How To Fix A Loose Screw In A Hinge Or Door


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Popular Types of Doorknobs

Exposed set-screw Doorknob

This doorknob has a set of exposed screws which secure the handle to the threaded spindle and is often the most common way of attaching a doorknob. This version is often easier to tighten up a loose doorknob over that of a concealed screw doorknob as you can easily see how the doorknob is secured into place and how all the parts will fit together.

Hidden screw Doorknob

Although the screws cannot be seen there are still screws holding the doorknob to the spindle, much like the exposed set-screw doorknob. The major difference between the two is that all of the screws that hold together the doorknob are concealed behind a cosmetic faceplate.

Fixing the Loose Doorknob or Handle

Fortunately, fixing a loose handle or knob is not hard and can be done by following four simple steps once you have determined the types of door knob or handle your company has.

1. Remove the Knob or Handle

Exposed screws If exposed screws are being used, you will have to find the set screw, which is normally found on the inside of the door. Using either a screwdriver or Allen key, loosen the set screw and remove the handle, which will uncover the shaft. If it is a threaded shaft, you will have to twist the shaft’s handle to make it flush with the door. Provide a little space for the knob to spin correctly by backing it up a bit. Then tighten up the set screw. For an unthreaded shaft, you can easily set the knob or handle back on the shaft and up to the door face before you tighten the set screw down.

Hidden Screws To display the hidden screws, you will have to determine where the detent access hole is when looking at the knob. The detent is a pin that is spring-activated and sticks out of the little hole in the knob preventing it from rotating. When you locate the pin, using a flathead screwdriver, press down on the pin and from the spindle shaft, remove the handle.

2. Remove the Base

After you have separated the doorknob from the spindle shaft, remove the base. Carefully pry the ring loose slowly using a flathead screwdriver and avoid damaging the backing plate since it could be destructive to the whole lockset.

3. Find the Screws and Tighten

After you have removed the ring successfully, you should be able to see the set of screws. They run through the door from the inside backing plate into the outside backing plate which holds the whole assembly together. Holding the outside backing plate to keep it from moving, tighten each screw separately.

4. Restore the Base and Put the Handle Back On

Snap the ring back on the backing plate. You can now put the handle back over the spindle shaft. Once completely on the spindle shaft, turn the handle to line the holes up with the detent and click into place.

After following these steps, you find the handle or doorknob is still loose or continues to fall off, it might be time to call us here at Great Valley Lockshop by calling (610) 644-5334, emailing [email protected], or filling out our contact form . We’ve been helping Chester County businesses and homeowners with their locksmith needs since 1973, and we can help you too!

Step 5: Insert Dowels

Push your dowels in, just until they are flush with the surface of the wood.  You don’t want them to be inset, or sticking out too far.  They need to be flush so your hinge sits in the opening right and the screws have plenty of wood to hold onto once you reattach them. After pushing in you’ll have a gluey mess left over.  Use a damp washcloth to clean up the mess, being careful not to shove the dowels in too far in the process.

4. Apply Wood Glue

Insert the end of the dowel piece into wood glue. Insert the glued end into the first screw hole as far as it will go. Repeat this process to glue the rest of the dowels into the screw holes.

Note: If you can’t find wood filler, you can use wood putty as a substitute.

1. Perform an Inspection

Inspect the hinge to see if it is missing the pin, which is the long metal rod that holds the two halves of the hinge together. Your broken hinge may be caused by a missing pin.

Attempt to tighten the screws

If the screws have only been loose for a short time, you should be able to tighten them yourself with a screwdriver. However, if you find that the holes have become too large that the screws won’t stay tight, you’ll need to repair them.

WHAT you would like to try to do

If you notice that the door remains sagging after tightening the hinge screws, then it means there’s a drag of widened holes that has got to be patched. Repair one screw hole at a time to stop you from removing/changing the whole door and to save lots of your valuable time and energy. this is often how you would like to try to do it:

Tool You’ll Need

  • 3-in (zinc plated) screw
  • Carpenters glue
  • Drill Machine
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws

A smaller drilling bit (to drill new holes after the prevailing holes are patched)


Ben Hendricks

Hi, I’m Ben, and I inspect houses. I grew up with a hammer in my hand, and have been a professional home inspector for 14 years. My blog is here for info about home inspections around the Louisville, Kentucky area, and just about anything construction-related.

Step 1: What Youll Need:

You’ll need: A drill A wooden dowel (I used a 4ft long 3/8″ poplar dowel – $0.84 at a local store) A saw of some kind if you need to cut your dowel A 3/8″ drill bit (I used a Forstner bit) Wood glue Shop brush A smaller drill bit (to drill new pilot holes after you’ve patched the old holes) A screwdriver The dowel I bought was 48″ long, so I cut off three pieces that were around 1.5″ long.  I didn’t measure, and used a little hand coping saw to cut them to size.  I had some 80 grit sandpaper nearby so I used that to smooth and square off the rough looking cuts I made.  

