How To Fix A Screw Hole That Is Too Big? (14 PROVEN Methods!)

How To Fix Screw Hole That Is Too Big

Did you use the wrong size drill bits to drill the screw hole or pilot hole? Or did the screw hole expand over time? Now you have an issue with a hole too big for the screw.

You need to fix the hole too big for screws immediately since wood fibers around the screw will tear away over time and resulting in a stripped-out screw hole. So, you need to find a solution to fix the screw hole that is too big.

Here’re the best methods to fix a screw hole that is too big,

  • Using toothpicks or matches
  • Using a wood filler to fill the screw hole
  • Using wooden dowels
  • Inserting wood plugs
  • Using larger screws
  • Using larger anchors
  • Using Nylon cable ties
  • Inserting Rawl plug
  • Relocating the hole
  • Using a golf tee
  • Using a steel wool
  • Using toilet paper with wood glue
  • Use wood putty
  • Use pinewood shim

There’s a lot more to know about fixing a screw hole that is too big correctly.

So, in this article, we’ll go through each of the above methods and give you a wide knowledge about fixing screw a hole too big for screwing.  This will ease you find the best method that matches your visions perfectly.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Just keep reading!

1. Using Toothpicks Or Matches

You can fill screw holes that are too big using toothpicks or matches. Filling with toothpicks is the most popular and easiest method to fill large screw holes.

Here, toothpicks and matches work as shims. Using toothpicks or matches to fix big screw holes is one of the oldest methods.

Fixing large screw holes with toothpicks or matches is much easier than other methods. You won’t go wrong with this method.

Plus, you can fix big screw holes using toothpicks or matches is fast, quick, and able to do by spending significantly less money.

But I highly recommend you not to use toothpicks or matches for the screw holes that hold a lot of weight and stress.

Toothpicks and matches cannot bear high stress and forces and are prone to break easily.   

Let’s talk about how to use the toothpick trick to fix big screw holes,

Supplies You Will Need,

  • Wood glue
  • Toothpicks or Matches
  • Drill
  • Cutter or Snapper

Here’s the procedure for fixing a screw hole that is too big using toothpicks or matches,

  1. Fill the screw hole with wood glue
  2. Insert toothpicks or matches to fill the hole
  3. Trim the ends of the toothpicks or matches
  4. Drill a new hole

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps separately to get a clear idea about using toothpicks or matches to fix the large screw holes.

1. Fill The Screw Holes With Wood Glue

First things first! Take wood glue and fill the screw hole completely. Add only the necessary amount to fill the hole. Because adding too much wood glue can overdose and spill out of the hole.

Removing excess wood glue is difficult and make sure to add only the necessary amount to fill up the screw hole.

If you’re unable to find wood glue, any kind of liquid glue is also fine, but it should adhere well to the wood.

2. Insert Toothpicks Or matches To Fill the Hole

After adding wood glue, fill the hole with toothpicks or matches quickly before the glue dries.

Insert toothpicks of matches as much as you can and jam the screw hole. Then let the wood glue set and dry completely.

When the wood glue dries completely, the toothpicks are well stabilized and tightened in the hole.

3. Trim The Ends Of Toothpicks Or Matches

Once the toothpicks or matches are set well with wood glue, trim the edges to surface the level and smoothen the surface.

Trimming or snapping the toothpicks or match ends will ensure they are flush with the surrounding wood surface. This helps to hide the screw hole mark on the wood surface.

4. Drill A New Hole

Finally, take the drill and make a pilot hole that is narrower than the previous hole.

Then drive the screw to the new pilot hole. Making a pilot hole is important to drill without wood splintering.

If you’re afraid of using the toothpick method to fix big screw holes, Trust me they won’t notice once the whole process is done and making a new screw hole.

That’s how you should use the toothpick method to fix screw holes that are too big.

So, let’s see how to fix screw holes using wood fillers.

2. Using Wood Filler to Fill Screw Hole

You can fix screw holes that are too big using a wood filler. Wood filler is able to hide the screw hole completely and it can hold screws as well.

