How To Fix Loose Screw Holes | 8 Methods of Fixing Stripped-Out Screws

How To Fix Loose Screw Holes | 8 Methods of Fixing Stripped-Out Screws

Loose Screw Hole

Loose Screw Holes

A loose screw is a problem that everyone faces time and again in their households. There are many factors which can cause a loosely fitting screw. Frequent use of furniture, for example a door handle, door hinges, wooden chair, table, wardrobe, cupboard and drawers will lead to wearing out of the screw hole. As pressure is applied on the screws over time, lateral forces will compress the inner surfaces of the hole, increasing the diameter and loosening the screw.  Frictional forces will also cause some erosion on the inner surfaces of the hole, chipping away some tiny particles and increasing the diameter of the hole. Loose screws are encountered everywhere, even on rarely disturbed furniture such as shelves and wall fittings, as well as installations like gutters, downpipes, eaves board and fascia board. Whereas moveable objects like chairs, door handles and hinges are subject to kinetic forces as well as static forces, permanently fixed  objects like wall fittings are mostly subject to static forces like gravity and weight. For example, a wall fitting such as a bathroom wall cabinet is often fixed on the wall bearers using screws. The forces acting on the screws in this case are gravity plus the weight of the bearers, wall cabinet and its contents. Of course, if the windows are open or if the wall cabinet is exposed to weather elements such as wind, these elements will exert some kinetic pressure on the cabinet, which in addition to static forces will affect the screws.

Deterioration of the substrate is another reason why screws loosen up. A substrate is the surface on which a screw is fixed e.g. a wooden board, block or cross-section. Steel screws are often screwed on a wooden substrate. Wood deteriorates with time, it also expands and contracts. This can affect the screws, causing them to loosen.

There are 10 ways of fixing a loose screw.

Longer Screws

This method is useful if the board is way thicker than the length of the new screw. As an example, if a 20mm long screw is stripped-out and loose, replace it with a 40mm long screw, but you have to make sure the thickness of the board is greater than 40mm, e.g. 60mm. A longer screw works because it penetrates deeper into the board, creating brand new, tighter threads in the wood.

Thicker Screws

A typical screw for a door handle is 2mm thick. Examine the loose hole to determine its increased diameter. Get a new screw is slightly thicker than the increased diameter. Let’s say the hole is 3mm in diameter, get a new screw which is slightly thicker, i.e. 4mm. A thicker screw will hold tightly in place creating new threads in the wood.

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