How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to unscrew a screw and the head is stripped? Or some moron painted the screw and now you can’t get your screwdriver into the slots. (I might have been the painting fool mentioned.) Luckily there are two ways to solve this problem.

Removing the Painted Screw:

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

If you can’t get your screwdriver far enough into the screw to remove it, you may have some luck with a little force. Insert the screwdriver into the head of the screw.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Give the end of the screw driver a good whack with a hammer. This should be enough to either break through the paint, or put a dent into the screw head.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Without removing the screwdriver, press down and slowly unscrew the screw.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

 

Removing the Stripped Screw:

At some point in your life, I guarantee that you will find yourself face-to-face with a screw that some muscle-head has ground down to a round hole. This happens when someone uses a drill and continues to drive the screw in long after it has stopped turning. Or when the metal screw was too soft and gave way under the force of the drill.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

If you have either a metal file, metal hack saw or a dremel with a metal cutting wheel on it, you can solve this issue.

You will also need eye protection and a flat head screwdriver (not a philips head.)

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Using your metal cutting tool of choice (I used the dremel), cut a slot across the head of the screw. You are essentially changing the screw into a flat head screw. (If you are using the dremel, be forewarned that sparks will fly!)

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Insert the flat head driver into the groove that you created.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Turn the screw counter-clockwise until you have removed it.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

Easy, right?! I’m curious, do you have any other tips or tricks for removing a stuck screw? Please share.

How to Remove a Stuck Stripped or Painted Screw

27 replies
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  1. Ed Miller
    Ed Miller says:

    Depends on what material you’re drilling into to mount your curtain rod bracket. If its wood then no. Just a light or medium duty drill will work. If you plan to tackle bigger projects in the future, (using larger diameter or longer screws) I’d get the medium duty, but if your just gonna be using it mainly on indoor projects then the light duty drill works well and it will access smaller spaces and won’t be as heavy.

    Reply
  2. Venita
    Venita says:

    Thank you so much for your instructions! Every other site I checked was run by men who wanted to just drill out the screw. Converting to a flat head with my Dremel was the perfect solution!!! Thanks again…

    Reply
  3. Tom Jolly
    Tom Jolly says:

    Thanks for this advice! I just moved into a home that had a half dozen outlets painted over to the point that I couldn’t even get a screw driver blade into the notch. I googled solutions and found these ideas, tried the hammer method first, but the paint was just too thick, so I got a Dremel and solved the problem in a matter of minutes.

    Reply
  4. Kaye jay
    Kaye jay says:

    When I separated from my husband he locked my things away so I couldn’t recover anything but clothes from the house we had shared. He stripped screws on the shed so I couldn’t remove the handle that was padlocked, chained gates and barricaded roller doors and windows. He also took the wheels off MY car. This website, along with other online advice helped me get the knowledge and confidence to break in. I called police and they came and watched me get into the house and shed but couldn’t actually do it for me (laws in my area). I now have myself a little collection of my own tools and my belongings (and a little power) back! A part of me wishes I got to see his face when he got home from work and realised all his heavy duty evilness hadn’t worked. So, Thank You!

    Reply

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