Saturday, August 24, 2019

Unhinged and rehinged

Just about every house project ends up being more complicated than originally anticipated and takes twice as long.  However, I just completed a project where, for once, this was not the case.  In fact, it will probably take me longer to write up this quick post than it did to complete the project.

It seems like I've had a big string of recent house projects after not doing anything for a while.  I think it's because one thing leads to another.  I replaced some windows, and in doing so, triggered the need for some painting, which led to the realization that I should do some more painting.  Painting the window trim in turn led me to realize that two of my old inward-swinging casement windows had loose hinges.  These are the old windows that I painstakingly restored a few years ago, not the ones I just replaced.

Loose hinge
It's a little frightening to pull open your window and have it almost fall out of its frame, but that's basically what happened when I opened up a few that I don't open very often so that the painter could do his work.  The hinges on these windows were coming loose from the window frames because the screws holding the hinges in place were actually stripping out the old wood.  I tried tightening the screws, but they just weren't holding.  Plus, they were old flatheads that were filled with paint and pretty hard to work with anyway.

At first, I didn't know what to do.  I thought I'd have to hire a contractor to rehang my windows, and by the time I did that, I figured it might be cost effective to just replace them entirely with modern ones.  Hooray, spending more money!  But, thanks to the internet, I discovered that this problem is actually quite easy to solve.

To fix a hinge whose screw holes have been stripped out:

  • Take the hinge off. I actually had to rip mine out (carefully) because the screws were no longer operational.
  • Drill out the existing holes to 3/8 inch.
  • Cut up a 3/8 in dowel into small pieces.
  • Cover the sides of the dowel pieces in wood glue and shove them in the holes you just drilled out.
  • Let the glue dry for a while.
  • Re-drill fresh holes into the dowels and screw your hinge back in with fresh screws.
This turned out to be super easy and worked like a charm.  My windows are now fully operational and well secured in their frames.  I kept waiting for something to go badly, but it never did.  This is possibly the easiest project I've ever done.

Oh, er, I tried to get the paint off the hardware, but now it kind of looks worse than it did.  One day I really will give everything a bath in a chemical stripper, but not today.

Dowels stuck into screw holes. Glue drying.
New screws were badly needed.

Hinge (sans paint) secured into the dowels with fresh screws

1 comment:

  1. What a great project you've embarked on. I hope the process will be as satifying to you as the final project.