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If your door hinges have come loose, or you are unable to progress with a DIY project because you are unable to remove a screw, chances are, you are dealing with stripped screws.
In this article you will learn how to fix stripped screw in both cases so that you can complete that DIY project and fix that door hinge or photo frame back in place. Read on to learn more.
What are stripped screws?
You’ll want to fix a stripped screw by finding a way to remove it, so that you can replace it with a regular screw.
There are two explanations for what’s considered a stripped screw.
First, a screw is called a “stripped screw” when the slots on a screw head become flat, perhaps due to wear and tear, in such a way that it gets hard for a screw driver to get a grip on the screw to turn it either way. This happens when the screws have been screwed in for a long time and a lot of stress has been applied on it. This kind of a screw becomes difficult to remove or install, as your regular screwdriver will not have a grip on it.
Second, when a screw that is screwed into the wall or furniture piece tends to get worn out and fails to make the connection it is designed to make, this is also called a stripped screw. Common examples are door hinges coming loose, or a photo frame coming away from the wall thanks to the screw that has failed to hold the frame in place.
What happens, say, when you drill a screw into a piece of wood is that, the threads in the screw cut into the wood and adds tension which keeps the screw in place, giving it a tight grip.
When the wood fibers around the screw’s threads get worn out, the screw loses the tension, the hole becomes bigger and it starts to spin inside the screw hole, and so becomes no longer useful. When this happens, the screw in question is called a stripped screw as well, and will need to be fixed or replaced for it to be useful again.
How to fix stripped screw when you have a flat screw head
When you have a flat screw head and it becomes difficult to remove it off the wall or a door hinge or your furniture, you can follow the tips mentioned below to get the job done.
1. The rubber band method
A quick and easy fix is to use the rubber band method. This is quite an awesome hack for most DIY enthusiasts. The main problem with a stripped screw with a flat head is that you are unable to get a screwdriver to turn it because it has nothing to grip in order to turn the screw, thanks to worn out slots. As a workaround here, you can use an elastic rubber band.
Place the rubber band over the screw head so that it entirely covers the slot. Now insert the screwdriver into the slot (now covered with the rubber band) and then try to turn the screw. The rubber band will most likely offer the grip that the slots on the screw head failed to offer. You should be able to turn the screw now and remove it.
2. Using pliers
If the rubber band doesn’t work, you can try a pair of pliers to grip the screw on either end and turn it either way. It helps if there is a slight projection for the pliers to hold on to.
3. Cutting a new slot
If you are not able to turn the screw using a rubber band or a pair of pliers, the next thing to try would be to cut a new slot. This can be done manually using a flat screwdriver and a hammer. Stick the flat screwdriver into the screw and hit the hammer hard a few times to drive it in enough to create a new slot and until the screwdriver gains a grip. Once it catches, you can turn it either way to remove it.
If the metal is too hard for you to cut a slot manually, you may have to procure appropriate equipment for this, and this includes a thin cutting disk or an oscillating tool. With a disc designed to cut metal, create a new slot on the stripped screw. Now you can use a flat head screwdriver to turn the screw by inserting into the newly cut slot.
These are some useful methods on how to fix stripped screw in cases where the screw head gets worn out and because of that, the screwdriver cannot get a grip in order to turn the screw.
Next, we will look at a few quick tips on how you can repair stripped screw holes, which causes the screws to loosen up and come away.
- When the screw’s threads no longer have material around them, they having nothing to grip. So you can first try removing these screws and inserting larger screws.
- If a larger screw doesn’t work, you can insert a few toothpicks or a piece of wood the size of the screw hole. Then apply wood glue or super glue around the toothpicks and push them all the way into the hole so that it completely fills the hole tightly. Chop off any excess protruding wood. Let the glue dry completely. Now you have makeshift wood material that the screw threads can gain a grip with. Now drill the screw back in, and the threads will create tension in the newly inserted wood material and regain the grip that was lost.
- You can purchase plastic wall plugs that match the exact size and structure of your screws. Then you will have to insert this plug into the screw hole (if the plug is too big for the hole, you may have to drill a new hole). Once the wall plug is inserted into the hole, you can drill your screw back into its wall plug and it will gain its grip back, thanks to the support from the wall plug.
These are some easy, quick and efficient ways on how to fix stripped screw and how to repair stripped screw holes. Try these right away!
FAQs on How to Fix Stripped Screw
What do you do if it is stripped?
Place a rubber band over the stripped screw in such a way that it covers the worn out slots. Then use a screwdriver over the rubber band to gain some grip. This should help you turn the screw.
What do you do if the screw hole is too big?
If a screw hole is too big, you can try using a larger screw or insert wall plugs to fix the size. You can also fill the larger hole by gluing in toothpicks or an appropriate piece of wood to give the screw threads new material to hold onto in order to gain the grip they lost.
If you are wondering how to fix stripped screw, here are a handful of easy solutions. Place a rubber band over the worn-out slots on a screw head and insert a screwdriver into the rubber band so that you gain some grip to turn the screw. Alternatively, you can use pliers or cut new slots into the screws to remove it.
To repair stripped screw holes, you can try larger screws or use wall plugs. You can also toothpicks or wood pieces to give the screw threads enough grip to be wedged in place.