Practical Tips: How To Remove A Stripped Screw Easily?
- January 26, 2024
- Category: Property Management
Screws are a type of metal tool designed for fastening and attaching two objects. They consist of a head and a spiral-like thread running along their length, ensuring a secure hold when rotated into materials like wood or drywall.
Taking our focus to the main topic – what exactly is a stripped screw? A stripped screw occurs when the screw becomes damaged, making it ineffective and preventing it from turning correctly, even with the use of a screwdriver. When a screw is stripped, maneuvering it in or out of the material it’s embedded in becomes challenging. So how to remove a stripped screw easily? What are the best and most practical ways to do so? Let us find out.
Dealing with stripped screws can be the most annoying and fairly common challenge for property owners. Knowing how to resolve this issue can save you hours of frustration. Fortunately, it’s not an unachievable problem.
With the appropriate tools, you can efficiently remove stripped screws. Continue reading to discover and experiment with straightforward techniques using standard tools and household items.
What Causes A Stripped Screw?
There are several reasons screws can become stripped:
- Use of low-quality tools
- Use of incorrectly sized tools
- Use of inappropriate tools, in general,
- Careless work practices
- Turning screws with screwdrivers at an angle into the material instead of parallel or in-line
- Use of a screwdriver that’s either too large or too small
- Over-tightening the screw
- Lengthy use of the screw gun on full power after the screw has stopped moving
Whether you’re in the midst of a move or redecoration, encountering a stripped screw can pose a challenge. So, how do you go about removing a stripped screw? We’ll address that shortly, but first, let’s gather the necessary tools and equipment.
Required Tools And Equipment
Here are several tools you can take help of while removing stripped screws:
- A flathead screwdriver
- A Drill bit
- Rubber band
- Abrasive powder
- Steel wool
- Chisel and hammer
- Safety goggles
- Duct Tape
- Rotary Machine
- Power drill with a screw extractor set
Having these tools on hand equips you with various options to effectively address the challenge of removing stripped screws.
How To Remove A Stripped Screw Easily? Best Ways Explained
A single method may not suffice sometimes. So here we present some of the best different techniques you can employ to remove a stripped screw:
Try a Handy Trick with Rubber Bands.
If you find yourself grappling with a stripped screw and have rubber bands on hand, consider employing this practical tip from The Family Handyman. Follow these steps to ease the removal process:
- Select a rubber band more comprehensive than the stripped screw, ensuring it covers the opening in the screw head. Opt for a single, thick rubber band for optimal results, readily available at various locations, including online and office supply stores.
- Position the rubber band over the stripped screw, pressing part of it flat against the screw head. Hold it firmly, ensuring a secure grip for a few seconds. Adjust the item with the screw if needed for better accessibility.
- Insert the screwdriver into the rubber band and screw head, making sure the rubber band enters the opening on the screw head. The rubber band conforms to the screw threads, providing leverage for the screwdriver. Steadily hold the screwdriver to keep the rubber band securely in place. If it slips, remove the screwdriver and reposition it.
- Turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to remove the screw, working slowly since the screw remains challenging to turn. While applying firm pressure on the rubber band, gradually turn the screwdriver. You should feel the screw starting to turn and eventually coming loose.
Remember these key points:
- Choose a rubber band more expansive than the head of the screw opening.
- Ensure a snug grip and proper positioning of the rubber band for practical use.
- Work gradually and with patience, as the screw may still pose resistance during removal.
Using a Screwdriver
While it might seem counterintuitive, trust this advice before further exacerbating the situation. Instead of relying on a drill, switch to a manual screwdriver to address a potentially stripped screw. Despite the previous damage, using a larger or smaller manual screwdriver with the appropriate head can often ease the unscrewing process.
Apply force with the screwdriver into the head of the screw and commence twisting. The manual approach enhances sensitivity to any slipping, allowing for timely adjustments. In many instances, the screw will quickly come out without further complications. But if the screwdriver fails to catch, refrain from other attempts to avoid exacerbating damage to the screw.
If you encounter resistance with a Phillips head screwdriver, try switching to a flathead screwdriver. The flathead design may provide the right angle to turn the screw. Ensure you use a flathead screwdriver that fits entirely into the Phillips-head hole for optimal effectiveness.
Enhance Grip with Steel Wool
Much like the rubber band technique, employing steel wool proves effective in providing traction for a stripped screw, facilitating a firmer grip. Follow these steps for better control:
- Place a piece of steel wool between the head of the screw and the drill bit.
- Increase traction to prevent the drill from rotating out of control.
- Ensure the steel wool is securely positioned within the stripped screw head for optimal effectiveness.
- This method serves as a practical approach to gain better control when dealing with stripped screws.
Use a Drill to Extract the Screw
If the screw is not fully embedded in your material, you can use an electric drill that can offer a straightforward solution for removal.
Follow these steps:
- Open the chuck of the drill and position it over the screw head. Hand-tighten to secure the chuck jaws over the screw.
- Set the drill to reverse and gently back the screw out of the material.
- Choose any type of drill for this process. Select a drill bit with a diameter just large enough to drill out the center of the screw head. For a Phillips head screw, pick a bit that covers the star shape in the center.
- Slowly begin drilling the center of the screw head. The process should be smooth and quick, especially if the screw is soft enough to strip. You don’t need to drill too deep, just enough to detach the head of the screw from the shaft. It will usually start to spin as it separates.