Make sure not to use wood filler for screw holes that hold a lot of weight and stress. You can only use wood filler to cover up small screw holes.

But on the other hand, it can fill up a screw hole like there was no screw hole earlier. Wood filler is easy to set and level with the surface.

Apply wood filler completely into the screw hole. Then let it dry and cure.

Once the wood filler is set well in the screw hole, you can drill another narrow screw hole with a drill.

Then drive the screw into the repaired screw hole.

Using wood filler is nice, quick, and easy when you’re repairing a small screw hole.

For larger holes using wood filler is not accepted because it does not have good stability to work under stress and a lot of weight.

Let’s see how to use wood dowels to fix big screw holes.

3. Inserting Wooden Dowels

With wooden dowels, you will be able to fix screw holes that are too big. The wooden dowel method is almost similar to the toothpick method which is done by filling the screw hole.

Generally, the toothpick method is done by DIYers, and it is good for beginners and to repair household screw holes that are too big to screw.

The toothpick method is not used for large projects and in professional environments.

But the wooden dowel method can be used in a professional environment as well.

Many of the woodworking fellows and carpenters use the wooden dowel method to repair clients’ furniture and for other big projects.

So, if you’re a professional woodworker or carpenter, better to use wooden dowels over toothpicks to fix holes that are too big to screw because wooden dowels able to hold a lot of weight and stress than toothpicks.

Use wooden dowels for screws that bear a lot of weight and stress. It can make strong fixing, which is the same as screwing the wood itself.

Let’s talk about how to use wooden dowels to fix big screw holes,

Supplies You Will Need,

  • Wood glue
  • Wooden dowels
  • Drill
  • Flush cutting saw

Here’s the procedure for fixing a screw hole that is too big using wooden dowels,

  • Fill the screw hole with wood glue
  • Insert toothpicks or matches to fill the hole
  • Flush the wood surface
  • Drill a new hole

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps separately to get a clear idea about using wooden dowels to fix the large screw holes.

1. Fill The Screw Holes With Wood Glue

First, Take wood glue and fill the screw hole completely. Make sure to add only the necessary amount to fill the hole. Because adding too much wood glue can ruin the project because wood glue is hard to remove.

If you’re unable to find wood glue, use liquid glue which adheres to wooden dowels and wood surfaces perfectly.

2. Insert Wooden Dowels to Fill the Hole

After adding wood glue, insert wooden dowels as much as you can quickly before the wood glue sets.

After jamming the screw hole with wooden dowels, let the wood glue dry and cure completely.

When the wood glue dries completely, the wooden dowel will stabilize and hold firmly in place.

3. Flush The Surface

Once the wooden dowels hold firmly with wood glue, trim the dowel edges to flush the and avoid surface randomness.

Trimming or snapping the wooden dowel ends will ensure they are flush with the surrounding wood surface. This helps to hide the screw hole mark on the wood surface.

With dowels, you’ll be able to hide screw hole marks on wood more than with toothpick methods. This is why professionals use wooden dowels over toothpicks.

4. Drill A New Hole

Finally, take the drill and make a pilot hole that is narrower than the previous hole.

Then drive the screw to the new pilot hole. Making a pilot hole is important to drill without wood splintering.

That’s how you should use wooden dowels to fix screw holes that are too big.

So, let’s see how to fix screw holes using wooden plugs.

4. Using Wooden Plugs

Wooden plugs, which are also known as hardwood plus are mainly used when you have to drill directly into the wood. Using wood plugs, you’ll be able to fix a screw hole that is too big and drill a pilot hole in it to make a new hole.

Wood plugs are useful when you work with MDF or particleboard since they tend to crack and chip when drilling the wood.

So, better to make a wood plug and install it first on the particle board before drilling the wood surface directly.