How to Adjust Loose Cabinet Hinges:

Read More About Cabinet Hardware: How to Upgrade to Soft-Close Cabinets How to Locate Cabinet Knobs and Pulls Butterfly Hinges Perfect for Cabinet Upgrades

  1. Open the cabinet door.
  2. With a screwdriver, tighten and adjust the screws on the cabinet door hinges.
  3. Close the door to check tension and alignment.
  4. Continue adjusting screws on the cabinet and then the door until the door is no longer loose and closes properly.

Why do hinge pins come out?

Hinge pins that aren’t fully inserted into the barrel will, over time, work their way out of the hinge and fall on the floor. This is caused by the weight of a door pulling screws out of their holes over time. To fix the issue, replace the hinge pin or fix a stripped screw holes and then reattach the hinge.

Fixing a Loose Door

This is generally the opposite of sticking in the jamb. When an interior door rattles, this means the door stop and/or the strike plate are not tight enough. If the strike plate has a flange in the center that can be bent slightly to tighten the fit, remove the plate and use a pair of pliers to bend the flange. Otherwise, you may have to adjust the position of the door stop on the latch-side jamb.

If door rattles, adjust the position of the strike
If door rattles, adjust the position of the strike plate. ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

To do this, first use a utility knife to cut the paint seal between the molding and the jamb. Then place a wooden block against the door stop, and hammer the block gently toward the door to provide a tighter fit.

The best way to stop an exterior door from rattling is to install resilient weatherstripping around its perimeter, which also will help insulate your house. Look for the vinyl bulb type and follow package instructions.

Important Info:

Instead of matching, you’ll use glue-coated wooden golf tees to plug a stripped screw hole golf tees that are tapered to suit easily within the screw hole.

If your door only has 3 holes, it might be recommended to feature just one 3-inch screw that ought to be drilled carefully during a newly created space instead of the old one

Consider in your power tool against a driver bit just to form sure you do not use an excessive amount of pressure and strip back the screws.

For dry wood, it’s best to use self-drilling. Screws with points on them are intended to be used in new wood which still contains liquid. Be delicate and use self-drilling screws of 1.5 inches or 2 inches and if you would like to, you’ll remove the screws within the future.

What You Need To Do

If you notice that the door is still sagging after tightening the hinge screws, then it means that there is a problem of widened holes that must be patched. Repair one screw hole at a time to prevent you from removing/changing the entire door and to save you valuable time and energy. This is how you need to do it: Tool You’ll Need

  1. 3-in (zinc plated) screw
  2. Carpenters glue
  3. Drill Machine
  4. Hammer
  5. Screwdriver
  6. Screws
  7. A smaller drill bit (to drill new holes after the existing holes have been patched)

Getting Started

All you have to do is replace the hinge screw of ¾ inch with a 3-inch hinge screw that easily goes through the points, hence becoming the anchor in the frame to give a tight grip.

The method for tightening loose door hinges is quite simple. First, you’ll need to find the loose screws and remove them. Then, you’ll need to dip the bare end of a wooden match in same carpenter’s glue and hammer it all the way in, pushing it as far as it goes. Break or even cut off the match flush with the hinge plate and remove the heads.

Step 1 – Before removing the screw and letting go of the door, you need to give it firm support by holding or putting a heavy object in front so that it does not fall off.

Step 2 – Remove the screws carefully with the help of screw screwdriver or drill machine in reverse action.

Step 3 – In order to fill the extra gap in the hole, dip the bare end of a wooden match into the carpenters glue and push it into the hole with the help of a hammer (if required).

Step 4 – After filling the extra gap in the holes with the wooden matches or dowels, take the screw and the driver of the required shape and size. Start spinning the screws into the holes with pressure so that the screws fit in properly, hence giving the door a good grip.

Step 5 – Don’t rush anything and let the glue dry appropriately as it helps ensure the screws don’t slip because of the wet glue and fit in the right position. Use a damp washcloth to clean the gluey mess around the holes. However, make sure that you do not shove the wooden matches or dowels in too far.

Step 6 – Follow the same steps mentioned above with the next screw-hole to fill the extra gaps and fit the screw in it.

Step 7 – Cross check that all screws are tightly fit and are settled in their holes before you remove the support.

Step 8 – At the end, coat the oil on the hinges to enhance the smoothness of the door, but there is no need to overdo it. Let the oil soak into the wood for a few hours and then reinstall the screws.


  • Requires times and patience
  • Risk of the door handle not being repaired correctly
  • May require a range of tools
  • Inexperience could make the situation worse

So, whether your door handle is sagging, your door knob has a loose spindle, or your door handle only opens up but isn’t working correctly, the guide above has top tips to help you fix any issues you might have when searching how to fix a loose door handle! Whether you decide to tackle the repair yourself or hire a Locksmith, there are many benefits to contracting your Local Locksmith to help you repair a loose door handle that’s not working. Not only will you get first class customer service but are guaranteed the issue to be rectified.


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