Monday, June 14, 2010

How To Remove a Damaged Screw

Apartment Therapy reports: [edited]

1. The first thing to do is to immediately stop using the tool/technique which stripped the screw. Most of the time, this means switching over from a power tool over to a hand tool solution, as you can better control the amount of torque/pressure applied to the stripped screw.

2. Switch over to a short length screw driver with a bigger head; switching screw head types (Phillips or over to a cross-head attachment) may also work. If you've got a screwdriver kit which includes a Torx (6 points) or an Allen (hexagonal), these shapes may give enough grip to remove the stripped screw. Just remember to go slowly, apply as much pressure downward, and abide by "righty tighty, lefty lousy" mantra so you don't make matters worse.

3. Sometimes a screw is just stripped enough that none of alternative sizes work. You've still got hope! A rubber band may aid in providing enough grip to remove, or at least loosen, the screw. Place a wide band rubber band inbetween the screw driver (we recommend bumping one size up from the screw head which caused the strip) and the screw, then apply hard, but slow force as you turn. If you're fortunate, the rubber band will fill in the gaps caused by the strip and allow extraction.

4. Perhaps the rubber band trick worked…but only to a certain point and you're still not able to completely remove the screw. That's when a locking clamp-style needle nose plier can come to the rescue, grabbing and locking the section removed from a flush surface. We don't know how many times this affordable tool has helped us removed old or poorly constructed screws, but it's been enough times that we highly recommend stocking even the smallest of toolboxes or drawers with one.

5. Finally, if none of these work, you can play the part of Rodin and chisel the screw some depth to provide more tension lost from the strip. But only with the most careful of force, as this may risk losing your screw completely into the surface! You don't want to hammer the screw into the wall/surface, so err on the side of caution. We recommend this as a last resort.


Major Look said...

Not tried using a rubber band - will give it a go next time!

Big Bad Pete said...

I have tried the rubber band trick - with limited success. It was better and less messy than trying to superglue the screwdriver to the screw. The best tool to use is an impact driver.
To avoid stripping a screw head in the first place, do not use the cheap and nasty screws supplied with most flat packs etc. Buy a selection pack of good quality screws (Spax are the best). Whilst in the DIY store invest in a good quality screwdriver as well. Problem solved.

brett jordan said...

good to hear from you bbp :-)