Supplies You Will Need,

  • Wood glue
  • Wood plugs
  • Drill
  • Flush cutting saw
  • Plug cutter

Follow the below steps to make wood plugs by yourself and fix the screw hole that is too big,

  1. First, go for a board that is as close as possible to the color and grain of the board to be plucked.
  2. Then bore a series of holes with a plug cutter.
  3. The plug cutter is designed to cut the plugs with a slighter taper to make them easier to fit into the hole.
  4. Cut the plugs to the same size as the screw hole.
  5. So, mark the end before popping them out with a flathead screwdriver.
  6. When setting orient the plugs mark side down.
  7. Then dip the plug in wood glue before inserting it.
  8. Make sure to align the plug so that the grain direction matches the grain direction of the board.
  9. After inserting the plug into the big screw hole, gently tap the plug into the hole with a smooth-faced hammer stopping just shy of the board surface.
  10. Let the wood glue dry and cure for about 24 hours.
  11. Then use a flush cutting saw to trim the plug close to the surface.
  12. Then hit the surface with a sanding block and finish the job.
  13. Finally, make a new pilot hole in the center of the wood plug and drive the screw.

Also, you can buy wood plugs from local stores.

Make sure to buy wood plugs that are similar in size and look to your wood since it is helpful to hide the screw marks and are easy to insert in.

Let’s figure out how to fix the screw hole that won’t tighten with larger screws,

5. Using Larger Screws

You can use larger screws to fix a screw hole that is too big which is considered the easiest method to fix the problem.

You don’t need any extra equipment or supplies to fix larger screw holes. You just have to use the same big screw hole and insert a larger screw that fits the hole perfectly.

Simple as that!

Make sure to use a matching screw size for the big hole you made. Otherwise, you’ll tear away wood fibers and may end up with a larger screw hole than the previous one.

Larger screws are helpful if it going to hold a lot of weight and stress. Plus, it will increase the stability of the screw junction.

You can expand the size of the screw hole to fit a larger screw with the help of drill bits. Make sure to take a suitable size drill bit.

Take larger screws that are not too long. Otherwise, they might drive through wood that can pop out from the otherwise.

So, let’s find out how to find the right size larger screw to fit in the large screw hole,

How To Find The Right Size Screw For The Screw Hole

Supplies You Will Need

  • Vernier caliper to measure the diameter of the screw hole
  • Toothpick to measure the depth of the hole
  • Different sizes of larger screws

The procedure of finding the correct screw size for the hole,

  1. Measure the diameter of the screw hole using a vernier caliper
  2. Measure the depth of the screw hole using a toothpick
  3. Finding the right size screw

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps in detail,

1. Measure The Diameter Of the Screw Hole

Stuck the vernier caliper jaws inside the screw hole and measure the diameter.

Make sure to measure to the closest millimeter because finding the exact diameter is important to get the perfect screw that fits the hole.

Then take a note mentioning the screw hole diameter.

Add a millimeter to the screw diameter for fine-tuning and to ensure that the screw has a good grip to fit well in the hole.

That means if the screw hole diameter is “x” mm, the larger screw diameter you are going to use is “(x+1)” mm.

2. Measure The Depth Of the Screw Hole

Insert a toothpick into the screw hole and mark it.  Then measure the toothpick length from tip to the mark.

Make sure to measure to the closest millimeter because finding the exact depth is important to get the perfect screw that fits the hole.

Then take a note mentioning the screw hole depth.

Add a millimeter to the screw depth for fine-tuning and to ensure that the screw has a good grip to fit well in the hole.

That means if the screw hole diameter is “y” mm, the larger screw depth you are going to use is “(y+1)” mm.

3. Find The Right Screw Size

Now you know what size of screw you need to take from the local store.

Reading screw sizes can be a little bit tricky because you have to deal with the numerical values.

But there’s nothing to worry about. It is so simple,

Wood screws have two parameters. One is its diameter and the other one is its length.

For example, 8 ´ 1 wood screws have a diameter of 1 inch and a length of 8 inches.

But metal screws have a thread per inch measurements which is kind of tricky than wood screws.

For example, ½ inch 8´ 1 inch has a diameter of ½ inch and 16 thread cuts per inch.

Select the screw size that fits the measurements you noted down well.

Generally, the screw length should be 3 times longer than the diameter of the screw hole. Think like this, if your screw hole is 1 inch long, that means the length of the screw you select should be nearly 3 inches.

