It's a frustrating feeling realizing that your screwdriver isn't strong enough to remove the stripped screw. What do you do? Do you give up or keep trying? You can try finding someone who has a drill, but what if there is no one around? The worst case scenario would be having to call for help. But instead of calling for help, why not try using another object to take out the stripped screw?
There are several ways to remove a stripped screw and today we will explain 12 different methods so you can choose which works best for your situation!
Table of Contents
- What is a stripped screw, and what causes it to happen?
- Tools and Materials needed for removing a stripped screw
- How to Remove a Stripped Screw with 12 Easy Tricks?
- 1. Use Rubber Bands for Grip
- 2. Switch to a Flat-Head Screwdriver
- 3. Switch to a Manual Screwdriver
- 4. Use Steel Wool
- 5. Use a Larger Driver Bit
- 6. Pull Out the Screw with Pliers
- 7. Tap the Screwdriver with a Hammer
- 8. Cut a Slot with an Oscillating Tool
- 9. Use an Abrasive Powder
- 10. Drill Into the Screw
- 11. Using an Impact Driver
- 12. Using a Screw Extractor
- 10 Tips for preventing future stripping of screws in your home or office space
- How to Tighten a Stripped Screw?
What is a stripped screw, and what causes it to happen?
A stripped screw is a screw with a damaged head that cannot be tightened or loosened using standard tools. The damage to the head can happen when you are putting in or getting out the screw. In most cases, it happens at the beginning of installation because chances are you do not have proper tools for working on small objects such as screws. Over time, the problem worsens and may even prevent you from taking out the screwed item if used for years without any issues.
A stripped screw occurs when two conditions are met:
- The screw has receded into the material it is being driven into, and;
- There is not enough space for a tool to fit between two sides of the fastener (the sides of the screw head and where they recess into the material). This can happen on both wood and metal screws.
There are three ways that a screw gets stripped:
- Using an incorrect size power or hand drill bit; For example, if one uses a 1/4" bit instead of 3/16". Most stores will allow you to return incorrectly sized bits, but some do charge a restocking fee. Be sure to check with a sales clerk beforehand if you plan to use a larger or smaller bit than the manufacturer recommends. It is also important to remember not to over-tighten screws when using power tools, as this can cause stripping of even correctly sized bits.
- Using the wrong type of screwdriver, choosing a flat head screwdriver when you need a Philips will strip your screws in short order. The #1 reason people get into trouble is that they choose incorrect screwdrivers for their screw heads.
- Stripping out the recessed area with an overly thick and blunt instrument; A stripped screw occurs when:
- The screw has receded into the material it is being driven into, and;
- There is not enough room for a tool to fit between the sides of the fastener (the sides of the screw head and where they recess into the material).
Tools and Materials needed for removing a stripped screw
- Rubber bands
- Drill bits for metal
- Locking pliers
- Flathead screwdriver
- Oscillating tool
- Metal nut
- Socket wrench
- Revolving Punch Plier
- Screw Extracting Pliers
- Safety Goggles: What are safety goggles? A lot of people don't know what they're for. This article will tell you the reasons why it's necessary and how to wear them correctly!
How to Remove a Stripped Screw with 12 Easy Tricks?
1. Use Rubber Bands for Grip
Rubber bands provide a gentle yet firm grip when removing stuck screws. Tightly wrap a rubber band around the screw head, ensuring it will not slip off when you start turning the screwdriver. This method also works well with zip ties and key rings (if there's enough space between the ring and the screw).
2. Switch to a Flat-Head Screwdriver
You can remove most stripped screws with a flat-head screwdriver. Take note that the blade should fit perfectly to give leverage and remove the stuck fastener effectively. Also, make sure your screwdriver has the appropriate length and width to avoid damaging surrounding areas on the device you're working on (such as PC or laptop casing).
3. Switch to a Manual Screwdriver
If the previous two methods don't work, manually turning the screw with your hands is pretty much what you have left. Use a manual screwdriver that has the same width as the screw head. Turning one way will give you grip on the screw's fastener, then turn another way to take it out. Just make sure that you are applying even force in both directions when removing it. Be very careful not to strip its head when doing so.
4. Use Steel Wool
Steel wool is most effective when stripping causes damage on surrounding areas of screws (for example, the one beside or above it). Insert steel wool in between metal components and use your fingers or pliers to separate them from each other. As you pull them apart, steel wool will act like sandpaper, and the force will cause the screw head to turn.
5. Use a Larger Driver Bit
It is also possible to remove stuck screws using larger driver bits (such as ones used for drilling). Insert it in between metal components and apply even force in both directions when removing. This method works best when dealing with damaged screws because it would give you a better grip on its head than just bare hands or small drivers that could strip it.
6. Pull Out the Screw with Pliers
Put pliers inside of stripped screw if it only has a few threads left to take it out without wasting any effort trying to screwdriver itself out or use other methods which might cause damage to it. Make sure your pliers are made of durable material, or else stripped screw could slip and cause damage to you or other surrounding areas.
7. Tap the Screwdriver with a Hammer
Stretch out rubber band, place inside screws head, and tap the screwdriver gently with a hammer until screw loosens and take it out. This method works best when dealing with plastic screws that are difficult to remove by manual drive (using only your hands). Unfortunately, not all screws will come out this way. Especially those made from hard metals such as steel, but give it a try anyway since worst-case scenario, you'll end up breaking the entire component (such as the laptop's casing) where stuck fast resides).