- With the head drilled out, you should be able to remove the component you were working on. Upon inspection, you’ll likely see the stump of the old screw. To extract it, grab a pair of vice grips, firmly attach them to the stump, and slowly unscrew until the entire screw is removed.
This method is effective for a wide range of threaded screws or bolts stuck, provided there is a portion of the head that the chuck can securely grab onto.
Using a Duct Tape
Enhance your ability to turn a stubborn screw by employing a simple yet effective trick with duct tape. Follow these steps:
- Cut a short length of duct tape, then cover the screw that’s stuck with it.
- Take the driver and slide it into the screw; try turning it around until it begins to loosen.
The duct tape serves two purposes:
- It helps turn the screw by adding more friction.
- It guarantees a firmer grip by closing the space between the head of the screw and the screwdriver.
As an alternate method, try covering the screw head with steel wool and carefully inserting the driver in its opening to increase traction.
Retrieve It Using Locking Pliers
If you’ve successfully removed a portion of the screw before encountering resistance, and your screwdriver is no longer effective, don’t fret. You can easily extract a partially removed screw with the help of locking pliers. Follow these steps:
- Adjust the pliers to latch onto the screw’s head securely.
- Twist the pliers until the screw is completely removed.
For screws tucked away:
- To make rotating the screw easier, pinch its sides.
- When you spin them counterclockwise, hold onto the sides of your pliers firmly and open them.
- Till the screw can be entirely removed, keep spinning it.
Try filling the screw’s sides a little flatter to lessen the chance that your pliers will come loose while working. This technique offers a rapid and effective way to deal with screws that have partially come out.
Utilize a Rotary Tool
A rotary tool, a versatile power tool, proves highly effective in dealing with stripped screws. Follow these steps to remove a stripped screw using a rotary tool:
- Attach a cutting disk to the rotary tool.
- Slice a slit into the head of the stripped screw using the rotary tool.
- Ensure the slit closely matches the size of a flathead screwdriver for a proper fit, maximizing grip and preventing cam-out.
- Twist out the stripped screw using the flathead screwdriver.
Alternatively, you can employ a hacksaw to cut a slit into the stripped screw carefully. This method offers a practical solution for extracting stubborn screws.
Utilize Power Drill with a Screw Extractor Set
If the DIY methods mentioned earlier prove ineffective, professional contractors often resort to screw extractor sets for removing stripped screws. These extractors are specialized double-sided drill bits designed for this purpose. Follow these steps for effective extraction:
- Begin with the squared-off end to cut into the damaged section of the screw.
- Switch to the ridged conical end to extract the screw. Ensure your drill is set to the reverse direction for both steps.
Be cautious when selecting the extractor size to avoid damaging the screw. Choose a bit that is just large enough to eliminate all signs of the screw head, creating a smooth hole for the extractor’s grip. For better results:
- Use a set featuring double-ended boring/screw-extracting bits for ease.
- Opt for bits made of hardened steel for enhanced strength.
With your drill in reverse, gradually bore out the damaged head. Depending on the extractor size, drilling down approximately 1/8″ to around 1/4″ should suffice. Flip the bit, maintain consistent reverse pressure at a slow speed, and drive in the extractor until it securely engages. Slowly turn the screw/bolt/plug until it frees itself.
Dealing with screws that have been stripped can sometimes be a challenge when working on DIY projects but don’t worry it’s a problem that can be managed with various tools and techniques. Stripping screws often happens due to factors such as using low-quality tools using different bit sizes or tightening them much.
So if you come across a stripped screw situation there are some methods you can try to overcome it. One practical approach is to use a rubber band to get a grip on the screw. Another option is to switch to a screwdriver for precision. You can also try using steel wool to enhance traction and make it easier to turn the screw.
For cases where these methods don’t work, you might want to consider using a power drill with a screw extractor set. Additionally, tools like a tool or duct tape can provide some assistance in certain situations. If you have already managed to remove part of the screw but struggling with the rest locking pliers can be quite helpful in finishing the job.
Remember, patience is key! Each technique requires execution and attention. Finally, don’t forget to consider your safety before using these tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the most effective way to remove a stripped screw?
If conventional methods fail, utilizing a screw extractor kit is the best approach for removing a stripped screw. This kit includes two specialized drill bits—one with forward threads and another with reverse threads. Begin by using the first drill bit to create a hole in the screw.
Q: How can I prevent screws from getting stripped?
To avoid dealing with stripped screws, follow these tips:
- Steer clear of bits or screwdrivers with rounded tips.
- Ensure you use the right-sized screwdriver or bit for the screw.
- Opt for higher-quality screws, as some may be made of softer metal.
- Refrain from exerting excessive force when driving the screw.
- Keep the driver perpendicular to the screw, avoiding angled positions.
- Use a manual screwdriver for better torque control.
- Drill pilot holes in wood to alleviate strain.
Immediately stop turning when the driver slips on the screw; continued turning will worsen the stripping.
Q: How do I remove a stripped screw from a laptop?
When dealing with small stripped screws in electronics like laptops, it’s advisable to invest in a screw extractor kit. Other methods may be too harsh for delicate electronics, risking potential damage due to the screwdriver slipping.
Q: How to extract a stripped screw with a raised head?
If the screw has a raised head, attempt using pliers for removal. If this proves unsuccessful, resort to a screw extractor kit as an effective alternative.