How to Fix a Stripped Screw Hole

Hinge With Screw

zilli / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 5 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $2 to $10

Knowing how to fix a stripped screw hole is essential when the screw turns endlessly or pulls straight out of its hole. A screw in a stripped screw hole has no holding power—loose door hinge screws are a prime example.

Though moving the screw to a new position is usually best, that's not always possible. A stripped screw hole is easy to fix, and you have several easy, low- or no-cost solutions at your disposal. Materials are so basic, you might already have them on hand.

Method Appropriate For Pros Cons
Add longer screw Wood Solid attachment Not possible with thin materials
Add wider screw Wood or metal No special tools or materials required Widening may not be desirable
Fill hole Wood Uses materials commonly on hand May split wood
Metal screen Wood Comparable to new threads Difficult to insert in hole
Plastic wood anchor Wood Easy, fast May split wood
Liquid stripped thread repair Metal Easy to use Low holding power
Threaded metal insert Metal Retain old fastener size if desired Insert may pull out
New threads (tap-and-die) Metal Strong, since new threads are cut in the metal Must use a wider screw in new hole

Before beginning, it's important to understand some terminology:

  • Thread: A thread is the raised spiral on a screw.
  • Crest: Crest is the farthest outward point of the thread.
  • Maximum Diameter: The distance between two opposite crests is the maximum diameter.
  • Pitch: Pitch is the angle of the threads.

Fixing a Stripped Screw Hole in Wood or Metal

Methods for fixing a stripped screw hole depend on the type of material that you're working with: wood or metal.

Screw Holes in Wood

When a screw strips out its hole in wood, the threads remove the wood to the threads' crest (its maximum diameter). All wood between the threads is gone, so the screw has nothing to grab onto.

The simplest fix, using a longer screw, bypasses the stripped section and grabs deeper into the wood. Other methods for fixing a stripped screw hole in wood include: filling the hole with wood; lining the hole with a metal screen repair kit; or using a plastic snap-off wood anchor.


Use a low-torque setting on your drill/driver or use a manual screwdriver if choosing to add a longer hinge screw into a door jamb. The longer screw could reach the framing behind the jamb and twist the door frame out of alignment.

Screw Holes in Metal

When a screw strips out its hole in metal, the hole widens to the width of the threads' crest. While wood screws have the entire shank available for grabbing material, screws in some types of metal have just a thin layer of metal. For example, the metal on some steel entry doors is just 14 to 16 gauge (5/64-inch to 1/16-inch).

The best methods for fixing a stripped screw hole in metal: drive a wider-diameter screw; apply liquid stripped thread repair; add a threaded metal insert; or create new threads with a tap-and-die set.

Threaded Metal Inserts

Heli-Coil and E-Z-Lok E-Z Coil are two prominent brands of threaded metal inserts, also known as threaded bushings.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Stripped Screw Hole in Wood

  • Drill
  • Driver bits
  • Manual screwdriver
  • Sandpaper

Stripped Screw Hole in Metal

  • Drill
  • Driver bits
  • Tap-and-die set


Stripped Screw Hole in Wood

  • Larger screw
  • Wood matchsticks, toothpicks, or dowels
  • Wood glue
  • Screw hole repair kit (metal screen)
  • Plastic snap-off wood anchor

Stripped Screw Hole in Metal

  • Threaded inserts
  • Cutting oil
  • Liquid stripped thread repair


How to Fix a Stripped Screw Hole in Wood

  1. Replace Screw With a Longer Screw

    With a stripped screw hole in wood, the easiest fix is to add a new screw that's longer than the previous screw. Measure the length of the stripped screw, or insert a toothpick or wire in the hole and then measure the item.


    Double or even triple the depth of the stripped screw hole to calculate the proper length of the newer, longer screw.

    From constant use, door hinge screws frequently strip out their screw holes. Hinge screws are 1 inch long. Replacement extended screws, intended for fixing stripped holes in door casing, are usually 2-1/4 to 3 inches long.

  2. Fill Screw Hole With Material

    Pack the screw hole with wood—matchsticks, toothpicks, or dowels—in order to fill in the stripped threads.