Here’s a chart that helps you to decide which size of screw you should for to fix the large screw hole,

Screw SizeMajor Thread DiameterMajor Thread Diameter
DecimalNearest Fractional Measurement
#00.60”1/16”
#10.73”5/64”
#30.86”3/32”
#40.112”7/64”
#50.125”1/8”
#60.138”9/64”
#70.151”5/32”
#80.164”5/32”
#90.177”11/64”
#100.190”3/16”
#110.203”13/64”
#120.216”7/32”
#140.242”1/4”
#160.268”17/64”
#180.294”19/64”
#200.320”5/16”

With the help of the above table, you’ll be able to select the perfect screw size for the large screw hole.

Tip:

If you’re not sure whether the screw you selected is long enough to make a good grip with the screw hole, go for break-away screws.

Tips of break-away screws have fine adjustments up to ¼” increments. Therefore, they can fit various sizes of pilot holes.

So, let’s find out how to fix a screw hole that is too big with the help of larger anchors.

6. Using Larger Anchors

You can use larger anchors that fit in your screw hole perfectly to fix it and make a good grip with the hole.

Expand the size of the screw hole a little bit to make space to fit larger anchors.

Anchors mostly come along with the screw-repairing kit.

Inserting anchor to the larger screw hole method is almost similar to the inserting toothpick method. Plus, it cannot be used for screw joints that bear a lot of weight and stress.

A toggle bolt is also a good choice, but it depends on the situation. It can be used to anchor to drywall and tighten the bolt.

Using large anchors to fix large screw holes is good for DIYers and carpenters working on small projects. It is not recommended for professional use to poor stability.

For example, using large anchors to the screw holes is good to hand picture frames and for other decorative purposes.

It is just a fast and easy method.

7. Using Nylon Cable Ties

Nylon cable ties are good to fix large screw holes. Screw hole that was made due to accidental mistakes can be fixed with nylon cables since they can install pretty quickly because of zip ties.

You can select nylon cable tie length according to the size of the screw holes. Nylon cable ties come from 4 to 52 inches long.

Once you select the nylon cable ties that fit the screw hole you have, insert them. Jam the hole with nylon cables and tighten them in.

Better to select long lengths because when the length of nylon cables is higher that means they support a lot of weight and stress. Plus, it is important to increase the stability of the joint.

Once the screw hole is filled with nylon cable ties, drive your screw through the hole.

Because of the support from nylon cables, the screw will get good grip and traction and be able to hold it steady in the screw hole with no micro-movements.

  • Make sure not to use too less amount of Nyon since they’re unable to provide good grip and traction with a screw.
  • Plus, inserting nylon cable too much into the hole can cause shearing.

Always go for the necessary amount to fill the screw hole appropriately with no issues.

8. Inserting Rawl Plug

Rawl plug which is also known as wall plugs is super useful to fix big screw holes that are difficult to fix.

Rawl plugs are small plastic fittings that can build a good grip and traction with screws to hold them steady. They are mostly used for concrete and wood walls.

First, you need to find a rawl plug that has the same dimensions as the screw hole. you can consider it based on the color of the plug.

Generally,

  • Yellow rawl plugs are able to fit in 5 mm holes and screw sizes are 3 to 8.
  • Red rawl plugs are able to fit in 6 mm holes and screw sizes are 3 to 10.
  • Blue rawl plugs are able to fit in 10 mm holes and screw sizes are 14 to 18.

Here’s how to install the rawl plug properly on a large screw hole,

  1. Take the correct size of rawl plug and coat some wood glue
  2. Tap the rawl plug into the large screw hole
  3. Squeeze in wood glue into the middle of the plug for good adhesion
  4. Let the wood glue dry and cure completely until the joint is steady
  5. Drill a small pilot hole through the plug
  6. Drive the screw into the hole.

If none of the above methods worked for you better to go for relocating the hole like nothing happened wrong. “Winking”

9. Relocating The Hole

If the large screw hole is too large to fix or it is unable to fix using any method, better to stretch out the hole and screw a new small hole that fits the screw so well.

