The best way to repair a stripped screw hole in a metal door is by enlarging and threading the hole with a combination drill-and-tap bit. Then, drive a larger screw into the hole. Alternatively, you can drive a larger-diameter self-tapping screw into the hole. Other good methods include filling the hole with epoxy or a plastic drywall anchor before driving the original screw back into the hole. Finally, you can drill out the hole and insert a rivet nut to create a threaded hole to drive a new screw into.
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What Does it Mean When a Screw Won’t Tighten in a Metal Door?
If the screws in your metal door won’t tighten—or if they loosen over time—the screw hole is stripped. This is caused by the fact that metal doors are hollow. The side effect of this hollow construction is that the screw can only bite into the thin sheet of metal it passes through. If the hole through the metal becomes damaged or enlarged through stress on the door, the hole can easily become stripped.
- Screws that won’t tighten in metal, loosen with use, or spin in place when you attempt to tighten them are all signs of a stripped screw hole.
- Hinge screws are the most commonly stripped holes, but this can also occur to screws that hold the latch and lock in place.
- It is somewhat common for screw holes in metal doors to become stripped.
- Fixing a stripped screw hole is a DIY repair.
A stripped screw hole in your metal door does not mean the door is destroyed. There are several ways to repair a stripped hole in a metal door. That loose screw can be put back into place and your door will be sturdy once again.
The 5 Best Ways to Repair a Stripped Screw Hole in a Metal Door
If you have a stripped screw hole in your metal door, it’s time to fix it. Begin by using pliers to remove the screw from the hole. Then, use one of these methods to repair the stripped screw threads.
Drill and Tap
The most professional and long-lasting way to repair a stripped screw hole in a metal door is by drilling the hole to a slightly larger size and tapping it. “Tapping” a hole is the term for cutting threads into the hole. This allows the next screw you use to grip onto the metal securely. This may seem like a method for professionals only, but with the right tools, it’s as easy as drilling any other hole. Here’s how to do it:
- Use this combination drill and tap set to easily drill and tap holes in a single step.
- Select a bit from the drill and tap set. The bit should be slightly larger than the current, stripped hole in the door.
- Equip an electric drill with the drill and tap bit you selected.
- Place the drill and tap bit against the existing hole. Make sure the bit is level and straight.
- Begin drilling. The first part of the drill and tap bit will simply enlarge the hole.
- Continue drilling. The grooved portion of the drill and tap bit will cut threads into the hole.
- Replace the original screw with a larger screw that threads into the slightly enlarged hole.
- This set of metal screws includes different sizes for screw replacement.
It really is that simple. Just use a single drill bit to enlarge and tap the hole in the same step. This is much easier than using an old-fashioned tap and die set that requires you to pair a drill bit with the correct tap. Because the taps are sized based on standard screw sizes, you’ll easily find a screw that fits the hole.
Use a Larger Screw
Although enlarging and tapping a screw hole creates the most durable repair, you can skip the tapping step and attempt to insert a larger screw into the hole. For this job, use self-tapping metal screws. They are sturdy enough to carve threads into most metal doors as they go. Just select a size that is larger in diameter than the old screw.
- Repair a stripped screw hole in metal by inserting a larger screw.
- Use this set of self-tapping screws for the job.
- Only self-tapping screws made for metal fastening will be sturdy enough to cut new threads into the existing hole.
- Select a screw that is slightly larger in diameter than the original screw.
- Use an electric drill to drive the new screw into the existing hole until it is secured.
This fix is also fairly risk-free to attempt. If the screw struggles to bite into the metal, just remove the screw. Then, use the drill and tap method described above before re-inserting the new screw.
Fill the Hole with Epoxy
You can quickly repair a stripped screw hole in a metal door by filling it with epoxy. This solution allows you to reuse the original screw, which is ideal when replacement screws have head designs that interfere with the proper action of the door hinges or latch. To use this method of metal door repair:
- Use this metal repair epoxy.
- Knead the epoxy together by hand (while wearing gloves) according to the instructions on the packaging. This activates the epoxy.
- Push the kneaded epoxy into the stripped screw hole. Make sure it sits flush and completely fills the hole.
- Wait at least 1 hour to allow the epoxy to cure.
- Drive the original screw into the epoxy-filled hole until the screw head is flush with the hinge or latch.
The epoxy fix works by filling the stripped hole with a durable substance that bonds strongly to metal. The screw threads will bite into the epoxy and hold firm.
Insert a Drywall Anchor
Instead of epoxy, you can fill the stripped screw hole in your metal door with a plastic anchor intended for drywall. Drywall anchors are threaded on the inside, which allows any screw driven into the hole to bite and hold securely. Here’s how to accomplish this fix:
- Use a drywall anchor from this set of different-sized anchors.
- Choose a drywall anchor with a diameter similar to the size of the hole.
- Use a hammer to drive the drywall anchor into the hole until it is flush with the metal.
- Drive a screw into the anchor to use the hole again.
The key to this method is finding the right size of drywall anchor. It should fit snugly. Then, the anchor will expand when you drive a screw into it. If the hole isn’t the right size for any drywall anchors you have, you can enlarge the hole with a drill bit.
Insert a Rivet Nut
You can repair a screw hole in a metal door by inserting a rivet nut, then driving a screw into the hole. For this job, you will need some simple tools and materials. Here’s how to get the job done:
- Use this hand-riveter with included rivet nuts.
- Select a rivet nut that is slightly larger than the existing hole.
- Use an electric drill equipped with a metal drilling bit to enlarge the hole to the same diameter as the rivet nut.
- Place the rivet nut onto the riveter tool.
- Insert the rivet nut into the hole.
- Squeeze the tool handle to install the rivet.
- Remove the tool and drive a screw into the rivet.
Rivet nuts are threaded so that they grip screws. By installing a rivet nut into your metal door, you create the perfect place to drive a screw into a previously stripped hole.
How Do You Fill Stripped Screw Holes in Metal?
In order to fix a stripped hole in a metal door, use one of the following methods:
- Use a specialized bit to enlarge and thread the hole, then insert a new screw.
- Drive a larger-diameter, self-tapping screw into the hole.
- Fill the hole with metal epoxy, then drive the original screw back into the hole.
- Hammer a plastic drywall anchor into the hole, then drive a screw into the anchor.
- Enlarge the hole with a drill, then insert a threaded nut rivet, followed by a screw.
Each of these fixes is fast and effective. We typically recommend drilling and tapping an enlarged hole, but for cases where you want to use the original screw instead of replacing it, the epoxy method is usually best.