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How To Fix Stripped Screw Hole In Metal

A stripped screw hole in metal can be a frustrating problem, especially if you must secure something to the surface. Fortunately, there are several methods to fix a stripped screw hole and make it as good as new. The most common methods involve a bigger screw, a threaded insert, or a thread repair kit. If the hole is slightly larger than the original screw, you can use a larger screw with wider threads.

However, if the hole is too large, you can use a threaded insert to create new threads that grip the screw. Repair kits are another option to fix stripped screw holes in metal by cutting new threads in the hole. The Helicoil method, which involves inserting a helical coil into the stripped hole, is also popular. It creates new threads that are stronger than the original ones and can support a bigger screw. Alternatively, you can use JB Weld to fill the hole and then re-drill and retap it to create new threads.

In our guide, you can learn more about how to fix a stripped screw in metal and use the same techniques in other materials. By the end, you’ll see which quick fixes you can make until you have the chance for new threading or find something larger to screw into the existing hole. (Learn How To Fix A Bad Drywall Job That Has Been Painted)

Stripped screw

Assessing the Damage

When dealing with a stripped screw hole in metal, it’s important to assess the damage before attempting any repairs.

Visual Inspection

The first step is to inspect the stripped screw hole visually. Look for signs of damage, like cracks or deformities in the metal around the hole.

Check for Loose Threads

Next, check to see if there are any loose threads in the stripped screw hole. Use a screwdriver or other tool to try and tighten the screw. If the screw turns quickly, it may be because the threads in the hole are loose or damaged. This can often be fixed by re-threading the hole or using a bigger screw.

Using the Right Tools

No matter your chosen method, using the right tools for the job is important. This will help ensure the repair is done correctly and that the new screw will be secure. You may need a tap and die set, a drill, a screwdriver, and an installation tool for metal inserts.

1. Repairing with Wood Glue and Toothpicks

If you have a stripped screw hole in metal, repairing it with wood glue and toothpicks can be a quick and easy solution.

Here are the steps you can follow:

Gather Materials

Before you start, ensure you have the following materials on hand:

  • Toothpicks
  • Wood glue
  • Screwdriver
  • New screw (if needed)


First, remove the old screw from the stripped hole. Then, take a few toothpicks and insert one inch of them into the hole until it is filled. Ensure the toothpicks fit snugly in the hole and are flush with the surface of the metal.

Using Wood Glue and Toothpicks

Apply Wood Glue and Toothpicks

Next, apply a few drops of wood glue to the toothpicks, ensuring they are fully coated. Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry and harden.

Reinsert the Screw

Once the glue has dried, reinsert the screw into the hole. The wood glue and toothpicks should provide a solid base for the screw to grip onto, allowing it to be securely fastened. It’s important to note that this method is best suited for thin materials or screws slightly smaller than the original screw.

If the hole is too large or the metal is too soft, consider using a larger screw, a soft metal insert, or other methods like helicoil. (Read Running Cable Through Exterior Wall)

2. Using a Larger Screw

Regarding fixing a stripped screw hole in metal, one of the simplest methods is to use a big screw. This method is effective if you have enough space to make hinge screws to accommodate a slightly larger screw. Here are the steps to follow:

Selecting a Larger Bolt or Screw

The first step is to select a slightly bigger screw than the original one. However, remember that the screw should not be too large as it damages the surrounding metal. If you cannot find a bigger screw with the same diameter, you can choose one with a smaller diameter.

Drilling a Pilot Hole

Before installing the new screw, drill a pilot hole in the center of the stripped hole.

The pilot holes should be a little smaller than the diameter of the screw head of the new screw. This will help to guide the screw and prevent it from wandering off-centre.

Installing the New Screw

Now, take the new screw and insert it into the pilot hole. Use the installation tool to screw it into the metal. Be sure not to over-tighten the screw, which can cause the metal to strip again. Also, if you use a larger screw, ensure the screw threads match the thread pitch of the original screw.

3. Using a Threaded Insert

Using an insert can be an effective repair method if you have a stripped screw hole in metal. A threaded insert is a metal insert threaded on the inside and can be screwed into a pre-drilled hole. The screw can then be threaded into the insert, creating a new and secure connection. Here’s how to use an insert and how to fix a stripped screw hole in metal.

Choosing the Right Insert

The first step is to choose the right insert. There are different inserts available, like rivet nuts and threaded metal inserts. You’ll want to choose an insert with the same diameter as the original screw but with a larger thread size. This will allow you to use a larger screw and create a new thread that will hold securely. (Learn How Long Does Mortar Take To Dry)

Drilling the Hole

Once you have the right insert, you must drill a hole in the right size of the metal. You can use a drill bit slightly smaller than the insert size to create a pilot hole. Then, use a larger drill bit to make a hole with the same diameter as the insert.

