Stripped Screws in Wood

Stripped screws in wood of a door will not be solved with longer and thicker screws. This problem may cause the door rub at the threshold and on the side near the top. Plastic wall anchors won’t always work. Do not waterproof the basement wall on the inside article.

The problem is you don’t know how far the doorjamb is shimmed away from the 2 x 4 studs in the wall. The doorjamb is a 3/4 board about six inches wide. It consists of two sides, a header or top, with a threshold at the bottom. The side the hinges screw to is what I want you to visualize.

When the carpenter hangs a door they plumb the hinge side with tapered wooden shims. This must be done very accurately for a door to be properly hung. Sometimes the rough opening is very rough.

This means the amount of shims between the jamb and the 2/4 rough opening could exceed 3/4 of an inch. What does all this have to do with a loose hinge? Plenty.

If your doorjamb is 3/4 inch thick, with a shimmed air space of 3/4 inch, a two-inch screw will only penetrate the 2 x 4 one half of an inch.

If I’m going to hold up a heavy door I want the screws to penetrate the 2 x 4 at least one inch. My choice of a screw for the top hinge is a 2 1/2-inch screw with a #10 diameter. A #9 diameter screw is the most common standard with door hinges, but usually a #10 does fine.
If you aren’t getting good bite with a 2 1/2-inch screw don’t be afraid to go longer. Three to 3 1/2 inches isn’t uncommon for success with a very heavy door.

As for the plastic anchors, leave them for plaster and cement. They are too slippery to get a grab into wood. If the hole gets too large for a screw try plugging the hole with a dowel.
Take a wooden dowel larger than the damaged hole. Then drill a hole in the jamb that is the same size as the dowel. Coat the hole with carpenter’s glue and drive in the dowel. Let the glue dry and trim the dowel flush with the surface.

Now drill a pilot hole and reinstall the screw. This should never come loose now.