8. Cut a Slot with an Oscillating Tool
Another method for stuck screws is to cut a slot in the screw's head. Place your oscillating tool on top of the head and make sure it sits firmly before turning it on. Keep tightening or loosening its grip as you use it to cut a groove around the edges, then pull it out using pliers once the slot has been formed. Again, it's best to have an assistant do this if you don't have adjustable oscillating tools; make sure they don't accidentally turn the tool on while working with them besides other components that might get damaged from rotating blades. To know more about cutting a screw, read our blog post. It has some great tips for beginners!
9. Use an Abrasive Powder
The abrasive powder will further widen the screw's removal, so if slots were already made by the oscillating tool, this would be the next thing to try. Just make sure that you have a good grip on the screwdriver and don't accidentally slip because it might leave big scratches on surrounding components.
10. Drill Into the Screw
Drill a hole in the center of stripped screw's head or attach a drill stand if you have access to one. Afterward, remove the stuck fastener from its hole by pushing down with your fingers without placing too much pressure since this could cause damage to surrounding areas as well as rotating screws and components inside a fixed device such as a PC or laptop casing. Make sure the drill bit is tiny enough for hardware to fit through before trying this method so there wouldn't be anything left behind once pull apart force has been applied.
11. Using an Impact Driver
For preventing the screw from stripping, it is highly recommended to use impact driver because this could easily remove screws without causing damage or affecting how they look after being removed. In addition, you might find yourself saving a lot of money in the long run by buying inexpensive pneumatic tools instead of paying someone else to remove stuck fasteners for you.
12. Using a Screw Extractor
If all else fails, then you could always resort to using a screw extractor for stuck screws that have been stripped beyond repair and can no longer be handled by other methods. Insert screw extractor bit into the drill and tighten it firmly before turning on the motor so blades would catch onto screws head as drills, ready to pull out. Make sure you have more than one bit, so removing the stuck fastener doesn't take too long.
10 Tips for preventing future stripping of screws in your home or office space
You've probably experienced this before: you're trying to turn a screw, and it keeps slipping. You push harder, but suddenly, "pop!" The screw head snaps off from the force. This is incredibly frustrating, as well as time-consuming to remedy. Even worse, some screws cannot be replaced with standard taps and dies! To prevent yourself from having this issue again in the future, here are ten steps you can take:
- If there's a stripped screw that is impossible to remove by turning a bit by hand (that means without a drill), use your hammer on the slotted part of the driver bit - do not pound on the shaft itself!
- If you have a drill, use the highest setting to make some pilot holes in the screw head. You need to create some channels for your screwdriver bit to get into before you can attempt turning it again.
- If you don't have bits small enough to fit into the slotted part of the screw head or if there are no threads that you can fit a bit into, try using an awl on the non-threaded part of the head. The tip may be narrow enough to pick out one of the slots so you can get your driver bit in without having to drill away any more of your material!
- I know this is incredibly obvious, but sharp things away from children and pets.
- Do not use power tools to try and remove screws that have broken because of overtightening or stripping. You will damage the driver bit, or you may even break the head off entirely into your material! Instead, try using a hammer with nails set within reach of each other in it. This way, if the screw head breaks off completely, you can slide it out between two nails instead of through one!
- If you can't use a drill to make pilot holes for your driver bits because there are multiple layers in your material, try removing some panels/panels/pieces from around where the stripped screw is in question. Once removed, you should be able to get at one bit in there perfectly fine!
- If a screw head has broken off entirely and you cannot remove it, try using a screw extractor bit on the slotted part of the driver bit. Then, drill into the center of your screw head to turn that counter-clockwise while you keep going forward with your main bit driving in the opposite direction - straight up! This way, two screws can come out at once!
- If all else fails, use simply brute force by making another hole next to where your driver is currently stuck on getting more leverage. You do not need to create this new hole by drilling through the material! Instead, push away from your work surface towards the wall or floor so that you're just breaking away outer layers of wood/plastic, and the screw and driver bit behind it will be fine.
- If your screwdriver head is stripped, you may need to replace your driver bits in question! Try contacting the manufacturer about this issue.
- Store screws in a proper system to not get mixed around with other screws or lost entirely! That way, you can find them easier when you do have an issue where you can't find the right-sized drivers for each job at hand!
Thank you for reading these tips on how to prevent future stripping of screws in your home or office space! I hope it helped someone out there so that they are not left feeling helpless in their wrenching endeavors again!
How to Tighten a Stripped Screw?
It relies upon what gets stripped. If that the screw pate gets removed, the ideal approach to fix it would be to expel it and use another screw. If that stripping isn't awful, a simple method to do it is to utilize an elastic band. Or, on the other hand, in case you're within another screw, a similar size toss a toothpick, or you can use two if needed in that screw opening, the screw will be bounty constricted.
When your screwdriver bit continues slipping beside the screw dome, you will have to expand the grinding. There are numerous basic approaches to show signs of improvement grasp onto the screw utilizing family unit resources. You will require a particular device for genuinely tucked screws, yet the vast majority of those are genuinely modest and broadly accessible.