Remove Screws With A Stripped Head

Edited by Nate Pepperell, Jerry Rivers, Lynn, Anonymous and 6 others

A screw with a stripped head can sometimes seem impossible to get out of whatever it has been screwed into. No matter how much you push and turn with your screwdriver, nothing seems to happen. When the head of a screw has been stripped, this means that the head of the screw can no longer grasp the edges of the screwdriver. This article will explain some handy tips you can use to remove screws that have a stripped head.

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Tips on how to remove screws with a stripped head

  1. 1
    Use a screw extractor.
    This is a tool which is designed specially for removing screws with a stripped head. It has a burrowing tip which grabs onto the inside of the screw head so it can be removed. A screw extractor can be purchased from any hardware or home depot store.
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  2. 2
    Try multiple different screwdriver heads.
    If you don't have a screw extractor, you can always try a variety of different screwdrivers that you may have. It doesn't matter what kind of screwdriver you use, or whether or not it is the correct size, as long as it can grab the inside edges of the screw head, then it should be able to extract the screw.
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  3. 3
    Use a handheld manual screwdriver.
    It's always a good idea to use a handheld manual screwdriver and NOT a power drill when trying to remove a screw with a stripped head. A power drill will only spin at a faster speed and hollow out the damaged head some more. With a handheld screwdriver you will have more control over what you are doing.
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  4. 4
    Tap screwdriver end with a hammer.
    Place a slightly larger screwdriver inside the screw head and gently tap the end with a hammer. By doing this, sometimes the head of the screwdriver can become lodged inside the screw head, allowing you to remove the screw. Be very careful when trying this method as you may damage the wall or the material that the screw is screwed into.
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  5. 5
    Drill the screw out with a power drill.
    This method is usually only used when the screw with a stripped head has been screwed into a metal surface. Find a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw you are trying to remove. Slowly apply pressure to the screw head with your drill and slowly drill all the way through the entire screw. It is important not to drill too fast and make the drill bit too hot. This will result in the metal surface of the screw becoming hardened by the extreme heat.
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  6. 6
    Use vice grip pliers.
    Vice grips are probably the most useful tool in your toolbox. If the head of the screw is up off the surface enough to get a hold of it with the vice grips, then this method is the easiest. The trick is often to lock onto a curved head is difficult. The best technique is to turn your vice grips sideways (like you are going to lay them down) and lock them onto the screw head. You don't need too much grip to get the screw moving if it's a self tapping screw so if the vice grips lock on the screw head at all start turning.
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How to remove a screw with no head

Jerry-headless screw removal.jpg
  1. 1
    First, try to remove the headless screw with a pair of small vice grips.
    Clamp the top of the screw if it is exposed, and unscrew it. If this does not work right away, stop before any damage is done to the object in which it is embedded. There are other methods that will be provided next.
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  2. 2
    Drill a hole in a thin piece of durable material, such as polyethylene hard plastic, or sheet metal.
    Place the sheet of plastic or metal over the headless screw so that it protrudes through the hole. This will create a protective shield. Now grip the headless screw tightly with vice grips. Grip the screw from the front of your vice grips and not from the side. Pry up the screw with the vice grips similarly to how you would with the claw of a hammer.
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  3. 3
    You can purchase a hollow wood screw extractor bit from most hardware stores to remove the headless screw.
    Use a piece of wood to steady the extractor while you remove the headless screw. The extractor will drill a small hole around the screw as you remove it. After extraction, you can fill the hole with a snug dowel rod of the right length. Glue it in place with carpenter's glue.
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One of these methods should allow you to remove the screw with no head from the wood. This does not happen very often, fortunately. However, once this stubborn headless screw is removed, you will have gained the skills to extract the next decapitated culprit screw.

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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Stop immediately to prevent more damage. If you notice that the method you are using to remove the damaged screw is not working, stop immediately to prevent any more damage and try something different.
  • Wrap the tip of your screwdriver in rubber. Place a rubber band or something similar around the end of your screwdriver. This can sometimes help the screwdriver gain some traction and grip the inside of the screw head.
  • Try using pliers. Try using some pliers if you can grab the outside edge of the screw head. Gently turn counter-clockwise (turn right to left) to remove the screw.
  • Don't let the drill bit get too hot. When using a power drill to drill out damaged screws, make sure you keep the drill bit cool. You can do this by drilling slowly or by cooling down the end of the drill bit with a wet towel.

Questions and Answers

How do I remove a screw that is into metal with a stripped head?

If the metal is soft enough that the screw head gets stripped, the only resort you have is to hammer the head. This will give a sturdy position so you can unscrew. This is not the best solution, but when all fails, then you have no choice but to do this.

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If the screw that has a stripped head is not too deep buried in the metal then you can either use a pliers or a vice-grip to rotate it and pull it off. But if it is totally buried deep into the metal, the only way to get it of is by using some drill machine a bit smaller than the screw and manually pull it off.

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How does the Home Depot hollow wood screw extractor work?

This tool is used in removing screws which have broken off in the wood. When drilling with a traditional screw extractor, this is the best tool to use. This wood extractor is not only used to remove small screws, but also those which have hardened into the wood as well. One of the hollow bits is used in the core of the wood. It then pops out with the screw. With the use of a plug or dowel, the hole gets filled in.

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Well these certain screws can be actually easily used and be used using an electric drills to make your work faster than manually screwing it onto the surface.

See more questions like this: What is a hollow screw extractor and how does it work

How can I remove four screws where the heads are burred so that the screwdriver has no grip?

To remove four screws where the heads are burred, you can make use of a wide rubber band and you need to place it on top of the screw and push the screwdriver. This will tighten the grip of the screwdriver.

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If this is not working, you can make use of a drill. Set a smaller drill and drill a hole on top of the screw. Then use your Phillips to remove the screw.

Trying to remove a screw from a bathtub faucet after trying to drill, unscrew?

My husband has tried drilling through the skull, using a grip to pull it out and nothing seems to be working. Meanwhile we continue to lose hot water from a leak.

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I was wondering because I have two stripped screws?

I have them in a Nintendo DSI and they are like really deeply stripped to where it is impossible

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My screw is imbedded and deep down in the shaft hole?

I am not sure how to phrase it. I have tried: Nothing else but using the screw driver. I think it was caused by: It is in a screen door. Trying to remove the door.

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Categories : Home Repair

Recent edits by: Dougie-1, Robyn, Eng

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