How Do You Fix A Stripped Screw Hole In A Hollow Aluminum Door Rail?

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Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
1. Use a Rivet Nut. It's a barrel-shaped anchor that is usually ribbed on the outside, and has machine-screw threads on the inside (similar to a hollow-wall / drywall expandable anchor). It's specially designed for creating a strong anchor in sheet metals or thin plastics. You drill a clean hole, press it into the hole, then use a hardened steel hex-head bolt or a special tool to torque it, which makes it expand on the back side of the hole. It's usually the fastest, easiest fix for this kind of problem. They come in aluminum, steel, or brass; and come in regular or countersunk shapes. Try to find a countersunk style; otherwise the fixed hole will now have a "washer" of steel around it, which may interfere with the fit of any mating parts, such as a hinge. You may need to file down the back side of the hinge for a perfect fit. (I fixed my screen door with just a basic steel rivet nut; I didn't bother with filing down the hinge.) (Note: Versa-Nuts, Plus Nuts, Jack Nuts, Pop Nuts, Klik Rivets, and Thread-Serts are similar to a Rivet Nut.)

2. If you can get to the back side of the hole, you can fill it with a marble-sized lump of 2-part putty epoxy, such as QuikSteel. Fill the stripped hole and the channel behind it, let it cure, then drill it to the correct size. J-B Weld may not work, as it is very runny.

3. For a fast fix, just try a bigger screw; but if the edges of the hole have cracks (stress fractures), the aluminum will just strip again, so drill a clean new hole first, and use a tap to cut clean threads. I would only do this if the metal is fairly thick.

4. I've heard that aluminum brazing rods work well and are fast, easy, and cheap. You can pick up a few rods and a MAPP gas or propane torch in the welding section of most hardware stores. There's a Welding Tips and Tricks website that compares three types of aluminum brazing rod (HTS-2000, DuraFix, and Aladdin 3-in-1), and includes some instructional videos. However, the heat of the torch will probably blister the paint on the door.

5. The hole could be MIG or TIG welded, but I doubt many welders would do a job that small.

6. Heli-coil inserts only work if the metal is thick enough, but it isn't on a screen door.

Hope that helps!
John Dollison
Westminster, CO
Matilda Kunher Profile
Matilda Kunher answered

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