This way you won’t make any mistakes because you’re already learned from the previous mistake to screw a small hole.

But it is not simple as that because you need to fill the previous large screw hole somehow and hide the screw and scratch and torn marks of wood fibers like that hole didn’t make.

Here’s how to fix the large screw hole and install a new hole to fix the screw,

  1. First, you need to repair and fill the large hole with a spackle.
  2. Then let the spackle dry and cure well.
  3. While the spackle is drying you can start to screw a smaller pilot hole as per the dimensions of the screw in a new position.
  4. Make sure to redrill slightly above or below the previous large hole to keep the object in a steady position with balance. Or you can move the re-drilling position left or right slightly. The main objective is to keep the object steady.
  5. Once you’re done with redrilling, the spackle might have dried and cured completely.
  6. Once the spackle is dried, do a fine sanding and smooth and level the surface. You can add more spackles until the surface is even and balanced.
  7. Then repaint the surface to hide the spackle marks.

So, as alternative methods, let’s see how to fix large screw holes using a golf tee,

10. Using A Golf Tee

Even though the golf tee method is not the main method of fixing a screw hole that is too large, it does the job so well.

Use a spare golf tee you have, if you were unable to find a toothpick or any other equipment that needs to fix the screw hole.

Do not use the golf tee method for the screw holes that are about to hold a lot of weight and stress. It is good only for simple joints.

Here’s how to use a gold tee to fix a screw hole that is too big,

  1. Squeeze the golf tee against the screw hole
  2. Cut the gold tee edge to flush with the surface
  3. Remove the excess and make the golf tee shape diameter the same as the screw hole
  4. Coat the golf tee with wood glue
  5. Tap and squeeze the golf tee into the screw hole
  6. Let the wood glue dry and cure completely
  7. Once the golf tee is steady, drive the screw through it

Now you know how to take advantage of a spare golf tee to fix your woodworking projects with ease.

11. Using A Steel Wool

You can use steel wood to fix a screw hole that is too big. It can only apply to simple screw holes that won’t hold a lot of weight since it is weak in strength.

But you can use steel wool to fix large screw holes in simple wood items and for decorative purposes. Steel wool only supports lighter weights.

Here’s how to use steel wool to fix a screw hole that is too big,

  1. Squeeze and insert the steel wool into the hole using the end of the screwdriver
  2. Compact the steel wool and jam the screw hole with it
  3. Cut the steel wool edges to flush with the surface
  4. Once the steel wool is steady, drive the screw through it to build a good grip and traction

12. Use Toilet Paper With Wood Glue

Have you ever thought about how toilet paper can be useful apart from its main job? Yes! Toilet paper has the ability to fix a screw hole that is too big.

It is just a simple DIY project.

Here’s how to use toilet paper to fix a screw hole that is too big,

  1. Roll and squeeze the toilet paper
  2. Coat the toilet roll with wood glue
  3. Insert it into the hole using the end of the screwdriver
  4. Compact the paper and jam the screw hole with it
  5. Fill the hole completely with wood glue
  6. Let the wood glue dry and cure
  7. Once the toilet roll is steady, flush with the surface
  8. Drive the screw through it to build a good grip and traction

13. Use Wood Putty To Fix Screw Hole

Just like wood filler, wood putty is also great to use to fix a screw hole that is too big.

Wood putty is able to hide the screw hole completely and it can hold screws as well.

Make sure not to use wood putty for screw holes that hold a lot of weight and stress. Wood putty is only good for small lightweight projects.

But on the other hand, it can fill up a screw hole like there was no screw hole earlier. Wood filler is easy to set and level with the surface.

Plus, it does not harden like wood filler and is able to have good flexibility to adjust along with temperature changes without breaking the surface.

Apply a sufficient amount of wood putty into the screw hole. Then let it dry and cure.

Once the wood putty is dry, you can drill another small screw pilot hole with a drill.

Then drive the screw into the repaired screw hole.

Using wood putty is nice, quick, and easy when you’re repairing a small screw hole.

14. Use Pinewood Shim

Pinewood shim can hide the large screw holes, but you need to have a well-sharpened knife to be successful at this method.

