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Repairing Stripped Out Screw Holes in Cabinets

October 3rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

One of the most challenging things to repair on your kitchen or bathroom vanity cabinetry can be fixing stripped out screw holes. We see this type of problem on particleboard cabinetry more than others. Although at times a pine face-frame will split and a screw that is holding a door in place will let loose. The door then gets really out of adjustment and oftentimes will not even work at all. Read

One of the biggest mistakes that “do it yourself” home cabinet repair enthusiasts make is that they just try to replace the old screw with one that is larger. This will sometimes work, but the problem is that the hinges are designed for a particular thickness of screw. The bigger fastener will not always fit through the pre-drilled holes in the hinges.

The funniest thing I ever saw was where a homeowner actually drilled a hole clear through the face of his decorative cabinet door and reattached the cabinet hinge with a bolt and nut. He did this on a European style cabinet hinge that is designed to be concealed. It was amazing to see this beautiful kitchen and then to look at this armature repair job. His wife was very pleased when I ordered new doors to replace the ones that he did this to. He actually had prefab cabinets that required special hinges. That’s probably why he repaired the door that way.

So, what’s the best way to repair a cabinet door screw hole that is reamed out? There are a couple of methods that I have used throughout the years with moderate to great success.

What you need is a hard wood filler and some form of wooden plug for the over-sized hole. Oftentimes, I will use a wood plug combined with wood filler to completely fill the stripped out hole.

The hard wood filler that I always use is bondo. The reason that I choose to use this form of epoxy is because it dries fast and is a very strong wood filler.

1) Mix the two part epoxy filler thoroughly together. Taking a couple of wooden tooth picks in hand, dip them in the bondo. Now,  insert them into the over-sized hole that is too large for the cabinet door screw. Continue to fill the hole with toothpicks and the filler until nothing else will fit into the hole.
2) Allow the wood putty to dry thoroughly and then break the tooth picks off. I always wait for at least an hour before I attempt to reattach the cabinet door or touch the toothpicks.

This technique has worked successfully time and time again for repairing a cabinet door that fell off because the screw holes were damaged. This method obviously will work with any area of your kitchen, office or bathroom vanity cabinets that have stripped out screws. I have used this method for repairing drawer slides, pull-out trash cans, roll-out drawers and even spice racks that would not stay in place because the screws were stripped out.

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