How to Fix a Loose Door Hinge

Shortly after purchasing my house, I noticed there was an issue with a loose door or two. It appeared that the hollow core MDF doors just were giving way and the screws attached to the hinges were pulling out. This issue would cause the doors to be difficult to shut and sometimes had a hard time latching. It finally got to a point where I decided to fix the problem.

Well, this was an interesting find. As I began taking screws out of the two doors in question, I found this mess of various screws. It almost seems like someone already tried to fix this problem, or the home builders ran out of the proper screws. The home is not very old, and these are the original doors, which makes this even more confusing.

It also looked like someone had tried using wood putty to fill some of the holes, presumably trying to make the screws fit tighter. The problem with this type of solution is the weight of the door is too great for putty.

After some thinking, I decided the best solution would be to just drill larger holes in the original locations and fill them with solid plugs, then re-drill for the door hinge screws. Does that make any sense? No? Well stick with me.

I set up a “zero clearance fence” on the band saw by running a little piece of plywood through the blade. This keeps the small dowel plugs from falling through the gap in the saw table. I then made a guess at a good length for the dowels, made a pencil mark, and cut out 18 of these plugs for the two doors (3 hinges per door, 3 holes per hinge).

I slathered glue on each dowel to ensure they’d have a strong and tight bond with the door.

Using a 3/8″ drill bit, I bored through the original holes and made them the same size as the dowels. Using a ball pein hammer, I slammed the new dowels flush with the hinge opening. This was a super tight fit. With the friction and glue, I’m not worried about this moving at all.

I laid the hinge in it’s opening and marked the center with a pencil, then drilled new screw holes through the dowel plugs.

Lastly, I hung the door back in place and put some new screws through my solid little plugs and the door was as good as new! A few of the door frames also got a plug, just like the doors. It was probably unnecessary but I don’t want to have to pull these off again.

Love it when a plan comes together.

Everything I used in this project

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