame) before re-mounting the door.

I've just used this trick on a pair of old 2.1m solid pine doors and it works a treat.


Late to this party. I have found that chopsticks are a cheap and simple solution for larger problems like doors. Toothpicks work great for smaller jobs with smaller screws but are sometimes not enough for heavier doors. Dowels are better but chopsticks work great. Since they are tapered, I just insert the skinny end into the hole and tap with a hammer until it fills the hole. They they are pretty easy to break off flush or they can be easily cut with a knife or small saw in place. Unlike dowels which can be more fussy for first timeers or people without many tools around. Not suggesting chopsticks are better than dowels, they likely are NOT. But most of us have some and or they are free at grocery stores (if there is a sushi bar) or at restaurants. Get some glue, douse the chopstick, hammer it in, break it off, put the screw (longer if possible) in there. The screw itself should brace the glued chopstick so i freqrently do not wait for drying. While I am at it with the glue, I usually put a small dab on the screw itself. That will fix the problem for all but the heaviest doors.

Ps--if you are going to use toothpicks, You will need more than one for a door. Get a small handful of toothpicks slathered with glue and put them all in there. Like 4 or 5. Igt will seem like you are totally filling the hole--you ARE. I still find this an inferior to solution to (free) chopsticks.


Easy fix AND very permanent would be using a longer screw in one or two holes or the stripped holes. Fine thread #8 3" long with Phillips head. Drive through Hinge hole completely through jamb into the framing. Do not over tighten paint screw head to match if necessary.


I used the plastic wall plugs you'd normally use for brick or concrete walls, it worked perfectly, you need quite a small size so it fits into the existing hole, tap them in lightly with a hammer then screw hinge back on, they expand so should keep the hole plugged securely, You could put a drop of glue in the hole first, but I thought about that afterwards :-)


My bedroom hollow core door hinge holes on the door are completely stripped out and the screws fell out, my remedy I am going to try is as follows:

Remove the door, place hinge side up, apply Fiberglass compound , (Type you get at a Auto. parts store) directly into the holes and also spread onto the area that is recessed for the hinge, set the hinges in place while wet, apply slight coating on top of the hinges as well. If all goes as planned I hope to find the hinges fiberglassed in place for a very long time and for added security drill a pilot hole and put the screws back in please.

  • Um, so did it work?
    – Bryce
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 21:44
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    Interior, hollow core doors aren't that expensive. Seems to me it would be easier to just replace than deal with all the Fiberglassing mess, hassle & fumes. Unless you're already proficient with Fiberglass and have some on hand.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 21:54
  • Hollow core doors typically have some not-so-hard wood framing members embedded in the edges. Any of the wood dowel techniques would work. What won't work, is longer screws than the interior wood frame.
    – DaveM
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 4:19

Move the hinge over and drill new holes in the new place.

  1. Go to your interior or exterior door
  2. Get your screws and tool box
  3. Remove the screws from the door and door jamb and chisel out the wood where you would like to drill pilot holes.
  4. Drill the holes then drill in the 3 inch screws and then it's fixed

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