Inserting the Threaded Insert

You’ll need an installation tool designed for the type of insert you’re using the insert. This tool will help you screw the insert into the hole and create a new thread. Once the insert is in place, you can screw in a new screw that is the right size.

It’s important to use the proper tools and follow the instructions carefully when using an insert.

4. Using a Thread Repair Kit

Fixing a stripped screw hole in metal using a thread repair kit is a reliable and easy way to repair threads. The kit includes a specially-sized drill bit, an installation tool, and metal threaded inserts. Here are the steps to follow when using a thread repair:

Right Kit for repairing stripped screw

Selecting the Right Kit

Before you repair the stripped screw hole, ensure you have the right kit for screw thread repair. The kit must have the same thread pitch as the original screw or bolt. You can check the pitch using a thread pitch gauge or by taking the old screw to a hardware store to match it with a new one.

Preparing the Hole

The first step is to prepare the hole by drilling it out with the correct drill size. The drill size should be slightly smaller than the size of the tap bit. After drilling, clean the hole to remove any debris or metal shavings. Next, insert the tap bit and re-thread the hole.

Fit the Insert

Once the hole is re-threaded, insert the metal threaded insert using the installation tool. The insert should sit flush with the surface of the metal. Use a thread lock to secure the metal insert back in place.

5. Using a Tap and Die Set

If you have a stripped screw hole in metal, one of the best ways to fix it is by using a tap and die set. This method involves cutting new threads into the stripped hole, allowing you to use a new screw that will hold securely. Here’s how to do it:

Selecting the Right Tap and Die Set

Ensure you choose a set that includes the size tap and die you need for the screw you’ll use.

Drilling a Pilot Hole

Once you have the right tools, you can begin drilling a pilot hole into the stripped hole. Ensure the pilot hole is slightly smaller than the size tap you’ll be using. This will ensure the tap can cut a new thread without damaging the surrounding metal.

Cutting New Threads

Next, insert the tap into the pilot hole and turn it clockwise. As you turn the tap, it will cut new threads into the metal. If the new screw doesn’t fit securely, you may use a larger tap to cut bigger threads. Alternatively, you can use a metal threaded insert or a larger screw to fill the stripped hole.

The tap-and-die method offers the best ways to get a reliable fix on a metal door. However, screw placement may not be ideal for hinges if the hole moves out of line.

Also, using a tap set takes some skill and experience.

6. Using a Helicoil Insert

If the stripped screw hole in your metal project is too large to be fixed with a wider screw, you may use a helicoil insert to repair the threads. This method involves drilling out the old hole and installing an insert. Here’s how to do it:

Selecting the Right Helicoil Insert Kit

Before you begin, ensure you have the right tools and materials. You will need a helicoil insert kit that matches the size and thread pitch of the original screw in your metal door.

Drilling a Hole on Stripped Screw

Drilling a Hole

To install the helicoil insert, you must drill out the old hole to a smaller screw diameter or size. Once you have the correct drill bit, drill a pilot hole in the center of the old screw hole. Then, use the larger drill bit to drill out the hole to the correct size for the helicoil insert. (Read Wood Beam Repair Plates)

Installing the Helicoil Insert

Once you have drilled the hole, you can install the helicoil insert. First, use a tap bit to cut threads into the new hole. This will allow the helicoil insert tool to screw in smoothly. Next, thread the helicoil insert onto the installation tool that came with your kit. Insert the tool and the helicoil insert into the new hole and twist it clockwise until the insert is fully seated.

Finally, use a pair of pliers to break off the tang on the helicoil insert. This will leave you with a new threaded hole ready for a new screw. Using a helicoil insert is more involved for how to fix a stripped screw hole, but it is a reliable and long-lasting solution.

7. Using Thread Locker

If you have stripped a screw hole in metal, using a thread locker can help you fix the problem. A thread locker is an adhesive that prevents screws from loosening or falling out over time. It can also help fill gaps in stripped threads, providing a tighter fit for the screw. Here’s how to use a thread locker to make thread gaps and fix a stripped screw hole in metal.

Selecting the Right Thread Locker

Before you start, selecting the right type of thread locker for your metal door screw holes is important. There are two main types: permanent and removable. A permanent thread locker is designed to create a permanent bond between the screw and the metal screw hole of the striped hole, making it challenging or impossible to remove the screw from the sheet metal door.

Applying the Thread Locker

To apply a thread locker, you must remove the screw from the stripped hole. Apply a small amount of thread locker to the screw threads of the stripped bolt hole on the sheet metal door. Be careful not to use too much, as excess thread locker can cause the screw to bind or become challenging to turn.

Next, re-thread the screw into the hole. Tighten the screw to the appropriate torque using a torque wrench or other suitable tool. If the hole isn’t a too larger diameter, the screw is just a little loose. This can be the simplest way how to fix a stripped screw. If the hole is larger, then using larger screws may be required.

How To Fix Stripped Screw Hole In Metal