Here we’ll use pinewood sim as a plug which is the same as using toothpicks.

The pinewood shim method is only good for lightweight objects since it cannot hold high stress.

Here’s how to use a pinewood shim to fix a screw hole that is too big,

  1. Measure the diameter and depth of the screw hole
  2. Cut and trim pinewood to get a pointed shape with the same dimensions as the large screw hole
  3. Apply wood glue over pinewood shim
  4. Insert and squeeze it into the large screw hole
  5. Let the glue dry and cure to make the pinewood shim steady in place
  6. Cut the edges and flush the surface with a sharp knife
  7. Drill a small pilot hole through pinewood shim
  8. Drive a screw through the pinewood shim pilot hole with a good grip

That’s it, folks! Now you know all the possible methods to fix a screw hole that is too big efferently without wasting time and money.

How To Fix A Screw Hole Too Big For Screw?

You can fix a screw hole too big for a screw by applying wood glue, using toothpicks, using wooden dowels, inserting wooden plugs, using larger screws or you can relocate the screw hole.

Or you can use Nylon cable ties, rawl plugs, wood putty, golf tee, and steel wool to fix screw holes that won’t tighten.

By using the above methods, you’ll be able to drive the screw through the repaired screw hole with good grip and traction.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

How To Fill A Hole To Screw In Again?

You can fill a hole to screw again using several different methods. But you need to be wise to select the one that matches you well since some of them are only good for lighter loads.

Supplies You Will Need

  • Wood Glue
  • Toothpicks or Wooden dowels or Wood filler or Wooden plugs
  • Drill
  • Cutter or snapper
  • Sandpapers
  • Vernier caliper or ruler to take measurements of the screw hole

Use the following steps to fill a hole to screw in again,

  1. Measure the diameter and the depth of the screw hole
  2. Add some wood glue into the screw hole
  3. Insert toothpicks or wood filler or same-size wooden dowels or wooden plugs as screw holes into the hole
  4. Tap the object and squeeze it to get attached to the wood glue hole inside
  5. Let the wood glue dry and cure properly
  6. Once the wood glue dry, cut the edges and flush the surface
  7. Sand the surface
  8. Drill a new pilot hole on the repaired screw hole
  9. Drive a new screw through the pilot hole

This is how you should fill a screw hole to screw in again perfectly. It is a simple and fast method to fix an enlarged screw hole and to make it correctly to screw in again with no issues.

Make sure not to apply an excessive amount of wood glue into the hole, since it is powerful and hard to remove if it spread outside of the surface.

How Do You Make A Screw Hole Tighter?

You can make a screw hole tighter by inserting, toothpicks, wooden plugs, wooden dowels, wood filler, wood putty, nylon cable ties, rawl plug, golf tee, steel wool, and pinewood shim

Apply them into the screw hole with the help of wood glue to make the screw hole tighter and to build a good grip and traction with the screw.

Can Wood Filler Hold A Screw?

Yes, the wood filler can hold a screw pretty well. It hardens so well and is able to keep the screw steady with no movements. Screw into wood filler when it is dry.

But wood filler can only hold screws with lighter loads. It cannot hold a lot of weight and stress and applying high loads can weaken the joint and break the wood filler.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How To Fix A Screw Hole That Is Too Big?

In this article, we have deeply discussed how to fix a screw hole that is too big and what to do when the hole is too big to screw with 14 different methods.

Some of them are only good for lighter loads and some can carry heavy weights.

Some are cheap and easy, but some are expensive and hard.

You can go through each and above method and select the one that matches you perfectly to do the job with no troubles.

You can fix a screw hole that is too big by using a wood filler, using toothpicks or matches, using wooden plugs, wooden dowels, using large anchors, large screws, nylon cable ties, rawl plugs, golf tee, steel wool, wood putty, or you can relocate the screw and drive a screw with a good grip and traction.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about the actions you should take when the hole is too big to screw with all the fixes.

Try to apply the methods you learned in this article to fix a screw hole that won’t tighten and save your time and money without going to a repair center.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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