How to Fix Loose Door Hinges?

29 June 21

One of the most common problems which we are sure that most readers have faced is loose door hinges. It isn’t uncommon for not only door hinges but window hinges to become loose. Also, the problem isn’t limited to homes, but just about anywhere, there is a door with traditional hinges

One of the reasons why door hinges become loose is because of use and not being maintained. The excessive use of the door without lubrication and tightening can cause the hinges to become loose. Usually, it is the screws that hold most of the weight from the door that will dislodge slightly and then finally drop out of their place if the issue isn’t addressed. Also, continuously trying to tighten the screws can exacerbate the problem. The door can also start to stick, bind or scrape the floor, which causes that very hard to notice and highly irritating sound. 

The good news is that if your interior door hinges are loose and you’re looking for a solution to the problem, we can help you. It is an issue that’s not hard to fix if you have a few standard tools available. Also, maintaining the door hinges isn’t all too challenging either, but the benefit of it is a smooth and soundless door. 

What Causes Door Hinges to Become Loose?

Usually, as mentioned above, it is just the door being used that causes it (the hinge) to become loose over time. Interestingly, it isn’t until weeks years later that the problem will need to be addressed. That said, if you allow the hinge screws to remain loose for a very long time or indefinitely, it will end up damaging the door. Also, the problem can become worse because the holes through which the screws are placed can become larger for all the other screws. In a way, the issue will become progressively worse, which is why we strongly suggest that it be addressed right away. 

How to Tighten A Loose Hinge?

If you have recently noticed that the door continues to sag even after you’ve tightened the hinge screws, it means that you have a problem that has to do with the widened holes. So, your job will be to patch up the holes. You will want to repair a single screw hole at a time, which will save you from removing the entire door, saving valuable time and precious effort. Below we’ll go into exactly how you can go about doing it. 

Tools Needed: 

  • A 3-in (zinc plated) screw
  • Drill Machine
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Carpenters glue
  • Screws
  • Smaller drill bit (we will use this to drive new holes after the old ones are patched)

Tighten Loose Hinges 

Our first order of business will be to check if the hinge screws are tight. You will want to open the door, then grasp it by the locking side, and then jerk it up and down. If you see movement in the screws, they have to be tightened or tightened further. 

If you notice that the hinge screws are loose for a short time, then they will need to be retightened using a screwdriver. However, when they are loose for a long time, the movement through the hinge plate and screws (as mentioned earlier) will enlarge the holes. The holes can become too large to support the screws. 

If you see that the hinge moves even slightly, you will need to repair the screw holes. Then repair a single screw hole at a time so that the door does not have to be entirely removed. Below we’ll go into how you can do it: 

  • The first step is to remove the loose screw. You identify the loose screw based on the method we described above. 
  • The next step is to dip the bare end of a wooden match into regular carpenter’s glue, then tap it a bit with a hammer so that it goes as far as possible. If the hole is large, then several glue-coated matches will be needed to fill the hole. 
  • You then cut the matches so that they are flush with the hinge plate and then discard all the heads. 
  • Once the void has been filed in the hole, with a couple of wooden matches, then drive the screw through the hole using your screwdriver. 
  • You then do the same for the next screw to repair its hole and continue until all the screw holes have been fixed. 

Note: You can also use wooden golf tees that have been coated in glue, inserted into a stripped screw hole. Most golf tees are tapered, which means that they can easily fit through the hole. You will want to allow the glue to dry before cutting the protruding part of the tee.

A Few Handy Tips for Fixing A Loose Door Hinge 

If the door you are trying to fix has three holes, we’d recommend that you add only a single 3-inch screw that should be carefully drilled into the new space compared to using the old one. 

You will want to consider using a power drill that’s against a driver bit to ensure that you don’t use too much pressure, which strips the screws. 

If it is dry wood that you are dealing with, then it makes more sense to use self-drilling screws. These are characterized by screws that have a small drill bit on the end as opposed to a point. Keep in mind that screws with points are meant to be used in new wood or green wood, which have a bit of moisture. Though you will want to be delicate when using self-drilling screws of around 1.5 inches to 2 inches so that if needed, they can be removed sometime in the future. 

Bottom Line

Many homeowners may not realize this, but the cycle of loose screws will often start with a single loose screw. However, because most people will not pay attention to a single loose screw, that problem sometimes over the course of a few weeks becomes hard to ignore. If you want to avoid fixing a loose door hinge, it pays to pay attention to the signs of a loose hinge. 

If you have used the above-mentioned method, and it does not work, i.e. the problem soon resurfaces, another solution is to try our Fringe Screw™.   Fringe Screw™ is the easiest way to tighten loose or stripped door hinge screws.

In most cases, as we’ve discussed above, tightening a loose screw or even an entire set of screws isn’t difficult. However, always check to make sure that your door hinge isn’t broken. If you are dealing with a broken hinge, the entire door will have to be removed, the hinges then replaced, and the door reset. That may require you to hire a professional to do everything for you. But if you are comfortable using tools, it isn’t something that you can’t handle, so as long as you have an extra set of hands to help with a heavy door.

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