    1. Add a drop or two of wood glue to the stripped screw hole.
    2. Force the filling material into the hole. The fit should be tight.
    3. Snap off the material flush with the surface. Wipe up any excess glue and allow the rest of the glue to set.
    4. Sand down any material protruding from the hole.
    5. Place the tip of the screw on the fill material. Drive the screw directly into the filler.


    Be careful with wood that appears to be in danger of splitting.

  3. Metal Screen Repair Kit

    Some types of screw hole repair kits use a metal screen with sharp ridges. These ridges are intended to mimic screw hole threads.

    1. With the scissors, cut long, narrow strips of screen material. Depending on the size of the hole, cut two or more strips.
    2. Fit the screen material lengthwise into the hole.
    3. Insert the tip of the screw in the hole.
    4. Tighten down the screw with a manual screwdriver.
  4. Plastic Snap-Off Wood Anchor

    With this fix, a cone-shaped polypropylene anchor is screwed into the hole as a filler material for the new screw threads.

    1. With a manual screwdriver, gently screw the anchor into the stripped screw hole.
    2. Stop screwing when it's no longer possible to screw without stripping the head of the anchor.
    3. Snap off the wood anchor flush with the wood surface.
    4. Turn the new screw into the wood anchor.


    In a pinch, a plastic drywall anchor can be used to fix a stripped screw hole in wood, though its holding power isn't equal to that of a plastic snap-off wood anchor.

How to Fix a Stripped Screw Hole in Metal

  1. Replace Screw With a Wider Diameter Screw

    The easiest way to replace a stripped screw in metal is to step up to a larger-diameter screw. For sheet metal, this is often your only option, short of patching the metal and re-drilling.

    1. Choose a screw that's large enough to grip the metal but not so large as to be incompatible with peripheral items like hinges or brackets.
    2. Drive the new screw into the metal either by hand or with a torqued-down electric drill at low speed.
    3. As the screw head approaches the metal, slow down the drill.
    4. Stop driving when the screw is completely sunk (when the bottom of the head touches the metal).


    Be careful not to continue driving after the screw is fully sunk. Doing so will bore out the threads, enlarge the hole, and require you to repeat the process with an even larger screw.

  2. Liquid Stripped Thread Repair

    Liquid stripped thread repair creates new threads from an A/B solution. The solution catalyzes after the two parts are mixed, building a hard substance.

    1. Apply the release agent to the screw.
    2. Mix the two parts on a piece of cardboard.
    3. Fill the screw hole half-full with liquid thread repair. If the hole extends through the metal, add a strip of painter's tape to the bottom to hold in the liquid.
    4. Insert the desired screw into the hole and liquid.
    5. After the substance has hardened, remove the screw.
    6. Clean the screw.
    7. Apply the thread locker to the screw.
    8. Re-insert the screw.
  3. Add a Threaded Metal Insert

    Use tanged threaded inserts when the screw hole must retain its original diameter (or go smaller). A threaded insert is a sleeve that replaces material lost from the boring process. A tang is a small metal tab that facilitates rotation of the threaded insert.

    1. Determine the screw diameter with a thread gauge.
    2. Determine the screw thread pitch with a thread pitch gauge.
    3. Based on your measurements, select the correct size of threaded metal insert from the kit.
    4. With your drill and bit set, bore out the hole to enlarge it. The kit should indicate the correct diameter of drill bit to use.
    5. Use a socket wrench set and the tap provided with the kit to create threads in the hole. Be sure to apply cutting oil to the tap.
    6. Turn the threaded metal insert onto the applicator tool provided in the kit.
    7. Insert the applicator tool against the top of the hole, then rotate the tool to insert the metal insert into the hole.
    8. The tang remains at the bottom of the screw hole. To remove the tang, tap it with the kit's included tang break-off tool or a hammer and metal punch.
  4. Cut Threads With a Tap-and-Die Set

    Use the tap-and-die method when the screw hole in the metal can be enlarged to accept a wider diameter screw. The tap-and-die method is essentially the same as the threaded insert method—just minus the insert.

    Multi-piece tap-and-die sets capable of tapping and threading a wide range of metal screw holes start at $30 to $50 for basic kits and range upward to $200 to $300 for larger, better-quality kits.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. 15 U.S. Code § 206 - Standard gauge for sheet and plate iron and steel. Cornell Law School LLI