How to Attach a Doorknob to an Oversized Hole
LESLIE: Karen in Tennessee who’s got a problem with a bathroom door. Tell us what’s going on.
KAREN: The door fell down when we were putting the washer and dryer and it fell on the knob. It fell off. The hole is way oversized. I put a dowel in there, glued it, drilled a new hole but that didn’t last very long either. How can I get by or how can I put a knob on that door without buying a new bi-fold?
TOM: OK. So the hole through which you attach the knob for the bi-fold door is oversized, correct?
KAREN: Right. Both screws are oversized.
TOM: Alright. So, in other words, it’s bigger than the screw itself, correct?
KAREN: Yeah. Yes.
TOM: So, here’s what I would do. I would turn a negative into a positive. Why not – now, is it – it’s not bigger than the handle, right?
KAREN: No, no, no, no, no.
TOM: Alright. So, why not just put a washer on the back of it? On the back of the screw. You’re not going to see the back of the door, so just put a washer through the screw and then put the screw in the hole and attach it to the handle. You’re done.
LESLIE: This way, it’ll pull it flush.
KAREN: OK. In other words, put an oversized screw in it that goes all the way through the door.
TOM: Yeah, not an oversized – well, it would go all the way – yes, it would go all the way through the door but …
KAREN: Well, it’d be longer.
TOM: Well, you don’t need it to be that much longer. A washer is, you know, a 1/16-inch thick or less.
KAREN: No. I mean the screw would have to be longer to go through – and drill a hole on the other side, because it’s a hollow door.
TOM: OK. But does the screw go through now? Normally, when you attach a handle, it goes all the way through. Is that not the case?
KAREN: It’s just one of those – it doesn’t even turn. It’s just a right handle/left handle type knob that you pull on it to open up the bi-fold.
TOM: OK. So it’s just basically screwed right into the door – the face of the door – and it’s pulling out, correct?
KAREN: Yes, yes.
TOM: So, yeah. So then why – instead of using a wood screw to attach it, why don’t you use a machine screw and then put a small nut and washer on the back of it and drill all the way through the door? So measure the thickness of the door, head over to your local hardware store and have them look for a screw that’s long enough, with a nut and the washer on the back of it. You won’t see the nut and the washer, because it’s on the inside of the door. Just don’t make it any longer than it has to be.
KAREN: Exactly. Fantastic. Why didn’t I think of that?
TOM: And that’ll solve it. Alright?
KAREN: OK. I went to all that trouble to put a dowel – oversized the hole, put a dowel in there, glue, redrill.
TOM: Well, you know what? You get an A for effort.
KAREN: And it came out again.
TOM: Yeah. Alright. Well, this will solve it. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.